WELCOME TO POSSIBILITY

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1 WELCOME TO POSSIBILITY A Toolkit for Aspiring Business Owners made in collaboration with as a part of Pivot s Welcome to Possibility campaign as

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3 WELCOME TO POSSIBILITY START YOUR OWN THING Welcome to Fairfax is a new series on Pivot TV that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the vibrant, artistic, singular culture that has emerged in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles, seen through the eyes of the young visionaries who inhabit it. A do-it-yourself code powers everyone, while collaborations across music, fashion, art, and action sports unite the creators as they build their own brand and images. Regardless of what path they take, though, the hustle always starts on Fairfax. Inspired by the innovative cast of Welcome to Fairfax, who is reinventing the American Dream to make it their own, Pivot TV has teamed up with a coalition of NGOs to create "Welcome to Possibility," a campaign with a mission to provide aspiring business-owners with the tools to make their vision a reality. They have created a digital toolkit with the resources needed to be your own boss, found at Here s what you ll find in this toolkit: Welcome CREATE to Fairfax A BUSINESS airs Fridays PLAN at 10e/p, only on PROTECT Pivot TV. YOUR BUSINESS FINDING FUNDING SUPPORT & RESOURCES You ve got to hustle, hustle, hustle. You ve got to build it yourself. DIY - just do it yourself. - Jay Ughh, Welcome to Fairfax CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN The first step? Write down your thoughts on how you will achieve your vision. Every successful business needs a compelling plan that clearly outlines objectives and includes an overview of the business idea, industry analysis, financial strategy and the actionable steps needed to get the business started.

4 CHOOSE AN OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE The way you incorporate can have big consequences for your business-- taxes, liabilities, etc. Once you ve educated yourself on the relevant legal issues surrounding setting up a new business, you need to choose the particular entity or structure that best suits your needs. tip: The U.S. Small Business Administration has useful information about the various types of legal business entities that entrepreneurs can use to set up their startups (e.g. LLCs, S-corps, sole proprietorships, partnerships, etc.) and the pros and cons of each in particular U.S. states. Visit for more. Once you ve selected the type of business and the state in which you wish to incorporate, check your selected state s Office of the Secretary of State for free information and forms required to set up your business entity. tip: The National Association of Secretaries of State provides a convenient drop-down menu of links to each state s website. Check out for more. GET LEGAL ADVICE Always consult with a legal professional for advice on setting up and running your new business. PERFECT YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH Now that your business plan is set, practice the art of pitching it in less than 1 minute! An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and effectively state the purpose of your business and its value proposition. Use these guidelines from USC Annenberg s Innovation Lab to craft the perfect pitch: Articulate your purpose, vision, and values Identify a problem and propose a solution Draw attention to what makes your business unique

5 I m going straight for the gut, because it s my life and I get to do it one time. - Felicia, Welcome to Fairfax

6 FIND FUNDING So you re inspired to create a business and you ve put together a business plan, but you don t have the cash to get it started... 4 WAYS TO FINANCE YOUR BUSINESS in association with NerdWallet #1 Small business loan Small business loans can come from a variety of places: banks, credit unions, the government, and alternative lending websites. tip: The Small Business Administration facilitates many of these loans. Get more info at tip: Be savvy. Avoid common mistakes like merchant cash advances, direct mail offers and applying for too many loans. #2 Microfinancing Microfinance companies are often nonprofit organizations that give small loans to entrepreneurs. Microlenders fill an important void in small business financing because it s sometimes difficult for small businesses to get traditional bank loans due to the risks involved with entrepreneurship. Here are a few different options for finding microfinancing: Federal government: The U.S. Small Business Association has a microloan program that gives small business loans of up to $50,000 Accion: One of the most well-known microfinance services, Accion has branches all over the world. Business Center for New Americans: This nonprofit caters to recent immigrants and offers business loans of up to $50,000. #3 Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is a way to raise money by collecting relatively small donations from multiple people including family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. In exchange for their contribution, donors often receive rewards, credit or equity in the company. This method of fundraising works best for business ideas that are marketable, because getting donations relies on raising interest and excitement about your

