Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Great Business Owner Will Use Whatever Resources Are Available

Good ideas are hard to come by, but even harder to find is the motivation to take the epiphanies that precede a company and bring them to fruition. The government of the state of Michigan wants to help facilitate this process and has done so by providing a website that gives relevant information about starting a business to everyone with Internet access. This means that people from all income levels can chase their dream of becoming an entrepreneur, of becoming their own bosses, of bringing themselves and their loved ones out of poverty.

A lot of people are saying that the American Dream is dead. I agree that the traditional concept is gone--it's flown (or maybe it was thrown?) right out the window. Still, government programs like the aforementioned one--which is known as Michigan Business One Stop--are trying to centralize the necessities of starting, opening, and running your own company, whatever it might be. Visitors to the website will notice plenty of information, including guides to starting a small business, resource navigators, county clerk directories, business plan tips, Employer Identification Number applications, and a plethora of other helpful links. There is even tax information here--perfect for people who don't know how to get around in the world that opens up when one tries to own their own business.

Visionaries and entrepreneurs can explore the website while they let their business ideas ferment in their heads--it will definitely take some serious virtual spelunking to grasp the vastness of this resource. But when you're ready to move on to one of the toughest hurdles for a business--finances--MBOS even has a list of options that can help you push forward and turn your idea into a reality. These include programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration, venture capital financing, state loan programs, and demographic-specific business centers. The best part of these options is that a business doesn't need to be new to use these avenues; current owners can use the same routes to expand existing businesses.

Cities like Detroit need potential business owners to step up to the plate and take a swing. | Photo courtesy of Shakil Mustafa
But like most things that the government works on, this website has its flaws. As mentioned, there is a lot of information here--too much even. Navigation seems simple but I've found myself lost on this platform several times, especially when I was trying to start a business of my own. Fortunately, there is a help center and a virtual tour for this resource. Even with these though, the site is still rather confusing. A redesign of it may be helpful for both potential and current business owners in the state of Michigan. I've got my fingers crossed that this program will get better with time. Although the American Dream as we have known it may be dead (was it the Great Recession that killed it?), there is still hope for those who are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to make something from scratch, to build a business from the foundation up.

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