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TAAC 9 Las Vegas, NV October 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org (773) 392-7967