Jon houdyschell | A Startup Is Not A Small Business
Jon houdyschell | While small businesses execute on a validated business model, startups search for one. Take the example of a restaurant. For as long as we can track humans, selling and trading food were how people survived for thousands of years. The main responsibility of a restaurant owner is to provide quality and accessible food at a price that justifies the value. One startup idea that comes to mind related to restaurants is a food on-demand app. Consumers have been used to buying food a certain way, therefore, the job of the entrepreneur is no longer making and selling the product only but in educating the buyer and validating the on-demand model which may sound viable but is not necessarily valid for every segment.
This vital distinction simply means launching a startup with a small business building mindset will rarely work. If you have not previously experienced the ups and downs of startups, it is wiser to hire a mentor and team members who can help you build a valid, viable and valuable solution the right way.
Jon houdyschell – There are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States, making up a whopping 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. When you consider some of the most popular reasons to start a business, including having a unique business idea, designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself — it’s no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.
But not every small business is positioned for success. In fact, only about two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least two years, and about half survive five years. So you may be in for a real challenge when you decide to take the plunge, ditch your day job, and become a business owner. The stage is often set in the beginning, so making sure you follow all of the necessary steps when starting your business can set the foundation for success.
Step 1: Do Your Research / Jon houdyschell Most likely you have already identified a business idea, so now it’s time to balance it with a little reality. Does your idea have the potential to succeed? You will need to run your business idea through a validation process before you go any further.
In order for a small business to be successful, it must solve a problem, fulfill a need or offer something the market wants.
There are a number of ways you can identify this need, including research, focus groups, and even trial and error. As you explore the market, some of the questions you should answer include:
Is there a need for your anticipated products/services? Who needs it? Are there other companies offering similar products/services now? What is the competition like? How will your business fit into the market? Don’t forget to ask yourself some questions, too, about starting a business before you take the plunge.
Step 2: Make a Plan / Jon houdyschell You need a plan in order to make your business idea a reality. A business plan is a blueprint that will guide your business from the start-up phase through establishment and eventually business growth, and it is a must-have for all new businesses.
The good news is that there are different types of business plans for different types of businesses.
If you intend to seek financial support from an investor or financial institution, a traditional business plan is a must. This type of business plan is generally long and thorough and has a common set of sections that investors and banks look for when they are validating your idea.
If you don’t anticipate seeking financial support, a simple one-page business plan can give you clarity about what you hope to achieve and how you plan to do it. In fact, you can even create a working business plan on the back of a napkin, and improve it over time. Some kind of plan in writing is always better than nothing.
Step 3: Plan Your Finances / Jon houdyschell Starting a small business doesn’t have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses before you are turning a profit. Put together a spreadsheet that estimates the one-time startup costs for your business (licenses and permits, equipment, legal fees, insurance, branding, market research, inventory, trademarking, grand opening events, property leases, etc.), as well as what you anticipate you will need to keep your business running for at least 12 months (rent, utilities, marketing and advertising, production, supplies, travel expenses, employee salaries, your own salary, etc.).
Those numbers combined is the initial investment you will need.
Now that you have a rough number in mind, there are a number of ways you can fund your small business, including:
Financing Small business loans Small business grants Angel investors Crowdfunding Jon houdyschell You can also attempt to get your business off the ground by bootstrapping, using as little capital as necessary to start your business. You may find that a combination of the paths listed above work best. The goal here, though, is to work through the options and create a plan for setting up the capital you need to get your business off the ground.
Step 4: Choose a Business Structure / Jon houdyschell Your small business can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. The business entity you choose will impact many factors from your business name, to your liability, to how you file your taxes.
You may choose an initial business structure, and then reevaluate and change your structure as your business grows and needs change.
Depending on the complexity of your business, it may be worth investing in a consultation from an attorney or CPA to ensure you are making the right structure choice for your business.
Step 5: Pick and Register Your Business Name / Jon houdyschell Your business name plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one. Make sure you think through all of the potential implications as you explore your options and choose your business name.
Once you have chosen a name for your business, you will need to check if it’s trademarked or currently in use. Then, you will need to register it. A sole proprietor must register their business name with either their state or county clerk. Corporations, LLCs, or limited partnerships typically register their business name when the formation paperwork is filed.
Don’t forget to register your domain name once you have selected your business name. Try these options if your ideal domain name is taken.
Step 6: Get Licenses and Permits / Jon houdyschell Paperwork is a part of the process when you start your own business.
There are a variety of small business licenses and permits that may apply to your situation, depending on the type of business you are starting and where you are located. You will need to research what licenses and permits apply to your business during the start-up process.
Step 7: Choose Your Accounting System / Jon houdyschell Small businesses run most effectively when there are systems in place. One of the most important systems for a small business is an accounting system.
Your accounting system is necessary in order to create and manage your budget, set your rates and prices, conduct business with others, and file your taxes. You can set up your accounting system yourself, or hire an accountant to take away some of the guesswork. If you decide to get started on your own, make sure you consider these questions that are vital when choosing accounting software.
Step 8: Set Up Your Business Location Setting up your place of business is important for the operation of your business, whether you will have a home office, a shared or private office space, or a retail location.
You will need to think about your location, equipment, and overall setup, and make sure your business location works for the type of business you will be doing. You will also need to consider if it makes more sense to buy or lease your commercial space.
Step 9: Get Your Team Ready If you will be hiring employees, now is the time to start the process. Make sure you take the time to outline the positions you need to fill, and the job responsibilities that are part of each position. The Small Business Administration has an excellent guide to hiring your first employee that is useful for new small business owners.
