The Decision

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There is a point in all entrepreneurs careers when they have to make the decision to sign on the dotted line and commit fully to their venture. Well that decision is right around the corner for me, and will be a decision I have to make within the next couple of months. When thinking about your venture, well more like obsessing, you only tend to look at the goods. You think how much money current businesses in the market make a year, the amount of clients they have, and the number of services they perform. These are all generally good things that lead to profit and success so its easy to get wrapped around them. It takes a talk with a specific someone to get your head back on straight, and that’s with your family, specifically your mother.

After thinking of ways I can make money with this business, expanding services, adding different types of customers, offering deals, it wasn’t until a phone call from my mom to get me to realize I am still a young immature entrepreneur. A quick call points out topics such as weather and seasonal issues with the business, overhead costs, partner agreements, and what is my exit strategy. Where I was caught looking at only the positives it took a phone call from my mom to get me back in my lane focused on my new problems that need to be overcome to be successful. I’m not saying my mom convinced me not to go with my business idea, she just pointed me in a realistic direction I hadn’t considered yet, and honestly her words of wisdom will help me perfect my business plan and will shed light on areas I haven’t covered yet.

With this comes revisions to my current business plan, which will only make it stronger. Although she did have valid points, she forgot that this business can be sold by word of mouth. Where the times might be running slow with little customers, in this business all it takes is a phone call to some known clients and some deals to get your business back booming in the times its usually doesn’t. This has also brought my attention to areas of the business that can be utilized to make tons of money that haven’t been used yet. Expanding services to boats is an idea I have, we could perform all the same services as we do on a car but this time it would be your boat that is spotless clean when its done at my shop. With corrections comes new ideas, and that’s what it means to be an entrepreneur. Finding the ways that work, to sell your product or services to the public who want/need them.

Business Partners

When starting to plan your own business, you have to take into consideration if a partnership would be smart and if it could benefit your business in a way you couldn’t do alone. When I think of business the idea of a business partner is one I do like, having to share the responsibility can make it easier on yourself as an owner, and takes away the half the risk. These reasons are enough for me to consider a business partner, although it has to be the right one.

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Business partners only work when they both offer something, or bring something to the table. First things first you never want to have a business partner with a garnished name, partnering with someone that people know for the wrong reasons never looks good for your business. When looking for a partner you should ask yourself some questions to make sure you have found the right one. You have to know everything about the person that your partnering with, family issues, if they are focused on the business, if they have financial trouble. You need to get to know the person in order to make a judgement on if they will cut it or not. Going back to making sure your partner brings something to the table, its honestly true. Whats the point of having a partner who doesn’t offer you anything besides cash. If you know the right people cash is easy to find, you need a partner who is as dedicated and in love with the business as much as you are. You don’t need to be supporting dead weight, if that’s the case you should get a larger loan to start a sole proprietorship, not waste your time with a partnership.

When you find the right partner and they offer something that makes your business unique or stronger than you have something special. If you can work together as a team, then you are on your way to success. However what do you do when a partnership goes south? Going to court is never a good option, do you offer to sell out or do you consider purchasing your partners shares? You should always have an exit plan, maybe save some of your salary for a “what if” account in case you do need to acquire the rest of the company. Or maybe you sell, and have a pay day to start a new venture. Partnerships are a fragile thing, you need to give each other space and respect, and have understanding when it doesn’t go your way. With that being said I do still think partnerships are crucial to being successful in business, and I will be pursuing a partner when I look to get my venture started.

 

Getting Started

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One thing all entrepreneurs face in the beginning stages of creating a venture is the business plan. A business plan tells your reader what your business is about, what you offer, and what you want. This is what brings home the business loans, and is what you show future investors. But where do you start? For me when I think of my venture I see the business plan in my head. Its neatly written in perfect order with sufficient detail and is lengthy in page numbers. This isn’t the case when I sit down to start writing though. Once I get to the computer to start typing, it seems like I can’t find the words, it doesn’t seem professional, or its just short of information.

So what can I do to fix this problem? I can take classes on how to write a business plan, I can Google business plans and try to copy one online however with my specific details, or I could pay a professional to create this plan. With these three options has come some research, classes aren’t offered during summer to write business plans so that is out the door, however ENT 492/493 do teach entrepreneurs how to make a business plans at UNR. Second would be go to the internet, with the internet its interesting because you have a perfect copy in front of you and its hard not to imitate it, you have totally lost all personal pieces of your writing when your using the same technique someone else already did. The last option is to have a professional create it, and its what I am leaning more towards. Having a professional create your business plan is interesting, it takes a couple meetings of talk and research before he can finally start your plan. It will cost between $1,500-3,000 after our meeting he will give me the quote. If I agree it will take him about a month, to do the proper research and to get the business plan created. By the end of the month the professional will present the plan to me and if I like it then I will accept it and will start taking it to investors. If there are problems with the plan than revisions will occur which are covered in the terms of agreement with the professional.

