I'm an expert in my trade, but not in running a business. Who are the right people to help me run a startup?
I want to start a business selling interior elements and designs and furnitures (that is my own profession and field of work). I just want to know what other people I need to work with to be successful... and how to find and start working with them,. Please accept my apologies for my rough question, but I am new to the startup community. I really want to start my own business but there are lot of initial challenges I am facing and I am not sure where to begin.
That is a great amazing concern since I believe yoiu will get great responses. In your case, you really need to work hand in hand with other professionals in not different industries but with different skills. Be wary with how and who you associate with. Don't allow the chance to lost your ownership and ideas - good professionals will never addresses you with that in mind.
Network Arman - network with the right people and keep being open as you were here. That helps a lot interested people. Be close to clear of what you want. You may be successful at finding a good person that could become the other half your idea needs. In my opinion, you are a good example of businesses that need partnership or critically strategic alliances.. you are making clear you cannot do it alone.. find others that are strong at what you feel you need.
Write things down, visit your SBA or free business associations to start.. and then consult a good lawyer.
I would suggest that you start with SCORE www.score.org. SCORE offers advice, webinars, and tutorials intended to assist entrepreneurs. When I started by business I went to SCORE and received some great advice from industry experts.
Hope this helps!
Hi Arman, As others have suggested, you need to start with a full business plan, so you understand yourself, what role you will play and what other people you will need to hire. The business plan will also help you map out the financial viability for your business. Before you start a business plan, you might want to think about your business structure using the business model canvas approach, because it is easier to understand. Here is a link to my blog that might help you. http://xlconsultinggroup.com/starting-a-new-company-we-explain-how-the-business-model-canvas-strategy-can-help-you/
All Kind of the business have challenges. On your case, you ready got those essential to make your own business to be successfully. What you need now, it only training on that part you aren't confident on, in order to put everything in practice.
Do you believe in your venture idea and its sustainability. If the answer is yes then what is your plan to raise capital as in an investor pitch doc.
I think it s a quite valid question and important to as I seen really good entrepreneurs got into problem not asking this question.
As a previous International Market Developer, mentor/coach, business man and now also a "Stockholm Business Angel (www.stoaf.se)" this question does not have a simple answer!
You need to find out what strengths you have and what skills your business need to be complete? This is often done by work in lot of networks or even contact Business Angels.
Matter of fact I really like to move to Singapore and start a "Singapore Business Angels" with the same successful methodology as we have here in Stockholm. A concept which is build on a thought that it is a fair and win-win concept both for the entrepreneur as well as the competences/investors.
Lets continue the discussion if you want to!
You find me at Linked In!
Congratulations on taking the plunge to start your own business. But before you do so, I have a number of suggestions and these are from my own and others experiences as you stated you're new to the start-up community. Firstly, you don't necessarily need to work with anyone to become successful - depending on how you view it, however, having a good mentor is invaluable, someone in that trade who understands that particular industry and what it takes to be successful.
You may also want to answer these questions to begin with;
1. Is this a business that is going to fill a void, solve an existing or future problem?
2. What value will this business bring to the customers?
3. How to you intend to start, continue to reach and serve your customers?
4. Are you ready to commit blood, sweat and tears to make this work?
If you decide to go ahead, get all the help you can to develop a business plan, but before you commit, you may also want to check out the competition to see what you can learn from them.
Your first exercise should be Test Marketing - Create a Minimum Viable Product.
Building samples of your work. This is what you're going to use to test the market and see if there's a need for what you're going to produce. If people can feel, touch and ask questions about your products, you'll soon understand it's value to them. This will also enable you to understand your customer demographics.
During this process, you will become familiar with who your customers are, where they are, why they want or don't want it and what they willing to pay for it. Who your suppliers are, partnerships, staffing requirements, location etc.
Ensure to minimise risk at all levels - avoid the burn and crash scenario.
