Why do most new businesses fail?
Steve Bors, Entrepreneurship Center director for Southeast Community College, posed this question to the Nebraska City Rotary Club Wednesday afternoon.
Club members suggested the lack of a business plan or the lack of available capital, but Bors said the No. 1 reason new businesses fail is a lack of customers.
To help beginning business owners lessen their chances of failure, the SCC Entrepreneurship Center. located at the corner of 68th and O in Lincoln, offers a variety of services, including business coaching, affordable office space in the center’s Focus Suites, entrepreneurship classes, and opportunities to network with other new business owners, said Bors.
Bors said he recommends that new business owners take three initial steps before actually starting the business, which are:
Determine if the business idea is valid.
Determine if the business idea is profitable.
Set up business systems to ensure consistent products and services.
Bors told the Rotarians about the most successful business in the SCC Center’s Focus Suites, which is called Bridge to Better Living.
Mary Ann Stallings began the business, which is an assisted living transition service, after helping several relatives make the transition from their own homes to assisted living facilities.
Stallings has two full-time employees in  Lincoln, one in Omaha and is expanding her business to the Des Moines, Iowa, area, said Bors.
Bors said Stallings’ business is valid because it helps meet a community need; it’s profitable because it receives referral fees from assisted living facilities for placements; and Stallings has  systems in place to ensure consistency across her three locations.
Eighteen of the center’s 20 Focus Suites are currently occupied, said Bors, and other businesses in them include a pet-sitting service, insurance agencies, a professional organizer and a stage set-up service for events.
“Be a lifelong learner,” Bors said. “Don’t close your mind to learning.”
Bors said that beginning entrepreneurs in Nebraska City can take advantage of the center’s services in person, via phone or online. The center can also offer referrals to other service providers and networking through the Perk Up Thursday open coffees and other networking events.
For more information on the center, call Bors at 402-437-2524.
The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesdays at the Eagles Club, 600 1st Corso. Guests pay $9 for lunch.
The program for tomorrow (Sept. 20) is scheduled to be a presentation by Melissa Valenta, life skills teacher at Nebraska City Middle School. She will discuss “Job Skills Training: Partnering with Local Businesses.”