Ready, Set ... Start Your Business Now

Column by Dan Rodriguez

By Dan Rodriguez

America's economy is based on small businesses. According to a report by the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses are defined as independent businesses having fewer than 500 employees. The SBA has found that small businesses:

• represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.

• employ about half of all private sector employees.

• pay more than 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.

• have generated 60-80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.

• create more than half of nonfarm gross domestic product (GDP).

Additionally, small innovative firms produce 13 times more patents per employer than large patenting firms, indicating greater creativity among small businesses. The report goes on to say that there are more than twenty-six million small businesses in America.

Clearly there is something going on with small business in America. Always considered a land of opportunity, America has been the breeding ground for ambitious men and women for more than 200 years, and never more than today. Every day more entrepreneurs go into business for themselves. Some businesses succeed while others fall by the wayside, but the climate for starting a business has never been better.

Actually, every climate is great for starting a business. Whenever there is a weakness in the economy, there is a place for someone with creativity, a good idea, and the courage and resources to start a business. A real entrepreneur always looks for an opportunity. They sell sunglasses when it's sunny and umbrellas when it rains. An entrepreneur finds a need and fills it.

It's relatively easy to start a business. If you have a hobby that you enjoy, you could turn it into a business. Flea markets are full of people who enjoy making crafts - handmade pottery and jewelry, for instance - and who have turned their hobby into a money-making venture. If you collect coins, comic books, or baseball cards, you could turn your collecting hobby into a sales business.

You may have a skill or knowledge that you picked up on your job or over the course of your life. These skills can be turned into a service business that you run either part- or full-time. Your service might provide something that everyone needs - lawn care or a mobile car wash, for example - which requires a lot of work but not a lot of highly technical training. On the other hand, your skill might be something unique that very few people are capable of performing. In either case, you can start a business.

Essentially, anyone can hang out a shingle and start their own business. If you have the courage and the desire, you can start your own business in a very short period of time. Thousands of people have become wealthy and more satisfied with their careers by going into business for themselves.

There are a number of requirements to starting your own business, of course. Many occupations require licensing and certification in order to operate. For example, you cannot practice medicine without a license; in the foods service business there are health inspections and other permits; various government entities may require sales tax licenses and use permits.

The best place to begin your research when considering opening a business is to visit the chamber of commerce office in the city or area that you are considering locating your company. The chamber is an organized network of business owners with a common goal of promoting commerce and business development in their community. These folks will be your biggest advocate. For more information about chambers of commerce in any community, visit

Where should you locate your business? Consider Parker, Colorado. This bustling community of 45,000 residents is one of Colorado's best places to call home and own a business.

Parker is ranked 29th on CNN Money Magazine's Top 100 Places to Live list. Announced in the September 2011 issue of Money Magazine, the Best Places to Live list features America's best small towns. Parker is one of only five Colorado cities or towns to be selected for this prestigious designation. According to Money Magazine, "Parker stands out in the qualities American families care about most - great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, nice weather, plenty to do and more."

Douglas County was also ranked 4th on the Money Magazine's top 25 Fastest Job Growth list with a rate of 64.52 percent. The complete Money Magazine article is available at

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