businesss , entrepreneurship ,...?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mathematics!, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    I am probably /eventually wanting to start my own business.

    I have read alot of things online but these subject are is not my specialty.

    So I was kind of wondering if their was any business majors out their that could point me to the best / most complete books / reading material so I don't screw up as much when starting my business.

    I have flipped thru a few entrepreneurship books but these all seem not very helpful or stuff that is pretty obvious. Seems these books are just what you would learn through experience in starting a business. And the best way to go about that is try it fail at it learn from it...

    But I was curious if anybody knew of a business/ entrepreneurship /marketing books that I should read before even takeing up the task of starting a business. Some kind of general knowledge that you would need or at least a book to test weather I had that knowledge or not.

    Sort of like an indicator if you should even try or if it would be more wise on studying more.

    Obviously the most important stuff to me would be cost , time , quality , location , behavioral psychology (for the marketing edge)/advertising even the business ethics and law would probably be very important to me.
    The typical stuff that every business owner would be interested in. I know alot of this stuff already but I was wondering if their is an indicator book on this stuff that could in the ready range to start a business.


    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  2. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    sit down with your financier and have an open and honest discussion. They'll let you know if your ready. Books are great references, but an experienced mentor is invaluable. Socialize/network with like minded individuals. Good luck
     
  3. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    The best way to be successful is to do something you love. This way, you'll be happy even while you're failing!

    BTW, 90% of all start-ups fail in the first year. Expect it to happen. Then, pick yourself up and start all over again.
     
    Eric007 likes this.
  4. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    OK, thanks for the tips.

    BTW, I am going to be my own accountant / financial guy or at least my friend that is going to be doing the business with me will.
    My friend has a CPA , and is really good with financial stuff.

    The only problem is knowing what the cheapest or best stuff to get for my business in all cases. I could buy the right stuff for all the possible things I need if I where an expert in
    every area. But I am not!

    For instance if somebody was good at marketing or selling. They wouldn't necessarily know what the best computer/electronic equipment should be for are business but they would know the best ways to attract are customers.

    So I am curious if their was a guide or methodology on the way of selecting the best quality /cheapest price...etc(balance) for a particular need in a logical way. Under the lack of knowledge of a particular subject .... i.e maximize gain while minimize lose/risk when buying products / resources / workers for your start up company ?

    Not necessarily all the workers will have everything I want... even going by their resumes. But in the event that we don't have an expert in a particular area. I would like to know how I can still boost up where my company is lacking or at least be able to step in an take up the lacking area....
    I know how to do risk analysis on particular subject areas but these risk analysis math based subjects can only work for particular subject areas.
    I was wondering if their was a more general theory out their that I could use as a formula to have everything flowing correctly on all levels of the business , marketing , accounting , technology , manufacturing , shipping/receiving ,..etc

    I know I can use risk analysis on subjects like health insurance /insurance , accounting stuff , but applying it to other subject areas that are harder to mathematically model exactly is not always possible or gives good predictions into the future.

    So I was kind of curious how people do risk analysis on those subjects or at least know what to predict under those subjects....
    Maybe the answer is the only method known is experience ... trial and error . But if their was other options I would like to know since I much rather not fail when my money is involved.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  5. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Some good advice would be to get a business relationship (in person) with someone who is already in business near you and who can help you with their real world experience.

    It's the same if you were learning electronics instead of learning business. If you have a friend who is an electronics expert to help you, you will be able to achieve so much more than just reading a heap of books on electronics, or doing a course.

    As a real example someone I knew opened their first shop, and wanted to put a sign on the footpath. Local council licensing was $1100 a year just to have that sign. He asked a friend who was a local shopkeeper of MANY years experience, who told him the council fine was about $400 and only IF his sign got caught. He had the shop AND sign for 15 years and never paid the license, never had a problem with local council and was exactly $16500 richer at the end. Real world experience like that just won't ever be learnt from a book or a business degree, and is the difference between the Donald Trumps and the poor guy who got an MBA and still struggles to get his business to make a profit.
     
  6. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    True, I guess that would be the same as a new guy moving into a particular new area.
    We won't know where the best food places are , where the stores with the lowest prices on items are ,...etc etc

    I just was wondering if their was a general strategy on optimizing your good outcomes and minimizing your bad outcomes under the assumption you are in-experienced ?

    Maybe the only options are either
    1) get a friend that has done it before and let him coach you thru (or at the very least take his input )

    2) travel around to various companies / business's and ask to talk to the creators if possible
    (take their advice , but be sure to not be blinded by their advice either)

    3) try , fail , pick yourself up and try again, until you get it (the experience of what works and what doesn't for you in your particular situation.


