Self-Employment Steps for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors: Helping a Consumer Start a Business

Beginning to Develop Your Plan

Answer the following questions in writing for review by your vocational rehabilitation counselor. For some questions, you may need to talk to business owners or do some research at the library. Your answers will help both you and your counselor clarify your business idea. Your answers are the beginning of your Business Plan and may help your counselor determine whether you and Vocational Rehabilitation should work together toward the goal of self-employment. 

1. What business would you like to start?

2. Who will use your service and/or buy your product(s)? 

3. Where are your customers located?

4. How many customers do you think you will have during the first year? During the second year?

5. How much money do you think you will make during the first year? During the second year?

6. How will you tell potential customers about your business?

7. Is there another business like the one you want to open operating in the area you want to serve? Is it successful? Why or why not?

8. Why do you want to start this type of business?

9. What qualifications do you already have for running this business?

10. What will you need to learn to be able to operate this business?

11. Will you hire employees? What skills should they have? How much will you pay them?

12. If you were a potential customer, why would you use this business?

13. If you were a customer, what features would keep you coming back?

14. Who will do the ordering, customer contact, and bookkeeping for your business?

15. What hours and days will you operate?

16. Where will your business be located?

17. What equipment will you need? Do you need it right away? If not, when will you need it? Do you need to own it or can you rent it?

18. Will your disability pose any barriers to your operating this business? If yes, what are they? What are your ideas for overcoming these barriers?

19. How much money will you need to start the business? How much money can you contribute? Who can loan you money? What do you think are likely sources of money for starting your business?

July 1998, 1st Revision June 1999, 2nd Revision February 2001