What's In A Name? Written by Chuck and Sue DeFiore
Once you decide to start your own business you need to give it a name. Your business name should describe what you do. If this is not possible, for example, one you come up with is already taken; you can use your own name with a tag line. For example, DeFiore Enterprises, Lease Purchase Consultants.
Our best advise is to come up with several names, test them out on friends and family before you even do a name search. Once you have narrowed it down to 1 to 3 names then do your name search. Remember, if you decide to become a corporation you will need to search corporate records also. Check with your local County Clerk's office.
Zoning and Licensing
Unlike many years ago when starting a home-based business was very novel, and in many areas of country there were many restrictions; today is different. However, depending on kind of business you are going to operate you should check your local zoning and licensing requirements. The county section of your yellow pages is place to start.
Sole Proprietorship, Incorporation or LLC
You want to choose a legal framework that best suits your business needs. What this means is are you going into business alone or with others, and in what capacity. There is no universal right choice. Check out all options and then decide which best suits your needs.
One of biggest concerns will be who will be held liable for any financial obligations business incurs. Owners of sole proprietorships and partnerships, for example, are personally liable for all debts of company. This means that if business has financial problems or if a lawsuit is filed against it, owner's personal assets - including home, car, and bank accounts, may be in jeopardy. In contrast, corporations and limited liability companies provide most protection for their owners, only money invested in business is lost, not personal property of owners.
Realistic Goals...How To Set Them and WhyWritten by Chuck and Sue DeFiore
So many people want to start a business today and be rich tomorrow. Sorry, people it doesn't happen that way. If it did, everyone would do it. There is no free lunch...it takes hard work, determination and realistic goal setting.
Think about businesses you have worked at, look at businesses in your community. I mean really look. When you go to dry cleaners, how many other people are there also. Think about what it takes for that dry cleaner to open every day. How many people he needs to come in with their dry cleaning in order to make a profit. OK, dry cleaning doesn't excite you. How about that specialty shop you want to open! You want to open a retail store that caters to people that buy Hummels, knick knacs, bric-a-brac. Will you only handle certain types? How many will you order of each type? What are best sellers? How many will you have to sell to make money for yourself, and to also keep that shop open, or will you sell them by mail order only from your home?
Want to do business on web? The same principles apply. How many visitors to your web site do you need to make a sale? How do you get them to visit? How do you get them to stay? You get idea. You need goals in order to measure any progress in your business.
Realistic goals come from a well thought out mission statement, which leads to a very good business plan, which leads to a well thought out marketing strategy. You should have short and long term goals. The short term goals will cover upcoming 6 months to 2 years. Your long term goals will go further out, let's say over next five years. Remember, you need to give a business at least two years in order to give it a real chance. Not all businesses make a gigantic profit immediately.
Let's say you want to start a house cleaning business. Your initial plan is to work it yourself, and add independent contractors as needed. You decide on your mission statement, you make up your business plan. You want to make $500 per week, working six days per week, 10 hour days. Your marketing will include advertising in your local paper, flyers, and mailers. You can clean 3 houses/apartments per day at $25-$50. You also have to decide your price points, what will you charge for a 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, or a house with 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, etc. After all this is done you can better determine how many of each type you will need each week to meet you goal of $500 per week. These are your short term realistic goals. Your long term goals are to eventually hire independent contractors to do work. Obviously, more clients you market for, more independent contractors you need, but also more income you can generate. You will make up long term goals for third, fourth, and fifth years of how many independent contractors you want to add and how many clients you want. Your marketing plan will reflect what you need to do to get numbers you are projecting.