Books on Opening a business?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 28, 2013 2:33 AM GMT
    Does anyone know of any good reads on opening a business? More specifically I want to open my own exercise studio. I want to read on the initial steps one takes to register a business etc.....
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    Jan 28, 2013 1:37 PM GMT
    Aggieboy saidDoes anyone know of any good reads on opening a business? More specifically I want to open my own exercise studio. I want to read on the initial steps one takes to register a business etc.....


    For any business I'd highly recommend going through the udacity course from Steve Blank - (it's free)
    https://www.udacity.com/course/ep245

    While you're starting a fairly conventional business (vs Steve Blank whose course is geared more towards tech startups), I think it's still useful for you because it will still make you think about how you can differentiate yourself sustainably from your competition and how to attract clients and whether or not your ideas are reasonable.

    It goes through step by step on a business idea/model validation. As for the specifics locally, most major cities have economic development offices or business support offices that also offer the details on how to get set up - here's the one for Houston:
    http://www.houstontx.gov/hbsc/index.html
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    Jan 28, 2013 5:15 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Aggieboy saidDoes anyone know of any good reads on opening a business? More specifically I want to open my own exercise studio. I want to read on the initial steps one takes to register a business etc.....


    For any business I'd highly recommend going through the udacity course from Steve Blank - (it's free)
    https://www.udacity.com/course/ep245

    While you're starting a fairly conventional business (vs Steve Blank whose course is geared more towards tech startups), I think it's still useful for you because it will still make you think about how you can differentiate yourself sustainably from your competition and how to attract clients and whether or not your ideas are reasonable.

    It goes through step by step on a business idea/model validation. As for the specifics locally, most major cities have economic development offices or business support offices that also offer the details on how to get set up - here's the one for Houston:
    http://www.houstontx.gov/hbsc/index.html


    Aggie-- You owe Riddler. This is perfect advice. I was a commercial banker for my career and sat on the Boards of several of these Economic Development authorities. They won't generally try to validate your business idea, but what they can do (if you get a good one so if you don't get a good one ask for a review by someone else) is help you project forward to determine if you have enough working capital (free cash) to support your venture while it gets going. Trust me, you've got to be conservative in your revenue projections and excessive in your expense projections because nothing NOTHING will go exactly the way and in the time frame you plan. I used to tell my commercial lenders when looking at a start-up business to remember that no businessman will present the bank with a projection that shows the business going bankrupt. But that if the business doesn't have enough start-up cash to make it to profitability in a reasonable time frame, it surely will. And in that event, you, the owner, will have lost all your savings and be in debt. Most start up businesses spend more time on decorating the store than doing financial planning. Spend a lot of time doing the analysis. Owning a business requires it and usually it is the part the owner hates doing the most. But ya gotta do it!
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 28, 2013 5:30 PM GMT
    Good input, but I'd also suggest that you check out your competitors, know what you want to do with your business and who you want to attract. Develop a marketing plan and strategy. I know I did with my firm and would have sunk without it. Too many people open businesses and just think blank advertising will bring people in. Prudent, diligent planning is also very important to your initial success.... and working your butt off.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 28, 2013 5:36 PM GMT
    Start with a business plan. Check out http://www.sba.gov for funding advice.

    They would require one if you decide to get a loan from them.

    It's fairly simple to create.

    http://www.sba.gov/business-plan/1
  • TR_Latitude10

    Posts: 206

    Jan 28, 2013 5:47 PM GMT
    Hire a good accountant to help you make sure all the various tax forms are completed correctly. There's quite a few!
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    Jan 28, 2013 9:47 PM GMT
    A big city like Houston probably has more than one free or low-cost business development centers that you can go to for free advice and referals. The rules for your area may differ from other places, and a local services will help you do things right for where you live.
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    Jan 28, 2013 10:56 PM GMT
    Aggieboy

    I am a Sr Business Advisor with a national non-profit organization, specializing in start-ups and business planning/plans.

    Some great sites for business start-ups.

    www.garage.com

    www.kauffman.org

    www.entrepreneurship.org

    www.feld.com

    www.eventuring.com

    www.hcp.com

    www.sequoiacap.com

    Each state has a Small Business Development Center.....http://www.nysbdc.org for New York

    Make an appointment with the SBDC...no cost expert advice.

    SCORE is another option.

    Ernst & Young has a great business plan pdf guide. If you cant find it via google, shoot me an email and I will send it along.

    Do not use a business plan software package like Business Plan Pro or Palo Alto Software....they are overkill and generic.

    Google HBS Business Plan ( Harvard Business School) and you will get a lot of resources to help as well.

    Feel free to email me directly and I will help you as much as I can.






  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 29, 2013 1:23 AM GMT
    Opening a business is a good way to lose all of your money and fuck up your life for decades. But that was just my experience. Let's talk about what you had in mind. I might save you the same grief.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 29, 2013 2:47 AM GMT
    You need to talk to a competent corporate attorney, particularly someone who specializes in advising/representing startups.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 29, 2013 3:02 AM GMT
    What everyone else has said is pretty good advice. My two cents would be to avoid any of the advertised "incorporation companies" which offer to incorporate you and register you with your state for really high fees. You can do most of what they charge you for on your own with some basic information.

