TAAC 9 Las Vegas, NVOctober 23, 2004 Starting Your Own Business Mark Steiner
Why should you start your own business? • Freedom • Being able to choose what you do when you get up in the morning • Flexibility • Ambition to succeed • Tired of your Boss, or a boss
Who should start their own business? • Traits • Self-starter • Plenty of determination and perseverance • Enjoy challenges • Dedication and structure • Niche of knowledge/skills • Project management skills • Know how to say “Yes” and how to say “No”
Who should start their own business? • Ten Abilities of Winners • An eye for opportunity • Independence • An appetite for hard work • Self-confidence • Discipline • Judgment • Ability to accept change • Make stress work for you • Need to achieve • Focus on profits
What does it take to get up and running? • A business plan • A reality check • A performance tool • A message sender • A motivation tool • A management development tool • A road map • Evidence of focus • Understanding of who your target customers are • An appreciation of investor or lender needs
What does it take to get up and running? • Get a good lawyer and accountant • Determine business type (For example: Sole Proprietor, Partnership, LLC, C Corp, S Corp.) • Acquire corporation status and any relevant business licenses • Cash Reserve • Equipment • Software • Taxes • Insurance • Subcontractors
What does it take to get up and running? • Processes and Documents • Contracts • Proposals • Statements of Work • Storyboards • White Papers • Sign-off Forms • Marketing Plans and Materials • Methodologies • Elevator speech • Client-base • Website, demos
How do you find and attract clients? • Think of all of the people that you know . . . • Your previous employer • Your previous clients • Professional organizations and communities • Local organizations • Professional orgs not directly related to training • Job websites • AWARE list
How do you retain clients? • Say What You Do - Do What You Say • Underpromise and overdeliver, don’t be too optimistic with estimates • Manage expectations • Successfully manage all essential project details • Make your clients’ problems your problems • Document and follow-up on everything
How much do you charge ? • You’re covering everything now: insurance, taxes, benefits, equipment, facilities, risk, downtime, continuing education, contracts, hiring/firing, sales/marketing • Charge what you’re worth, and what the project requirements dictate • Don’t lowball • Fixed Bid, or Time and Materials? • Responding to RFP’s
How do you bid work? • Cover all activities across all phases (ADDIE) • Clearly define roles on development and client teams • Clearly define all deliverables • Are there new tools / technologies / techniques being used? • Document all that you can, cover the rest with assumptions and constraints
How will you execute the projects? • Just you? You and a helper? You and a host of subcontractors? • Initiate appropriate review and sign-off’s throughout the project life cycle. Don’t move forward without sign-off’s. • Get an accurate and complete scope of work and contract. What is in the scope and what is not in scope? • Other documents: Non-disclosure form, sign-off forms, storyboards, scripts, etc. • What is the payment schedule? • What about warranty and support?
How will you stay current? • Conferences • User Groups • Books • Websites • News Groups and Lists
What will you miss? • All of the support functions of a mid/large company: • HR • IT • Accounting • Law • Sales • Marketing • Praise from co-workers and boss • General social interaction • Interaction professionally with a wide array of individuals • Predictability
What won’t you miss? • Forms, paperwork, etc. • A regimented schedule • Attending meetings that you don’t need/want to be at • Being nice to your boss (though everyone but God has a boss ;)
Any suggestions? • Don’t lie/cheat/steal • Don’t take work you can’t deliver • Treat everyone with respect • Strive for a work/life balance • Happiness is a personal daily choice
How could you possibly fail? • Inadequate cash reserves • Failure to clearly define and understand your market • Failure to price your product or service correctly • Failure to anticipate or react to competition, technology, or other changes in the marketplace • Overgeneralization • Overdependence on a single customer • Uncontrolled growth • Believing you can do everything yourself
What are some myths? • Woo Hoo! I’m gonna be rich!!!!!!!! • It’s going to be really, really easy! • Let’s get as big as we can as soon as we can! • The work and projects are just going to roll in.
What are key future considerations? • When to get office space? • When to try to grow? • How to ramp up sales? • How to stay current with knowledge, tool, technologies? • When to update/change service offerings?
Questions? • Questions and Answers • Contact Info Mark Steiner 3036 N. Leavitt Chicago, IL 60618 email@example.com (773) 392-7967