Starting a Business

This is one of the most asked question of my peers. Everywhere I go and we get into a business question is raised, it’s “How do you start a business?”

Well here we go…

When anyone asks this question, there is usually this underlying “why”:

  1. I want to be my own boss
    • make my own schedule
    • choose my own responsibilities
  2. I want to make A LOT of money!
  3. I have a great idea

Whatever your WHY is, is your WHY big enough to overcome the frustration, hurt, sleepless nights, uncertainties, and failures required to get you through to the achievement of whatever you define as SUCCESS?

This page is not here to discourage you, but to help you have the proper expectations. On the contrary, we want you to succeed and this requires being prepared. So before we get into the technical nitty gritties, first I recommend that you define your WHY and what your SUCCESS looks like. Most executives I know that’s had to overcome much had always had a WHY that helped get them through. So…how do you get prepared?

  1. Write a Vision Statement
    • Do this for yourself (personally) and for the business you want to start
    • Write out your core values. These are values you’ll stick to no matter what!
  2. Define your WHY
    • Practice your WHY at home, with friends, and with people you don’t know DAILY
  3. Define what SUCCESS looks like and write this down
  4. Plaster your WHYs and your Vision EVERYWHERE!
  5. Share it with your family and friends
    • It’s important to have support, know who believes in you, and know those who do not. Those who do will be your reminders when times are tough.
  6. Start journaling your days
    • This is important because this is a difficult habit to keep up with when times are hard
  7. Define your schedule.
    • You will have times where you have to choose between your family and the fires you have in front of you. If you take time away from one, make it a habit to ensure you make that up, or you will lose your family and friends.
  8. BE SURE YOU HAVE TIME FOR GOD!
    • I know it sounds cliche, but the truth is nothing is more important than your relationship with God. For many when time is pressed, it seems that first we take our time from God, then our family, and then our friends. You may be an outlier, but I’ve seen it happen with so many, including me. I’m sure you have heard the many stories of top executives who’ve lost everything, except their businesses. Your business and image will not be crying at your funeral.

If you were to ever ask me about starting a business, usually I reference the above. I’ve done it the hard way, the long way, and the wrong way. In fact, I didn’t do any of what I’m sharing. I had to learn it all on the fly, and I’ve suffered much for it. If you do this right on the front-end, you won’t be an executive with regrets.

The Nitty Gritties

Once you’ve defined your Vision and prepared yourself with the criteria above, then GET STARTED! This is probably the biggest part of why people don’t start. They simply… don’t… start. Don’t worry about being perfect or having all the right things in place. Just get started. Here’s how:

Preparation

  1. Build a Business Plan
    • Define your product and how it will serve your customers
    • Define your customers
    • Build out a Pro-Forma, or a spreadsheet on how you’ll make money
    • Define your threats
    • Define your skills and your weakness
  2. Get input from those you trust
  3. Save up to 6-12 months of income into savings
  4. Get a few low-interest credit cards with high cash back
    • or whatever credit cards you prefer
  5. Find a few Attorneys
    • One who specializes in general business
      • Define how to incorporate (LLC, Sole Proprietor, Corporation, etc)
      • Build out your contracts for yourself and for the company
    • One who specializes in Human Resources
      • Write out a Company Handbook
      • Know what’s in the company handbook
      • Learn the current federal and state employment laws
    • One who specializes in litigation
      • The better you do, the higher the likelihood someone is going to find a reason to sue you
  6. Find an Accountant
    • Define your Chart of Accounts
    • Setup your IRS numbers, i.e., FEIN (basically a business social security number)
    • Go over your business plan to ensure it makes sense
  7. Get a relationship with a Bank
    • Talk with the branch manager and anyone above him/her and get to know them
      • When you need them, you need to already know and have a history with them
    • Setup a line of credit (if possible)
  8. Find an Business Insurance Agent
    • Get a General Liability Insurance and Worker’s Comp
    • If you want cheaper rates, it’s likely you can exempt yourself as owner
  9. Find a Mentor or Coach
    • When you go crazy or don’t know what to do, these people should be helpful 😉
  10. Open the doors for business!

As time goes on, I’ll be updating these whenever I see holes pop up. I want this to be helpful and as comprehensive as possible to help navigate through the learning curves. So please keep checking back for updates!