    Also, get a good accountant or learn how to use Quickbooks or Quicken because you need to be able to budget and keep cash flow under control.
  • istw

    Posts: 20

    Jan 29, 2013 3:10 AM GMT
    Buy a book
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    Jan 29, 2013 3:11 AM GMT
    All good points, and one more ....interview small business lawyers as well, you need to know the liability of starting a small business and to protect yourself from any liability from any potential customers that might sue you. Therefore, the business itself will be a 'living entity' that should have different assest from your own, in this matter when they sue you, they are suing the business and not your personal assets...so you will need to invest in General Liability insurance, etc.
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Jan 29, 2013 3:54 AM GMT
    University of Houston Small Business Development Center

    http://www.sbdc.uh.edu/sbdc/default.asp


    The workshop on 2/6 is titled "Do You Have What It Takes to Start a Business?"

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    Jan 29, 2013 4:00 AM GMT
    Aggieboy saidDoes anyone know of any good reads on opening a business? More specifically I want to open my own exercise studio. I want to read on the initial steps one takes to register a business etc.....


    I am currently teaching a class on this. I would suggest you visit the small business administration website, too.

    www.sba.gov

    They have tons of resources and a sample business plan template. I would also consider finding out where the local SBA office is in your area and get an SBA counselor to help you. It's a government agency and should be a free service. You may have to pay for some research information along the way - like population statistics.

    Remember that filling out a business plan isn't something that you spend a couple of hours doing and then go to the bank, there are a lot of factors that need to be researched and planned out. The SBA counselor can help you navigate through that. If you are a college student, you might also visit the business department of your college. They also probably offer a class similar to what I'm teaching and could direct you to someone who could mentor or counsel you on making your plan.

    I've looked at tons of books on the subject and while all of them have good information, none of them will be as good as someone working one on one with you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 06, 2013 9:55 PM GMT
    Wow. Thanks guys for all this great advice. I will check those sites! And some of you might be getting some emails from me soon!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 06, 2013 9:56 PM GMT
    If anyone else has additional input please share icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 06, 2013 10:00 PM GMT
    Aggieboy saidIf anyone else has additional input please share icon_smile.gif


    This is one book that I'm about to read -
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/142218739X/

    I've read a number of interviews from the authors on their promotion circuit and it makes sense. The biggest problem in strategy is connecting it to day to day operations - and this offers some help in that regard.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 8:52 AM GMT
    Visit the Small Business Administration - http://www.sba.gov/

    Find out if there is a counselor locally that can assist you. You will need to create a business plan. This will take you a bit of time to put together properly.

    I actually found a website software that I'm using in my Small Business Management Class this semester that has made creating business plans for them MUCH easier. http://www.liveplan.com/

    Good luck!
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    Apr 07, 2013 11:01 AM GMT
    When using a business plan software/template be mindful that readers of business plans, the bankers, have seen that software/business plan template before.

    I read hundreds of plans and when I see a template I can tell which software/template it is and the plans always appear generic to me because its a template.

    You don't want your plan to appear generic.

    Use the template and tweak it to stand out and be effective, meaning it helps you make the decision to move forward with your business and presents a compelling argument to the banker.

    If you plan is generic and does not present a compelling argument you will probably be denied a loan by the bank.

    Most important...know your credit score.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 11:31 AM GMT
    Business school.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 12:46 PM GMT
    woofydude saidStart with a business plan. Check out http://www.sba.gov for funding advice.

    They would require one if you decide to get a loan from them.

    It's fairly simple to create.

    http://www.sba.gov/business-plan/1


    This.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 1:03 PM GMT
    Also think about your experience, expertise and contacts in the type of business. You may have experience as a fitness instructor...but running a studio will be more than this...
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    Apr 07, 2013 1:09 PM GMT
    huhwhat saidBusiness school.


    I somewhat disagree. Business school is not necessary to start a successful small business.

    Business school can certainly be a valuable experience which gives the graduate the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to be successful (at the very least employable), but I've started successful for-profit and nonprofit organizations without having gone to business school.

    At 47, business school is on my "bucket list" just because I think it would be fun to go and "wreck the curve" and be kind of like Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School".


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 2:00 PM GMT
    BiBoston saidWhen using a business plan software/template be mindful that readers of business plans, the bankers, have seen that software/business plan template before.

    I read hundreds of plans and when I see a template I can tell which software/template it is and the plans always appear generic to me because its a template.

    You don't want your plan to appear generic.

    Use the template and tweak it to stand out and be effective, meaning it helps you make the decision to move forward with your business and presents a compelling argument to the banker.

    If you plan is generic and does not present a compelling argument you will probably be denied a loan by the bank.

    Most important...know your credit score.


    This is what I like about the LivePlan software. I will not let my students turn in a canned plan. They have to write the sections. This software helps prompt the students on what questions they need to answer on the written sections. They still have to do all the writing. It really helps when it comes to building the pro-forma financial statements.