    If those are the only ways and I am not missing any political , economical , business / management master strategy then this is the only 3 options I am really going to have only. (no general math formula to predict the best strategy under ever case... but in some cases I can use it like risk analysis , probability ,..etc)

    I can say their is alot of choice/decisions to be made along the way and this I would believe is somewhat scary. I know I am a little nervous since I am not a person that likes to make tons of choices.

    Could you tell me how you where feeling when you first started your business and some of the mistakes you made which you wish you could have changed?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  7. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    S.C.O.R.E. at your public library or the Internet. Score is retired business

    men that the government pays to give you all the help to start a busines.

    A few years a go it was hard to get a business grant or loan,still is if you

    don't know something. The government now needs new jobs,small business

    creates jobs,they are ready to help,if you are ready.If you have cash you

    can still attend to learn what is needed to open a new business.

    Don't have partners,if they decide to sit you have to all the work

    and sue to get rid of them.

    Remember don't let all your business plan out,for some things let them

    find you to tell you ,you need it. At there finger tips they know what

    businesses are needed,what in your area,they have all the stats at

    there finger tips.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  8. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    I was going to get into the plasma T.V. and went around to a couple

    of shops.Offered to help take things apart and put them back together.

    I found that there business model was hotels and motels on the walls

    plasma T.V.'s. When fuel cost was high I offered to do service calls

    or replaced the unit with a spare. I went to few hotel and ask when

    there contracts ran out. If you got a contract you could buy 55 units

    lease 50 have 5 to use as replacement to take some pressure off.

    Also if you buy 55 with a lease,the brand would let you be a service station.

    You would then be on there service list in the area. You would need to

    know how to find framing studs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  9. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    Learning as much general knowledge about business as you can, beforehand, is certainly a prudent thing to do. Still, much business success has to do with seizing key opportunities. Hence, vision is more important knowledge. And an opportunity that presents itself is better than any plan made in the absence of special circumstances that give you a vision that others can't see. Effort spent climbing those special mountains that might give you the vision is likely a better use of your time. Like you say, much of the rest is common sense, and that stuff that is not common sense can be "hired", if you know what I mean.

    There is one key piece of advice that is critical, once you actually start your own business. That is, don't ever give up. No matter how bad things look, and no matter how hard it seems, do whatever needs to be done on a day-by-day basis and don't ever give up. Many of the most successful business people have hung by their finger nails on the cliff of failure, but they refused to give up. That's why we know their names. The names of the quitters are unknown to us. Every person that gave up, ultimately failed or killed themselves on the path of failure. Every person that never gave up, either succeeded, or died while on the path to success.
     
  10. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    thank you for the advice sound like I have to study a little more... then go out an start asking different peoples opinion on their business when they started it ...etc. And then just try my best and never give up when things get tough.

    I want to start here with asking some questions to guys/girls that have been thru opening a business and becoming successful with it.

    1) what was it like when you first started . your feelings scared , afraid , egar ,...?
    2) what do you think made your business successful and why?
    3) how much time and money and effort did you put in before it was successful?
    4) how long did it take to make the business successful ?
    5) how hard is it to keep your business successful ?
    6) what mistakes did you make along the way and what would you change in the process if you had to go back?
    7) what is your business in and how large is it.

    Please feel free anybody to enter this thread and elaborate on their business.
     
  11. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    No members have started business ?

    # 1 - You are so busy building your business you don't think about failure

    you are thinking about finding the next customer,and doing your work.

    Making your business presentable, signage,display is not every thing.

    You have to sell your self,you do that with recomendations

    # 5 - Change in economy-global economy ,just like today,except slower.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  12. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    1) what was it like when you first started . your feelings scared , afraid , egar ,...?

    When I was involved in business, I was young with no wife and no kids. My business partner was older with both wife and kids. He is an optimist, while I am a realist.

    He was eager and not scared because the idea of failure never entered his mind, even though the consequences of failure would be significant.

    I was eager and not scared because the consequence of failure were not significant and, in my mind, would be just a learning opportunity for making the next try.

    2) what do you think made your business successful and why?

    Vision, hard work and some luck.

    3) how much time and money and effort did you put in before it was successful?

    Very little actual money in, because we believed in bootstrapping. Never risk more than you can afford to loose; and, think creatively on how to fund a step by step approach to bootstrap the whole process. There came a point where we had to risk personal assets as collateral for a loan. Ordinarily, I'd advise against that, but at that point it was either do that or give up, and giving up is the one thing you can't do, once you start.

    Very much effort. Long days, nights and weeks working hard, but enjoying it too. If you don't enjoy the work, the whole enterprise is not worth the salt you sweat out. No amount of success and money can ever be worth your happiness, and realize that all the financial success in the world could be taken away from you by later circumstances. A well lived life can never be taken away from you.

    4) how long did it take to make the business successful ?

    How long is a piece of string? :D

    5) how hard is it to keep your business successful ?

