Author Topic: Starting a business, advice and ideas?  (Read 3592 times)

windawake

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Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« on: June 16, 2014, 09:43:36 AM »
I'm about to complete my final project for my master's degree in public health with a major of community health promotion. I'm currently working in the quality department of a large healthcare organization doing project coordination. It's alright, but I really want to be doing health promotion, and I also would really like to work for myself.

My specific interests are in general health and wellness. Things that fit with my interests and I think could work as a business idea include changing the built environment/policy to promote walking/biking, developing evidence-based health promotion programs to implement in workplace or academic settings, and evaluating health-promotion programming that is already in place.

I don't know the first thing about starting a business, so was wondering if some of you who have started businesses/side projects/or consulting could give me some advice as to how you got started. Other questions I have include: how do I research these ideas appropriately to find out if there is a market? What kind of experience do I need in the field to become credible? What should I expect if I do go down this route? What do I need to know?

Thanks!

MarciaB

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2014, 10:07:03 AM »
Run, don't walk! to your nearest Small Business Development Center (http://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc) or SCORE chapter (http://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc). Much of this assistance is FREE. Get some good help (again, at no cost) and plan carefully.

The world needs the business you are wanting to develop, and you owe it to them and to yourself to build a sustainable one. Good luck!

Sparafusile

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014, 10:36:14 AM »
Came in to recommend SCORE. Looks like I'm not needed here.

Also, don't think about starting your own business as "working for yourself". You're working for whoever pays you, whether you're an hourly employee or CEO of your own business.

Weedy Acres

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 09:09:31 AM »
+3 for SCORE.  I still meet with my counselors 4+ years after launching my business.

KBecks2

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 08:37:15 AM »
This summer I am reading the book the E myth. It is about managing your own business and it's very highly recommended. I suggest you read it before you begin.

zarfus

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2014, 10:38:19 AM »
Came in to recommend E myth. Looks like I'm not needed here.

mozar

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 09:26:56 PM »
My advice is once you have an idea just start it. The best way to find out if there is a market is to sell it. Come up with a product or consulting idea, ask people you know to buy it. It's easy to get stuck in the researching, printing business cards stage, the best way to start is to do it, the best way to become credible is to do it. As you go along you can google things like product pricing/ consulting rates, business plans, websites, accounting software, etc.
Also having confidence in yourself and idea is important.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 01:19:20 PM »
File your own LLC paperwork. I just created an LLC and it's pretty simple, deciding what state to create in was the only real question mark. I'd asked around, and some people pay huge fees to get someone to "do the paperwork" for them.

SwordGuy

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2014, 02:02:11 PM »
Have way more cash on hand than you think you will need.  No, more.  Really.

Closing the sale is way harder than you think it should be.

Closing the sale is even harder than that.

Yep, even harder.

Don't go way into hock to run that business.  Decide how much you can afford to lose and make damn sure you don't go beyond that point.  Even better, run it on the side using positive cashflow your day job makes until it takes off.

BlueHouse

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Re: Starting a business, advice and ideas?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2014, 04:21:59 PM »
Here are a few things that helped me.

1.  Find a small business that does something like you want to do and go work for them.  Be a great employee and learn everything you can about what they do that makes them successful and what they do that hinders them.  In a small business you'll be able to learn many different aspects of business. 
2.  I didn't know about Score, but I used a small business program near me too.  Procurement Technical Assistance Center at George Mason.  Affiliated with SBA and everything was free or cheap. 
3.  Go to industry events and volunteer for organizations that can help you meet people that can make decisions that will help your business later.  This is networking. 
4.  Ask for help, but only accept it from people who know what they're talking about. 

Good luck.  It takes a little luck and a lot of persistence