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10 Steps to a New Business

Train Tracks

Have you dreamed of owning your own business, but don’t know where to start? Have you started planning for your new business, but keep wondering if you’ve forgotten anything important? Check out the basic steps below to be sure you’re on the right track.

Evaluate and Develop Your Business Concept

1. Do you feel passionate about this idea? Will it be something you can do every day –- and night?

2. Jot out a quick break-even analysis. Can you make money at what you’re planning to do?

3. Figure out how you can pay for it, until it pays for itself and then makes money. Determine best and worst case scenarios.

Structure Your Business

4. What type of business will you form?

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation

5. Who will be your key employees, partners and vendors? What value do they add that you don’t have?

Brand It

6. Determine the name of your business. Start with a brainstorm session, then research your top 5-10 names for trademark and online domain availability.

7. Register your name and trademarks.

8. Determine your brand identity. If your brand were a person, who would it be? What does it stand for? How does it speak? Your brand is more than your logo and name, by answering these questions, and more, you will begin to identify your brand and its persona.

Set Up Your Business Systems

9. Obtain Insurance. Determine what liabilities are most relevant and insure for them.

10. Set Up Your Books. Find an accountant or bookkeeper that can periodically check your business situation, methods and prepare your taxes.

There’s more, but these are the top ten things that need to happen, to give your business a sound start.  This is a basic list, but you would be surprised at how many people, and companies, skip some or all of these steps.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, give me a call. Many of these steps can be readily achieved and will build the foundation for a strong business. Your strong business.


What is RSS and How it is Addictive

The typical definition for the initials RSS is “Really Simple Syndication”. This is simRss Feed Iconply a method of broadcasting your blog or other frequently updated content across the internet or, by subscribing, following multiple sites with one easy tool.

By supplying an RSS feed, readers of your blog can quickly and easily access your blog in an RSS reader, like Google Reader, without the need to navigate to your blog whenever they want to see a new posting. The importance of this is it makes it easy for readers who are interested in your blog to know when it is updated and read the new content without actually visiting your blog.

Refer to this Wikipedia article for a more in-depth description of RSS feeds.

How is it addictive? Right now, I’m following about 20 blogs daily. No more click, search, scan, click search scan. Just sit back, scan the headlines, and choose whichever ones strike my fancy and blog away. That is addictive stuff for bloggers and business people like me.

Do you need an RSS feed? Who would you subscribe to? Your favorite blogger, a prospective client, your competition?

Scrooge Strikes e-Commerce Small Business

Is Network TV the Scrooge?
This Christmas season, it seems like every network TV news personality is reporting that online sales are booming. On Cyber-Monday, Becky Worley of Good Morning America said that online sales are up significantly this year. Technically, that’s true. That is, if you are Amazon, Walmart or Best Buy.

e-Commerce: Not for the Little GuyChristmas Cancelled for Small Business
Unfortunately, small to mid-size e-tailers have actually lost ground according to ComScore’s latest Cyber Monday report. Although, they reported a 12% overall increase in total consumer online spending, when you break it down the big box stores increased their sales 20%, while small-medium businesses experienced a 4% loss compared to 2009 spending.

Why do the Big Boys get the Attention?
Two reasons. One, the big boys can afford to lure shoppers with deep discounts and attention-grabbing promotions. In doing so, they grab market share from the online ‘mom & pops’, who thought the internet provided a new path to successful marketing. Two, network TV news keeps its focus on its customers: those big box stores who are their biggest advertisers this time of year.  ABC’s Becky Worley delivered her “news” report live from the floor of Amazon.com’s Phoenix distribution and shipping center.  Her story focused on Amazon’s deal of the day and other online retailers like Home Depot. If economic growth comes from small to medium-sized businesses, isn’t it time journalists paid more attention to them?

As Tiny Tim waits to see what’s in store for him this Christmas, remember small and medium-sized businesses are the ones that bring handcrafted, quality craftsmanship, made in America items to market. These are often gifts that last a lifetime.

Buy from someone ‘small’ today. There’s still time to shop!