Everyone starts at the bottom. The Beatles were once an obscure band playing pubs and night clubs in Liverpool. Michael Jordan was once the skinny kid passed up by his high school varsity basketball team. One of Academy Award winner Tom Hanks’ earliest roles was on TV as a cross-dressing graphic artist that went by the name “Buffy.” It’s safe to say they all honed their craft through humble beginnings. They also likely encountered the helping hand of a mentor or two along the way. We should all be so lucky.
In this article, we cover:
- The explosive recent growth in small businesses.
- How Launchpad America can help avoid the common pitfalls new small businesses experience.
- Where YouMail fits in.
Startups are no exception. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of startups do not make it past their first year and 50 percent don’t make it past five years. In other words, the road is rough for the 4.5 million entrepreneurs who submitted new business applications in 2020. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from spring of 2020 into 2021, Americans have been filing new business application at the fastest rate in over a decade. And while the root idea is often brilliant, not every “idea man” necessarily knows how to maneuver the pitfalls of small business ownership. Wouldn’t it be great to have easy access to mentorship, counseling, and essential tools during this most critical phase?
What if we told you such a thing exists?
Introducing Launchpad America
It just so happens that a coalition of experts have come together as Launchpad America to offer mentorship, resources, and tools to burgeoning businesspeople. Those experts include America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), GoSmallBiz.com, Intuit, Lendio, Mastercard, Roll by ADP, Thryv, and — yours truly — YouMail. We form like Voltron to help new small business owners gain access to legal, finance, credit, client management, communications, payroll, human resources, accounting, cybersecurity, and websites and domains. When starting a small business, it can feel daunting, as if you need to learn a dozen different disciplines just to get off the ground. We believe daring entrepreneurs should be able to simplify as much as they can so they are free to focus on their core competencies. Sure, we all dream of launching with the perfect website, killer branding, and a highly polished communications strategy. The reality is perfection often leads to procrastination and paralysis. Why not get off the ground with cost-effective solutions that specialize in small businesses and can scale as you grow?
The Startup Guide
Step one of the Launchpad America small business starter program is the Startup Guide. It provides information and mentorship on how to launch, grow, and secure a small business and was created by America’s SBDC, the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local SBDCs that can provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for free in-person business consulting and at-cost training on a variety of topics.
The Starter Kit
Advice is just the first step. Next comes the Starter Kit, a set of tools specially designed to start, run, and grow a small business. Launchpad America partners provide special offers for their services in payroll, legal services, accounting, business loans, cybersecurity, client experience management, and communications.
Of course, communications is our bag here at YouMail, so allow us to elaborate on what we bring to the table: three tiers of service for small businesses. Our base plan offers all the YouMail essentials:
- Three business lines complete with voicemail and texting, which comes in particularly handy to separate work from your personal life
- Vanity numbers to appear local in the area code of your choosing
- Professional personalized greetings and auto-replies
- YouMail robocalling, the gold standard in spam and fraud protection
From there, each tier adds more numbers, unlimited cloud storage, minutes, and transcriptions. Some small business owners tie each number in their plan to a specific marketing strategy for which they can measure success based on the number of calls that roll in. One small business owner can manage thousands of customers and leads every month on our entry-level plan.
There is something for everyone, no matter if you come out of the gate like gangbusters, or start at the bottom — like John, Paul, George, and Ringo did once upon a time.