Updated: Oct 28, 2021
For small business owners with a disability, there are a variety of grants and options available to help you build your brand and business.
Starting a home-based small business is an ideal way to begin your entrepreneurship journey. In addition to saving costs on office space and travel, as a business owner with disabilities, you are eligible for numerous government grants to help run your business.
Below, Texas Innovators has listed four important aspects you should focus on when planning to start your small business.
Create a Strong Business Plan
As reported by WSI, a business plan allows you to secure funding and provide clarity for achieving short and long-term goals. Your business plan needs to include the following:
Executive Summary– A one to two-page summary of your business objectives, market potential, and funding requirements.
Business Description– This covers information about your industry, how your product fits into it, and any future developments that can affect your business.
Market and Competitor Analysis– In detail explain your target market and how your product solves an existing problem. Additionally, mention competitor performance, their weaknesses, barriers to entry, and how you can overcome those.
Design & Development Strategy– Your strategy should cover all stages of product development, how it will scale, marketing strategies to be used, expected budgets, and revenue projections.
Explore Funding Options
Having a strong business plan will open various doors to raise money, such as:
These are individuals looking to invest in businesses they feel have the potential to be successful and profitable. The decision to invest will base majorly on your business plan and your interactions with the angel investor.
These are firms that typically provide funding for the initial stages of a small business. Additionally, they also provide guidance on product development, operations, and connections to various professional networks. While the amount invested is more than that of an angel investor, VCs often take a controlling part of the company.
In addition to these, explore various government grants and loans oriented towards small business owners with disabilities. While these might not be enough to cover your complete funding requirement, it reduces the need to give away equity to investors.
Choose the Correct Business Entity
As a small business owner, you can opt to operate your business as a sole proprietorship or a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Here is a comparison between the two:
- Forming an LLC requires its members to register the business according to the regulations of the concerned state. For a sole proprietorship, the only requirement is for the business to have an original name.
- An LLC is considered a separate entity from the owner, protecting their assets from litigation. A sole proprietorship provides no such protection.
- In terms of taxation, under both these options, your earnings will be passed through your personal income tax and will not require a separate filing.
If you choose to go for an LLC, it's best to use a formation service such as ZenBusiness. It will help you avoid expensive lawyer fees, gain expertise on the registration process, and receive continued support on yearly tax filing.
Create a Website and Build a Brand
According to Qualtrics, 97% of internet users refer to a company’s website before making a purchase decision. Additionally, investors will also review your website as part of the funding process. Your website is an all-in-one platform to showcase your products, create brand awareness, and make sales.
Brand building is another activity that a website will help achieve. Your brand can be centered around your products and the problems it solves, or it can include your personal experiences that led you to start the business. A genuine brand story will help create a strong customer base and distinguish you from your competitors.
In addition to a website, invest time in marketing your products through social media. There are various social media marketing tools that allow you to manage and post together on numerous accounts with ease.
By focusing on these four steps, you can get your small business off the ground. Remember to invest time creating a strong business plan and take advantage of various federal grants available to you as a small business owner with a disability.
About Ed Carter
Ed is a guest author for Texas Innovators who specializes in financial literacy for adults with disabilities and parents raising children with disabilities.
Currently, Ed runs his own site called ablefutures.org which incorporates articles, blogs, resource links, and more information for adults with disabilities.
Over the years, I’ve worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds, and incomes. About 10 years into my career, I saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities. Regardless of their nature or how long they’ve affected someone, physical and mental limitations often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. Many people are unaware of just how many options they have when it comes to financial assistance and planning, so it’s an honor to offer my experience and change people’s lives for the better.
Now that I’m retired, I’m committed to continuing my services, even though I work on a broader scale than when I was working 9 to 5. I now spend my free time writing financial literacy articles for people to share on their blogs, collecting resource links for people to share on their websites, and collaborating with like-minded folks who want to make a difference.