Posted by Buzzman72 on October 07, 2012 at 07:15:51 from (184.108.40.206):
In Reply to: Eleven words... posted by Lanse on October 06, 2012 at 15:18:41:
Like all the others, I'm going to add my congratulations. Like most of the others, I'm going to encourage you...but only to a degree.
When I was a kid, my dad and grand-dad ran a business. In the 1940's and early 1950's they had a dealership selling IH trucks, tractors and appliances, and Hudson and AMC autos. Supposedly, the business was a partnership; in truth, Dad had virtually no say in the operation of the business until Grand-dad passed away. Grand-dad managed to take a thriving business in the '40's and '50's with several employees, and turn it into a one-horse operation doing only farm equipment parts and service...all because he "got tired," and wouldn't allow Dad a larger role in managing the business. He let the truck franchise go in '53...sold his last new cars in 1959...and in 1961 moved the business to a building 1/3 its former size. NO, there never was a year when the business lost money; and in the mid-1950's, they were doing gross sales of $250,000+ a year...not great by today's standards, but for the time frame, it was pretty decent.
My intention in telling that story is not to trash my grand-dad's skills as a businessman, but to serve you with this cautionary note: not everyone is cut out to run and manage a business. For dealing with farmers, "closing time" was a mere formality; nights, Sundays and holidays often found someone knocking on the door at home, looking for help with a broken part that needed either welding or replacing. And no matter how late you were up the night before, or how sick you felt, SOMEBODY has to be BE THERE to open the doors every morning ON TIME, EVERY DAY you say you're going to be open.
And then there's the accounting part of the business. If you decide to open a business, you need to know that, at the end of the day, your bills get paid FIRST...and YOU get paid LAST. You don't just have to pay for materials; there's also rent, property taxes if you own your building, repairs and maintenance, utilities, insurance [VERY important in this sue-happy society in which we live], along with paying for NEW tools and equipment as you go along and things wear out, break, or if new technologies make the old stuff obsolete. THEN, after all THAT, YOU get paid.
BUT WAIT...when you pay YOU, you also have to pay BOTH the employer's AND the employee's portion of Social Security taxes...plus income taxes. And as a business owner, you are also responsible for paying the BUSINESS' income taxes as well. [I won't go into LLC vs. sole proprietorship; whole books have been written on that subject alone...just suffice it to say that it won't hurt to get some quality legal advice on THAT aspect as well before you ever open your doors.]
BUT...AFTER all that is taken care of...you now have a business; how do you get customers in the door? Yet another expense. Customers have to not only KNOW you're in business, but they must WANT or NEED to bring their business to YOU. Just KNOWING you're in business isn't enough; you need to make sure you're the FIRST business they thing of for a particular product or service. Marketing people use the term "TOMA," or "Top-Of-Mind Awareness" of your business. As a NEW business, you don't HAVE a widespread reputation. THAT comes slowly. So you have to be creative in making people aware of what you do, and the quality of your work. For a welding shop, perhaps having a unique sign, one you made yourself that demonstrates your craftsmanship and quality, might help. BUT...you also have to be aware of the LAWS and ORDINANCES in your area governing signs for businesses, and make sure yours is in compliance.
These are but a FEW examples of the challenges you'll see even THINKING of running your own business. The personal examples that came from my family's business explains how I ended up inheriting a lot of worn-out tools and "custody" of a run-down building, and some obsolete plow parts for inventory in what was once a thriving business. I'm sure that if Grand-dad would have been AWARE of the pitfalls, he'd have likely avoided many of them. But he was basically a mechanic/welder, and not a businessman by nature. Dad was more of a businessman by nature, but wasn't allowed to actually run the business until there effectively wasn't any business to run.
I see a lot of my grand-dad's best qualities in you, Lanse. I want to see you succeed. BUT I also think that the BEST thing you could do is to work for someone else, and get to understand the expectations placed upon the employee...because, even when you OWN the business, you have to be able to deliver on the expectations that are on the back of the employee as well. When I was employed as a successful parts manager, some of the BEST parts of my management techniques I learned from some of the WORST managers I ever worked for. When you work for the other guy, you gain a perspective on what works...and what doesn't...and the risk is being taken by SOMEONE ELSE [the business owner, NOT YOU.] Better to learn those hard lessons at someone else's expense, I always say; it's a lot cheaper.
My friend Dave was a gifted small engine mechanic...chain saws, mowers, motorcycles...and eventually he opened his own shop. But Dave wasn't a businessman, and Dave's Small Engines closed its doors in less than a year, leaving both Dave and his investor poorer but wiser.
Don't be like Dave, Lanse. Besides the working experience, get some business training--and learn some self-discipline about money [yours AND the business's money--and ALWAYS keep the two separate!] before you even THINK about hanging out your shingle and opening to the public.
Free advice, and worth every cent it cost YOU. [To the folks I gleaned that advice from, it WASN'T free...or even cheap. They paid DEARLY...so please BENEFIT from what THEY paid, so YOU don't HAVE to.]
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