Although I am leaning towards having someone write my business plan who has written many successful business plans before. I feel lazy and almost like a cheat, like I said he has written hundreds of business plans for people in the past, and this is his own personal business/career, but does that make it right? If I didn’t create my own business plan, would the business be truly mine or should I thank my success to my “ghost writer”. The thought has been in the back of my mind for some time now, and its the last decision I will need to make before I am on my way.

Opportunities Knockin’

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Since I have started this blog I have had two ventures that I would be interested in pursuing in the back of my mind. The first is an tourist excursion I blogged about called Alaskan Adventure Excursions, and the second was a small food shack idea that would sell only authentic Alaskan treats to tourist during the tourist season. With both those ideas have come lots of thought and planning, fairly certain I would pursue one or the other after I graduated from school. After talking with my family about both possibilities I had their full support in whatever decision I made. The only difference between both ventures was price. One excursion would take a business loan around $200,000-500,000 while the other excursion would need a loan of about $50,000.

When I was going over my options its obvious that the business that would cost $200,000-500,000 is the least likely to happen. I don’t have a rich uncle off somewhere in the lower 48, and a business loan that size is kind of frightening. So I was set on the food shack idea, the overhead is low, its an authentic Alaskan treat sought after by tourist, it has a lot of potential. The shack would be a bagel shack that services Alaskan salmon and crab on the bagels. I could purchase my fish from local Taku Fisheries, which has the freshest salmon in the world. Getting ready to finish up with school I have planned to open my shack by tourist season 2016. So far my father and sister were on board to help me with the operations, my dad is a finance officer so he will be taking care of the financials and my sister came up with the idea so she is part owner. The plan is set, my sister will take bagel making classes in New York, I am creating the business plan to pitch to our investor, everything seemed to be going slowly but smoothly.

It wasn’t until a couple nights ago that I got a call from my dad with an opportunity that presented itself. Living in the small town of Juneau Alaska, business is minimal and there tons of opportunity to entering markets to compete with the leaders. My dads friend is working for his fathers business which is a car company, this company is the leader in its specific industry in our town and is very profitable. With money comes problems, the owners son who manages and runs the operation isn’t getting treated fairly and is interesting in starting a new operation. Looking for partnership he approached my dad, who automatically referred him to me. I have known about the company and its success for many years and have been interested in getting a job with them in the past. All this has happened pretty fast and I’m more than excited to pursue it.

Now I’m on the brink of starting my own operation with a partner who is respected and known around the community, I can’t help to feel immature about my actions. I had put so much time into the my first two ventures, one of which I completely scratched from the drawing board, only to drop everything again and start a new one. It feel like I’m not being loyal to myself, however when an opportunity like this presents itself I couldn’t imagine the amount of regret I would feel if I decided to pass it up. So if an opportunity presents itself, take it, a life of regret isn’t much of a life at all.

Making the Leap to Commitment

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As a young aspiring entrepreneur about to enter the real world, I am faced with this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach and a thought in my head asking me, when am I going to make the leap? The hardest part about being an entrepreneur I have found is committing 100% to your venture, or making the leap if you will. This is when you leave your full time job, with security, benefits and fair pay all behind to start on your own “American Dream.”

But how do you know when its the right time to leave? You could have a set goal for an amount of money you need before you’ll walk away from the job, or you could be fed up with your work and can’t take another day. When to leaves changes in all situations and differs between each individual.

So this brings me to the topic of when I should leave my secure job, to start my own business in the future. Being a college student for the past four years hasn’t exactly helped my bank account out at all. When I get back to Alaska I will have a secure job that I am good at, waiting for me. How long should I wait until I fully commit to starting my own business, I started to figure out exactly how long it will take by using the money method. If I need $75,000 dollars to get my business up and running then I will definitely need some money to put into the project, where I can still give it a sufficient amount of time and effort to get everything ready and prepare. A year of secure pay should start me on my way, although $75,000 is a lot of money, having a business partner with stellar credit should secure a business loan from the bank. A year of work is necessary in case there need to have cash up front, or if the venture will cost more than our loan.
So the plan looks like this, once I return to Alaska I will work for a year to save money and to complete my business plan and get all of my ducks in a row. Once I have some money saved I will leave work to start out on my own business. Leaving work will probably happen in the winter, since my job is slow by then. I must make sure everything is 100% complete or correctly planned before I quit my job, business plan, bank issues, property, equipment all must be taken care of. Once that is done I will respectfully quit, and will pursue my business. Although this is a rough draft of my plan, I felt like I needed to learn from other entrepreneurs when the right time to quit your job was so I searched the web.

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I came across an article in the blog Inc. about Shark Tanks, Daymond John and when he thinks entrepreneurs should quit their jobs. called discussing what he did when he left his day job to pursue his venture. To my surprise Daymond did the opposite, when he created FUBU a popular clothing brand he kept his job for years at Red Lobster so he wouldn’t jeopardize his entrepreneurial vision. Daymond stated that the worst part about owning a business is the stress, and its always stressful when you don’t have secure income coming in outside of your venture. He said to wait until your business is growing and selling itself then its time to quit your job. As I said before quitting your job to make the leap is the biggest decision and entrepreneur has to make, and its the only thing stopping them from success.

Call to Action: When would you quit your job to start your own business? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section.