So, you have a great idea for a business and the passion, experience and ability to back it up. Success should be all but guaranteed. But, maybe not.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 20% of startups fail. Half of all establishments survive five years or longer, and only one-third survive 10 years or longer. While this sounds a bit daunting for a prospective entrepreneur, there are some steps to take to help ensure the sustainability of your new business.

  • Have a business plan in place. Not only will it clearly define the mission, values and goals of your business, it can help you think through each component of your business. It also can help you secure funding and help you strategize growth of your business.
  • Know your market

. Understanding your market can help identify potential customers and gather relevant demographics, determine where to locate the business and even to analyze the viability and sustainability of the business venture. Market research can add significant value to your business strategy by identifying new sales opportunities, determining where to best target marketing efforts, analyzing your competition to capitalize on potential gaps in the market and setting appropriate prices for your goods or services.

  • Take advantage of resources available to you
  • . From certification assistance to co-working space, we are fortunate to have an incredible number of resources for entrepreneurs in Denton — many of them free or affordable. For example, the Small Business Development Center of North Central Texas (located in the Denton Chamber of Commerce office) offers free advising on government contracting, exporting, market expansion and new emerging technologies. The Denton Public Library can help you with market research with free software that profiles 49 million businesses, 281 million consumers and their purchase patterns and buying habits. The Women’s Business Council Southwest certifies women in North and Central Texas for Women’s Business Enterprise, Women-owned Small Business, and Small Business Enterprise certifications.

  • Know your funding alternatives. Access to capital is, of course, crucial to start and grow your business. LiftFund and PeopleFund are nonprofit organizations that assist women business owners with limited access to capital by providing small business loans. Both organizations are in Dallas.
  • To help start, expand and sustain women-owned businesses in Texas, Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs is once again offering its Women’s Enterprise Training and Micro Grant Program. The program will award 10 women-owned businesses $5,000 each to start or expand their businesses. Awardees are required to complete a small business training course hosted by the CWE to receive funding. The course covers topics such as business plan development, marketing, legal and accounting and financing.

    Past TWU microgrant recipients from Denton include:

    • Cheryl Brown, Miracle Soul Spice
    • Pamela Gilland, Cosmetic Scissor Sharpening
    • Andrea Gorham, Tree Folk Farm
    • Jennifer Guzman TB Winds
    • Chrissy Mallouf and Darby Merriman, M. Squared Real Estate
    • Khyra Parks, Prodigious Inc.
    • Lee Ann Widyn and Lisa Moore, Denton Bridal

    The deadline for applications is Friday, Oct. 25. For more information, FAQs and an application, visit twu.edu/center-women-entrepreneurs/for-the-community/microgrants or call 940-898-2894.

    SHANNON MANTARO is the director for Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs and can be reached at smantaro@twu.edu. For more information regarding TWU’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs, visit twu.edu/cwe.

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