I’d like to start a Business! Where do I begin?

Desire! First decide what you would really enjoy doing and something you could make some money at as well. The worst thing you can do is to start a business that has only one objective, to make money. And furthermore you never want to do business with anyone that you would only do business with because of the money. If money is the only reason to do business with the person, then don’t.  "It will always come back to bite you" is what a good friend of mine, Harry Green, shared with me years ago before his death.

Plan: Study the business you want to start. Know everything about it you can.   Know what your State’s requirements are regarding the type of business entity you want to set up.  A corporation?  An LLC etc.?  Talk to a qualified tax accountant or competent attorney.  Take a business friend out to lunch and listen to how they got started. They know a few things and can really save you a lot of missteps if you pay attention to their advice. I read once where if you take a rich man to lunch he’ll tell you whatever you want to know so he doesn’t have to spend his money for his own lunch.

Initiate: Do something! You may want to even start small. You may not want to even start with all the ‘legal’ paraphernalia. Years ago when I first began contracting work on my own, I did it on the side while working 40 hours a week in the same industry.  At the end of the year, I simply listed ‘self-employment’ income under my social security number. This gave me a safety net emotionally to gradually move into the business full time several years later.

Try to keep your start-up expenses to a minimum. Watch your spending. You need to make some money before you spend too much. Go to the internet for special deals on logo designs, business cards etc. You will be surprised how much ‘free’ stuff is available if you are persistent to keep looking.  And you will find there is a large gap in pricing for the same service. Don’t buy the first price you see. Compare and shop around on the internet. A prime example is in the area of logo design. Many companies charge hundreds and sometimes over a thousand dollars for a logo design. And yet I’ve discovered companies who charge less than a hundred dollars with multiple redesigns.  It’s your money so spend it carefully.

Have someone come along side of you. Secure the services of a trusted friend who has your best interest at heart and believes in you. But there are also organizations that offer free services including retired business executives who volunteer to walk you through the process of setting up your business entity and right on through business plan development. Once such organization that has been around for a long time is ‘SCORE’. Check them out at www.score.org.

And since I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, I personally live a lifestyle of prayer where I seek the Counsel of God to know what is best for my company at any given time. That way when I need to make changes to keep or increase market share and to stay ahead of a changing economy, I have a divine edge. You just cannot beat that kind of insight!

by Frank Blalock