How to start a business

The ultimate evolution of a salesman is to start a company. When a man learns to sell it’s like a baby learning to crawl, when a man starts his own company it’s like that baby walking on two feet. Sales skills directly translate to starting a business.

That being said you can’t start a business without experience in the thing you are about to provide. Kind of like you can’t coach a sport you have never even played. You need to know a particular product or service before just starting up a company.

90% of the time you will need to work for someone else to learn the skills before starting your own thing. Let’s go over two examples:

Robert studies accounting in college. He gets a job out of school working for XYZ accounting firm in his city. XYZ accounting firm employs 6 people, Robert being one of them. Robert works there for 3 years. He learns everything there is to know about accounting, and running an accounting firm. After 3 years Robert quits and starts his own accounting firm. He opens up an office a few miles away and does all the necessary things to make that office a success. That firm does well and Robert becomes a success.

James is a high school dropout. He begins working for a carpentry company in his town. That company does basement remodels, cabinetry, porches, decks, pretty much anything that can be built out of wood. James is paid $13/hr for his labor. After 2 years James decides to start making the big bucks, that he wants to be the boss. He quits and forms his own carpentry company, James Carpentry LLC. James follows the lessons he has learned and turns his company into a success.

So when you are developing your business idea (and likely working for someone else) you’ll want to know:
(1) What are the going rates for this product/service?
(2) How popular is this particular product/service?
(3) What do I need to start my own, products, materials, website, etc?
(4) What issues do business owners in this industry face and how will I address them?
(5) Am I fully prepared to start my own? (this is a trick question, you’ll never be fully prepared, just go for it)

So you’ve got your skills, you’ve got your product/service, what now? First get an LLC. Just Google “form an LLC” in your state. The first result will direct you to your state site where you can fill out the paperwork, it takes about 2 hours. The cost varies state to state, but there is an annual fee (should be less than $300). In a few days you’ll get your LLC paperwork in the mail. Next you will need a Tax ID. Google “get a tax id”, you’ll provide your LLC info to the IRS and they will provide you a tax ID. All of this is easy, requires a few bucks, and the government will send you your info pretty quickly. In a few days you are a company.

Now you need a business bank account. The reason for this is two-fold. First because you need to separate your income/expenses for personal and business, because when tax-time comes it will be MUCH easier to file your taxes. The second reason is that when it comes time for a customer to pay you, you will ask them to write a check to “My effin pimp company’s name LLC”, instead of your name. This makes you seem more legit. And you wanna look legit.

So when everything is set up in the eyes of the law, now you need to look legit and get the ball rolling. For looking legit I recommend:

– Business Cards
– Flyers
– A few company t-shirts (maybe polo if your company is more professional)
– Vinyl wrap your car, or put a sign on it
– A website
– A Facebook company site
– A Google+ Business Profile

These things are going to take time, and you have to decide what is worth it to you, and what you think is a waste of time (my car is not vinyl wrapped).

So now you’re legit, you’re ready, you need customers. Here’s some ways to get them, ultimately it comes down to trying everything, in every direction, in as much volume as you possibly can:

– put flyers out
– take out an ad(s) (you must weigh the pros and cons of particular ads and their cost)
– post on social media, every social media there is
– tell every friend and family member you know
– go door-to-door if you have to

There’s more. A million ways to get the word out. It’s essentially marketing. You have to get your company’s name and service in front of as many eyes and ears as possible. A good marketing campaign will get a 1% response rate, so don’t get discouraged if the phone isn’t ringing off the hook.

For further assistance visit your local small business committee or chamber of commerce. These are quite common in American cities just Google it. Business owners love helping each other out.

This guide applies to in-person businesses and brick-and-mortar businesses, especially when it comes to marketing and getting customers, you will need a different strategy than what I have supplied here, if you have an online business.

One final note, do not start a company with partners. Do it all yourself, and have employees. Or if a friend starts a company have them employ you, and take a steady wage. Partnerships are a mistake 90% of the time. It only takes one person to captain a ship, the rest should take orders. It’s fine to take orders, it’s fine to be captain, but trying to do both is foolish.

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