I have been doing a lot of reading the last couple of months on start-ups? Why you ask when you already have a company. Well yes but each day is a new day with new challenges and second I have a small company. Yes my company is small and after once having a lager 37 person company (small by some standards) with over a million in sales company I like it this way. Third, people around me, friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, are out of work, and are thinking of starting a company up or buying one if they can’t get a job. And forth, one of the two in a married couple was working and the “other” person sort of had a hobby business which is now thrust into the main bread winner income source.
Any of this sound like you?
I am going to address this from the point of view that you are out of work, and can’t find a job. The best choice you might really have, especially if you are over 50, is to consider starting up your own company.
Start with what kind of company you need to have, Sole proprietor, Partnership, Sub Chapter S, Corporation? These choices all have tax and liability ramifications. So do some home work. Now is the time to seek out a CPA and a Business Attorney. Yes this is one time I’ll feed you to the sharks.
Think about money. Budgeting, cash flow projections, budgeting, your personal needs. Think about your lowest cost denominator, your base cash needs. I mean strip down EVERY non essential expenditure. What is the base you need to go “one more round”? Know this might come in handy? And (sorry guys) your base needs is not Cable TV and dinner out at Ditka’s, it is food on the table and a roof over your head. Do you need an office or will a spare room or corner in the kitchen work for now?
Other areas the attorney can pre-help are contracts, dispute resolution, employment issues or 1099 workers if you are thinking about using independent contractors. Leases, trademarks, etc.
Finances. Start by assuming that money and finances will be a problem. There are no federal grants for Start-Ups. Banks don’t loan to Start-Ups. Investors are rarely interested in a Start-Up. Family members? Investor groups? Family members are probably working hard to keep themselves afloat and as for investor groups? Again not for a Start-Up.
Then ask yourself what are you selling? Who will buy it? Why would a prospective customer buy from me? Then going one step farther, where are you going to find all these customers. How will you reach them, find them? As you answer these simple questions the answers to the tools you will need to deliver your marketing message will come up as well. Knowing who and where your prospects are makes reaching out and “touching” them a matter of matching your marketing and sales techniques and tools to your marketing and prospects. Business cards, letterhead, envelopes, web site (if needed) info kits, mailers, newspaper ads or classified ads, online ads, social media marketing, door hangers, selling parties.
Larson Notes & Satire: I’m going to stop here, for now. This topic is too big and too individualist to put in a simple little blog.
First, I’ll tell you this though, as a start up, don’t let your emotions lead you into any hasty decision that will make it even more difficult for you to achieve your real goal.
Second, make sure you understand what cash flow is, and where the cash is going to come from.
Third, think about sales ratios not about gross sale numbers.
Forth, think long term. If you just want to patch over dry spell till you find a job, forget it. It is a waste of your time and money. Go get a part time job at McDonalds or Menards until you find a full time gig.
Fifth. Your focus and your disciple are more important than anything else including perceived opportunities.
Sixth, when looking at a business, competition is good; it’s easier to beat the competition than to educate the market place.
Seventh If you’re a first time owner, it is better to do a Start-Up then to buy a business.
Eighth, your first business plan should be simple and written for you not a group of investors and 2 pagers max!
And ninth your time is more valuable than your money. Spend wisely.
I will take individual questions at firstname.lastname@example.org at no charge. This is only advice, I am NOT an attorney, and I am not an accountant. Any advice you get or use from me is at your own risk. I am only a business person that has made most to the mistakes a person can make and keep making new ones daily. But for forewarned, if you use this "service" I will be posting some or the questions and answers anonymously to a new blog which I feel can help others. No names, specific facts or figures will ever be posted. So your secrets will be quite safe.
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