Planning Ahead - October 29, 2008

Some tips for starting a new business

Bob CondronOctober 29, 2008 

Bob Condron, CFP, MSFS, is a registered representative of Bridge Financial Partners. He can be reached at 548-8875 or bcondron@bridgefp.com. Judy Pinner, president of Preferred Billing & Management Services, contributed to this column. She can be reached at 329-6570 or pinnerj@navacore.net.

So you want to start a new business? You have an idea that will make millions or you saw an infomercial on TV and if those people can make it so can you. No more punching a clock or having a boss. No more 40-hour work week. The dress code will be golf shirts and shorts.

All business meetings will be held at the country club.

Starting your own business sounds like a great idea but it is not easy. Pick a business where you have some knowledge of the operation for ease of transition. For example, don't try to open a restaurant if your only experience is dining out. The more you know about your new venture, the greater the success rate. For most new businesses, it takes planning, money, hard work and the support of family and friends. Without taking a risk, the world may never know what great idea or business you have been working on.

There are many organizations with information for small businesses. National resources include the U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov), the Service Corp of Retired Executives and the Women's Business Centers.

There are also local programs designed to help you plan your small business. The York County Regional Chamber of Commerce has recently started a Small Business Council. York Technical College has the Entrepreneur's Program with quarterly meetings and specially designed classes. Winthrop University, along with several other major South Carolina Universities, operates Small Business Development Center of South Carolina which was established in 1978.

One of the most common reasons for the failure of a new business is underfunding. It is important to know how long can you operate without a paycheck.

The credit crisis we have been experiencing has reduced or eliminated some funding sources that may have been available in the past.

If you are going to ask for money, you need to have a solid business plan based upon realistic and substantiated data.

You do not have to figure this all out on your own. Your financial, tax and legal advisors may be able to save you lots of headaches. Decisions will include: "Do I pick the S-Corporation or LLC or is another entity right for me? "How do I register with the state?" "Do I need a tax ID and where do I go for that?" "What about benefits?"

Along with the other resources listed above, your advisors can cut through a lot of research for you and steer you in the right direction.

The expense for this assistance will be well worth the savings in time and lost productivity.

There are many risks and obstacles you will have to overcome to reach success in any new business, but that success can be both personally and financially rewarding.

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