Ah labor day, what a great day to learn how to start a business. Everytime I’ve ever thought, “gee, I should start a business” I’ve had a great deal of difficulty getting started. All of the information on the subject seems to be from folks who have done it so many times that they leave out details that feel important to me. There seems all of this information on how to start a business but its all like, “Decide what to do”, “Do market research”, and then there’s like one little note on the actual legal process of starting a business. In this series I’m going to start an actual business. It’ll be a dummy business. We’re going to actually detail the whole process. I’m going to base the series off of the SBA’s 10 step plan.
Step 1: Write a business plan
A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues. -From SBA’s website
Before starting a business you should probably sit down with an excel spreadsheet and start making conservative assumptions about costs. Make sure that you’d actually make money with conservative assumptions. Preferably start with a business that doesn’t have any start up costs. This seems to be the safest approach. For example, I do a lot of tutoring as a contractor through WyzAnt.com. For this series I’ll be starting my own tutoring business. For such a simple business going through this whole process is probably unnecessary, but the real point here is to learn.
Sample Business Plan
The one paragraph business plan: “Quantum Tutor” (working title) will be a business which specializes in tutoring upper division physics students in their courses. The knowledge required is very specialized and there are few available tutors with the requisite training. I will therefore charge a premium to typical tutoring services ~$50 per hour. This will be a small side-gig and I expect to do no more than ~5 hours a week of tutoring. Therefore the expected revenue in the first year is $12,500 at maximum.
If I needed investors, which I don’t, this would be my “elevator pitch”. Simple, straightforward and enough to get started.
Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training
The SBA website has a bunch of free training and counselling services. Between now and Wednesday I plan on taking the “Legal requirements for small businesses course” and the “Customer Service” course. Both are available on the website under step #2. Both are expected to take 30 minutes. Go ahead and find some courses that interest you and start working on them, and maybe between all of us we can cobble some useful knowledge together.