If you are not hiring employees, but instead outsourcing work to independent contractors, now is the time to work with an attorney to get your independent contractor agreement in place and start your search.
Lastly, if you are a true solopreneur hitting the small business road alone, you may not need employees or contractors, but you will still need your own support team. This team can be comprised of a mentor, small business coach, or even your family, and serves as your go-to resource for advice, motivation and reassurance when the road gets bumpy.
Step 10: Promote Your Small Business Once your business is up and running, you need to start attracting clients and customers. You’ll want to start with the basics by writing a unique selling proposition (USP) and creating a marketing plan. Then, explore as many small business marketing ideas as possible so you can decide how to promote your business most effectively.
Once you have completed these business start-up activities, you will have all of the most important bases covered. Keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight. But use the plan you’ve created to consistently work on your business, and you will increase your chances of success.
A chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in a company, whose primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors (the board) and corporate operations and being the public face of the company. A CEO is elected by the board and its shareholders.
Understanding Chief Executive Officers A CEO’s role varies from one company to another depending on the company’s size, culture, and corporate structure. In large corporations, CEOs typically deal only with very high-level strategic decisions and those that direct the company’s overall growth. In smaller companies, CEOs often are more hands-on and involved with day-to-day functions. CEOs can set the tone, vision, and sometimes the culture of their organizations.
Because of their frequent dealings with the public, sometimes the chief executive officers of large corporations become famous. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook (FB), for example, is a household name today. Similarly, Steve Jobs, founder, and CEO of Apple (AAPL), became such a global icon that following his death in 2011, an explosion of documentary films about him emerged.
Related Chief Positions Corporate America houses numerous titles of senior executives that begin with the letter C, for “chief.” This group of top senior staffers has come to be called C-suite, or C-level, in the vernacular.
Jon houdyschell – At some point in running your business, you will think of how to grow your business profits and you really need to plan if you are to do it in a good progressive manner. Whilst the actual way you go about this will vary depending on your business and client profile there are a few considerations below to guide you in your analysis and to try and identify some pitfalls you may come across in the process.
Most people instantly think in order to increase business profits they need to sell more of their goods or services. Whilst this is one option for increased profits it does not necessarily transpire that the profits will increase by increasing your sales. Your costs could increase quicker than the sales because you may need to increase costs such as marketing expenditure, staffing costs or premises costs. You may want to sell more products or services to existing customers for example if you are a bookkeeper do you also offer the service of payroll calculations for your clients. Alternatively, you may look for new customers to increase the size of your customer base possibly by opening another office or shop, advertising for new customers in a new geographic market area.
You may alternatively decide to increase prices, again this would increase profits if all your customers still bought the same goods or services from your business that they would originally have purchased. However, your customers may move their business or reduce the number of goods or services they purchase from you and this could actually lower your profits. In order to analyze if this is an option go back to some competitor research and evaluate what the competition is charging for a similar product or service, look at how your offering varies to the competition and decide if that adds value that can justify higher charges
Reducing business costs is also a viable option, after all, is your sales remain constant or rise and your expenses go down you will find your profit will increase. The consideration I would caution here is if you lower costs to your business will that reduce the quality of goods or services you offer to your customers. If you reduce staffing in your business will that lower service standards or speed of service or do you have slack in your staffing hours that can be reduced. Lower costs for purchased products that you supply such as stock would hep raise profits but if the cheaper products are a lower quality would you lose clients.
There is a fine balance between success and failure in growing your business but if you do all your research in a comprehensive manner and also, more importantly, you monitor the effects of changes very closely as you progress, good bookkeeping records and management accounts will help you monitor the profits. If you notice adverse results then you need to re-evaluate your ideas, they may simply not be working, they may be taking longer to work out than you were expecting or you may have deviated from your plan but this re-evaluation will help you refocus and help get you your desired result to increase your profits.
Let’s first explore first some of the popular definitions of business that have molded the culture of business practitioners across the world. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English gives an illusionary definition that had deluded many. It says business is “The activity of making money by producing or buying and selling goods or providing services.” The WordWeb Dictionary defines business as “The activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial and industrial aspects.”
Human beings are creatures of emotion. Man is driven by his believes and values ingrained in his heart, even though he may sometime not be aware of it. They believe that business is about making money by providing products and/or services is that had been the driving force behind the passion of many business people, which have alienated mankind from the purpose for which God created a business. Sadly, this is the bane of many business practitioners. The fruit or product of this kind of worldview is self-conceited and self-serving business people.
If you agree that God is the creator of the earth and the rest of the universe; then you’d also agree that He is solely responsible for the rules that govern the universe! One distinguishing character of God is that He is an intentional God. He created everything (including business) on and for a purpose. In this article, I’ll be spotlighting God’s definition of business. The surest clue to understanding this is in discerning the purpose of why He created a business. In this follow up article, I’ll explore what business is truly all about.
The starting point to this puzzle is to go to the very beginning; where God established His purpose of business enshrined in his cardinal purpose for man. The purpose of business is divine in nature: business exists to fulfill the Creation Mandate in Genesis 1:28,
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over… ”
The cardinal purpose of man is to rule God’s physical universe – known as the creation mandate. Given the Creation Mandate as the prime mandate of man, then everything relating to the life of man must find its purpose in this mandate. Therefore the business is a tool to enable man to rule. If the purpose of man is to rule God’s physical creation, then all human activity must relate to man’s responsibility to rule. Therefore work is, and must be, a means to rule.
This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.
You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.
Why do this?
Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.
The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.
To help you get started, here are a few questions:
Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
What topics do you think you’ll write about?
Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.
Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.
When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.