I hope this helps. Feel free to connect if I can of further help
Congratulations! It's a wonderful undertaking upon which you have embarked. Now for the reality check. I'll start with your last comment first.
My best piece of advice I can give you is to spend a day putting your ideas down on paper and draft a business plan. Given your business idea it needs only to be a simple plan, say 6 pages or so. To be useful, the plan needs to cover: executive summary; product (description, manufacture, development), marketing (what is your target market and how you are going to access that market, who are your competitors, etc), and financials (capital, balance sheet, profit and loss statement - not too detailed, just high level). Place an equal emphasis on each section. Through preparing the plan you will gain some structure and focus. It also will give you clarity on how much you can spend on getting people who are going to help you.
Given that there are three parts to the business - product, marketing, and financials - you have one part sorted out - product - that's you. Next figure out how you are going to look after the financials. Will it be you, your accountant, or a part time book-keeper? You need to get this sorted out early in the piece because lots of entrepreneurs go broke because they are not on top of the financials.
Marketing. Presuming you have sufficient capital to hire a marketing person, on some basis, whether employee or contract, you need to find them. To do so there are a few options: your network (given that you are from that industry), advertising the role (whether it be on your website or a job-ad website) and a recruiter. When you do find some people who have potential, I suggest you consider performing reference checks and asking them to submit to you a proposal of how they are going to grow your business. The proposal will sort out the people who know your industry and have contacts from those who think they can sell but don't know the industry and don't have the contacts.
The second person I suspect you'll hire will be an admin person. There's a lot of low value add admin that must be done to run a business efficiently. Once you can afford this person, outsource it away from you!
Once you are established, I suggest you invest in a mentor / executive coach. If you get a good one, they are your outsourced part-time CEO. As you grow you can think about CEO and advisory boards, but for now your priorities should be getting money in the door and keeping your costs low.
I'm happy to be contacted should you think I can help.
I wish you well.
There are also government sponsored agencies that will help you with a business plan and strategies on how to set up and run your business. Check them out through Google for you area.
This week, read two books before you spend any money on your business.
1. The Lean Start Up by Eric Reis
2. E-Myth Revisited By Michael E. Gerber
There are concepts in these books that will put you light years ahead of your competition, create "margin" in your life, and help you focus as you build your business.
As a CPA, one of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is they spend way too much money on activities that do not generate a return and/or revenue. Even if you have a boat load of start up capital, you want to spend it wisely. Which leads to my next point.
Put accounting and financial systems in place immediately. You can hire a CPA or a really good bookkeeper to set up your chart of accounts for creating financial statements. QuickBooks is a small business staple. Xero is pretty good as well. Do not buy accounting software with all the bells and whistle. You can get what you need for less than $15/month. Do ALL the bookkeeping yourself. Hire a good bookkeeper or CPA to review your work periodically. Do it yourself until your business grows to a point that you have to outsource it or hire an employee to do it. This will help you understand financial statements, build your business vocabulary, and reveal what is truly going on in your business. If you cannot measure your results you cannot correct mistakes and/or build upon your successes. Also, make a budget. Make a budget. Make a budget. Make a budget. Did I say make a budget?
I wouldn't hire a sales person until you understand your ideal client. This will save you time, money, and a lot of heartache. What's more, one of your primary roles as a business owner is to sell your business to customers. Additionally, you can generate warm leads with a very small marketing budget using the web and other guerrilla tactics.
Lastly, don't be afraid to make mistakes. You're gonna make them. It's part of the process. Congrats on starting your business. Running a business is VERY demanding but is just as rewarding. Good luck!
Call me I'm a Bishop of our organization and a Man of integrity I will help you 318-664-9730
my suggestion is to look for an experienced mentor / advisor, ideally with coaching skills, but this is not essential. I have supported hundreds of start-ups in the creative industries which is where I see your start-up belonging based on what you say. And I started more than one service business myself.