7 business. A variety of third-party platforms exist to facilitate crowdfunding: Kickstarter Indiegogo AngelList Crowdfunder Prosper Lending Club Early Shares CircleUp Kiva #4 Credit Cards A number of credit card companies support small business ventures by offering cards with low interest rates and rewards for purchases made on office supplies, travel, and Internet and phone services. They can also contribute to your business credit score. Unlike other financing options, business credit cards give you access to immediate cash for company purchases. tip: Find the card that s best for your company with NerdWallet s business credit card comparison tool, found online at FILE YOUR TAXES As a small business owner, you will need to pay federal, state, and local taxes. The type of taxes you need to file depends on how your business is structured--whether it s a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S-corporation or limited liability company. tip: Make sure you register your business with your state revenue office and the International Revenue Service. tip: As an employer, you will need to withhold federal income taxes from your employees paychecks. At the end of each tax year, which can be either the calendar year or the fiscal year, you will need to file income tax returns based on your taxable income. tip: You can subtract business expenses such as office supplies, computers, travel costs and specialized equipment from your taxable income.

8 "We are going to bring our message of peace, unity and progress to every single country, every single city." - Mizzle, Welcome to Fairfax

9 PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS By nature, business owners are risk takers. No risk, no reward. But some risks aren t worth taking. Make sure you ve got your bases covered by following the cautionary steps laid out below. TRADEMARK YOUR BRAND You need to register your business with your state revenue office and the Internal Revenue Service to pay state and federal business taxes. Don t forget to think about filing for a trademark to protect our company s name, which costs less than $300. Be sure to consult with an attorney to assist you with this process. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION Protecting the intellectual property behind your business is absolutely essential for startups in every industry. Unfortunately, many small businesses don t think about protecting their IP until it s too late. Educate yourself about the importance of IP protection, and be sure to consult with an attorney to assist you with this process. tip: Learn more by visiting the US Patent & Trademark Office online at RECORDKEEPING, LICENSES & PERMITS Paperwork can sometimes be a pain, but it is critically important for all entrepreneurs to maintain complete records of all business transactions and to make sure all agreements--whether they are with investors or personnel or for goods and services--are memorialized in writing. This helps eliminate confusion and ensures transparency, which is essential for businesses as they grow. Additionally, different types of businesses often require certain licenses and permits issued by federal, state and local authorities in order to operate. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides valuable information on these licenses and permits as well as a tool to help you determine which ones are required for your startup. Be sure to consult with an attorney to assist you with this process.

10 We need a generation of chill, positive people. - Jay Ughh, Welcome to Fairfax

11 SUPPORT & RESOURCES You may be starting your own business, but it s not a path you have to walk alone! Discover how you can join a community, find a guru, and seek council to help you through your journey. PLUGGING IN Find co-working space to connect with other entrepreneurs. WeWork: this trendy startup provides hip workspaces for small businesses in seven major U.S. cities, London and Israel Y Combinator: This community provides seed funding for early-stage startups and then works with groups of startups to improve their ideas and take them to the next level LEXC: The League of Extraordinary Co-Working Spaces (LEXC) is a network of co-working spaces from across the country. GET A MENTOR If you don t already have a mentor or advisor, now would be a good time to find one. Mentors who have gone through the trials and tribulations of setting up and running a business can provide valuable insights on these important issues based on their own experiences: What kind of corporate structure they use for their business and the rationale behind their decision. The costs of setting up, maintaining and operating a business entity. The kinds of legal risks and liabilities they face and how they guard against them. Structuring and managing relationships with investors and financiers (e.g., setting up financing rounds, offering equity, returns on investment, handling debt, etc.) PROGRAMS & SEMINARS Attend programs and seminars either in person or online to get information on how to legally set up and run your business. Check out the following resources for more information. Small Business Development Centers: These centers are hosted by local universities with partial funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring

12 entrepreneurs. Check with your local center for scheduled informational programs and events. The American Bar Association: This national lawyers trade organization has a division of public education with information on laws affecting new businesses, which vary by state and locale. Additionally, you can find local bar associations in your community that provide programs and seminars on business law, which are free and open to the public. Score: In addition to other valuable tools and information for aspiring entrepreneurs, offers online workshops and live workshops around the country on various topics relating to starting and operating a new business. For more resources, tips, and inspiration from the cast of Welcome to Fairfax, head to

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