Local News

Want to open your own business? Make sure you have a plan

Posted January 8, 2010 6:00 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2010 7:31 p.m. EST

— Niall Hanley opened his third restaurant in Glenwood South this week – The Diner.

Open 24 hours a day, the restaurant serves food in a 1950s diner setting.

“There was a niche for this concept on the street, and here we are. So far, so good,” Hanley said Friday.

Hanley also owns Solas and the Hibernian pub.

“I have people going for drinks at the pub, then going to Solas for a steak or for a dinner or a lobster or whatever,” he said. “Then, at the end of the night, they come to see me again over here (at The Diner).”

Hanley has a business plan, something Ivan Hankins, senior area manager with the U.S. Small Business Administration, said he doesn't always see.

“The No. 1 reason for new business startup failures is not lack of capital. It is lack of knowing what you’re doing,” Hankins said.

With unemployment figures high during the recession, Hankins said, more people want to open their own businesses without first considering their background and education.

“That is going to take you to the next step,” Hankins said.

Hankins said people need to make sure they have three key elements: a clear business plan, a good credit score and enough money to open up shop.

Having enough money is “generally the biggest of all the hurdles,” Hankins said.

“You have to have the money to follow through on the lean times in the restaurant business. You have to have the right location. You have to have the knowledge and the education of how to run it,” Hanley said.

The SBA offers free consulting services to people interested in opening a small business. There will be some workshops in February. For more information, call Ivan Hankins at 919-335-1004.