I have a book coming out aimed at people like you, which early users call the Mentor-in-a-book (look on the Palgrave website under my name). Happy to have an informal chat over the phone if you want to get in touch. I run a growing community of start-ups online who I share some of my insights with...the business model is very important, the rest falls into place once this is clear.
Take it step by step, and it is a fun exciting thrilling journey I found.
You are not alone at all with this quandary. I am a business coach for business owners, so of course I am biased towards accessing a business coach you know, like and trust. More on that in a minute, but I would also line up just as many mentors as you can with whom you can access advice, as well as to take advantage of the "free" services of SCORE.
One main difference between these entities and a business coach is that a coach stays beside you to make sure what needs to happen actually happens - they act as a business partner (not legally) with you to ensure your success. Avoid bringing on actual business partners, if you can.
Probably your biggest issue to start up is to generate good leads for your business. Assuming you are like most, with great knowledge of what you do but not necessarily great marketing knowledge, you should hire someone to help if you can afford it. If you need to do things on your own to start, I highly recommend you listen closely to this video: http://bit.ly/MarketingHasChanged. It will provide you with the all-important fundamentals to create great qualifying leads.
Let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance. Good luck.
I think you need to find an advisory board of people who are experts in all that you are not. Of course, you will need to develop a business plan first so that you can learn more about all that is involved in starting and managing a profitable business. An essential part of that plan is a break-even analysis for the first year of your business so that you can clearly see how much you have to sell to recover your start-up and operating costs before earning a profit. If you don't think you can sell enough then obviously you are going to lose money - can you afford it?
First develop a business plan, then a mission and vision statement, then understand your own strengths and weaknesses and hire people that will help my fill the voids and complete your business plan...Sounds like you think outside in, so find someone or people who thank inside out...
You need an seasoned CEO / President, who understands running a business, specifically an understanding of customer service, operations, business development, management, accounting, etc., and hopefully very knowledgeable of the specifics of what you do and your industry. The three top traits I would look for in an experienced business leader would be...1) Strategic Focus, can immediately figure out where the business has been and where it is going, one that can create a proven program to manage product / service development, customer relationships, and intellectual property, creating appropriate barriers to current and future competition.
2) Confidence, someone who can identify, develop, and clearly communicate a cohesive description of the business, it’s buyers, it's solutions, and it’s outlook. Many CEOs find it natural to be passionate about their / your business and it’s value. Their confidence, however, needs to extend to being persuasive when discussing their outlook for the business, innovation, product, and market. More important, also look for past financial results that support the CEO’s confidence.
3) Integrity, this trait more importantly involves applying a sense of “what’s right” in dealing with stakeholders fairly and transparently, including employees, customers, suppliers, etc. When a CEO manages a company with integrity and can command the same from his team, the business has the ability to operate at peak efficiency under the leadership of the CEO and the culture he or she has established.
Dave Cochran, Seattle, Cochran Edwards Capital Partners
Starting a business can be overwhelming! I would suggest you look into your local SBDC [Small Business Development Center] they provide a plethora of guidance with workshops, some free consulting, and great connections! Make an appointment with them ASAP!
Also, from my expertise in branding - take a good look at what 'position' your business will hold in the minds of your markets and then establish your brand to 'speak' to that audience with that particular position. There is so much thought you can put into your new business brand that will help create the power of consistency, distinction, and engagement with your customers. You are the brand of your business. Take the time to flesh out what your brand stands for, what its "personality" will be, what makes it different. All these pieces are a part of your success puzzle.
To your brand's elevation,
Suzanne Tulien, Author, Speaker, Consultant
Find someone to be your sales & marketing "partner" (or hire.) Be sure they are already successful in creating and maintaining a lead/conversion pipeline.
Stay focused on what you do best and don't bog down on becoming things you aren't - most startups fail in this process and wash-out due to overload.
In my experience. you should look for people who has a love and passion about the job you are offering as much as possible same profession you have