    Constant effort as long as the doors are open, and you hold the keys. If at some point you want out of the "hard", then you sell what you've built. There's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you are ready for new and more interesting challenges.

    6) what mistakes did you make along the way and what would you change in the process if you had to go back?

    Made every mistake along the way, and would change nothing.

    7) what is your business in and how large is it.

    R&D/Technology start-up, leading to manufacturing products.

    Discussion of size is too personal for internet discussion. :p
     
  13. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    Thank you steveb appreciate the answers.


     
  14. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I've never started any *real* business, but my dad has, 3 times. I watched him, so I have an eye on the inside. My dad went bankrupt with the 1st 2. He gave it all he had until he didn't have anything left to give, and failed. He never gave up though, and the 3rd and last one prospered. He's doing alright now for the first time in his life. I would say (or I suspect he would say):
    1. Don't trust anybody; or at least, don't turn your back to them. My dad was taken advantage of by family & friends alike numerous times; in just general "behind the back" dealings, and outright physical stealing.
    2. Don't give up
    3. This one isn't a pearl of wisdom from my dad, but something I read elsewhere. They say that banks have a pretty good eye for the success of business, as that is their job. So, even if you have the money to start a business and have no intention of taking out a loan, go and apply for a business loan. The bank will interview you and ask you a bunch of tough questions; if you don't have good answers, that's a good indication that you aren't ready. If the bank won't approve you, it's probably not a good idea. Regroup, reformulate your plan, then go back and try again. When the bank thinks you're ready, you probably are. This info comes from before the banking crisis, so I'm not sure how it applies now.
     
  15. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Yes, there is a vitally important general strategy. If you are inexperienced and especially if inexperienced AND don't have tons of money, you need to minimise outgoing costs especially fixed costs.

    You are better off working from home or from a van, until decent money comes in then to open a shop with all the high fixed costs like rent, elec, wages, insurance, etc.

    And negotiate the heck out of deals, especially ones where you must make a commitment (like leases).

    Here's a real world example; in the mid '80's I opened a TV repair shop, which was a bit scary as it meant commiting to a shop lease and fixed costs. I found a shop that was new, in a place not great for retail but had good parking. The landlord wanted $250 a week rent and a fixed 3 year minimum. I negotiated hard and got the rent for $150 year1 $200 year2 and $250 year3. More importantly I insisted on a 3 month "get out" clause for year1 and 6 month clause for the other two years. So I would be able to get out of the lease if business was bad.

    At the same time an associate leased a shop in a nice mall, he was a video movie hire shop, his own business (not a franchise). He just signed the lease the mall gave him they called it their "standard lease". From the start was paying about $400 a week (ouch), plus lots of other costs for facilites and waste removal etc that the mall tacked on top.

    I had a deal with the guy that he sent me VCR repair customers, and I sent movie customers to him, and I saw him every couple of weeks or so.

    After a while a lady tripped on the mall stairs and sued them for big money. The mall could not charge shopowners the increased insurance (as that was the malls problem, not the shopowners). But the mall could charge for necessary improvements, so they resurfaced the all stairs, claimed it cost $30000(!) and hit all the shopowners for their share. My friend had to pay $2000 or so, and had no choice.

    If the lady had tripped on the stairs to my shop the landlord would have been sued as he owned 2 shosp with common stairs. I would not have been liable and my lease could not charge me for the landlords problem.

    We looked through my friends mall lease and it was a nightmare! They could add charges for anythign they liked, they could increase the rent at any time to adjust for "retail values and increase foot trade" which basically gave them open license to increase the rent anytime any amount they wanted. He just signed it, without negotiating or even getting a lawyer to check it out. Because it was the mall's "standard lease that everyone signs".

    Anyway after less than 2 years the mall was full, no empty shops, and they had doubled his rent basically to force out the cheaper shops. He could not pay $800 a week rent (plus all their other sneaky added costs) and he also could not get out of his lease, and was forced to pay the remaining 18 months rent even if he closed his business down!

    The sad fact is that he went bankrupt. Lost his business and all its assets, lost/sold his home and was generally pretty destroyed.

    Watch those fixed costs! Watch any long term commitments! Watch any agreements where the other party can change anything!
     
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  16. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    15 years ago, the wife and I started her home furnishing business. I no longer work with her, primarily because as a couple, we needed some seperation in our lives.

    I was excited, as I was ready for a change
    We listened to the wants/needs of our customers and adjusted our products and services to match.
    All of our time was devoted, even restless/sleepless nights. Our capital outlay was small, however we did relocate our young family at the time.
    Our business was an immediate success if you measure sales, but the volume made us prisoners. In our fifth year we restructered, and traded profits for personal time off.
    Not at all, if you know who to listen to, and who's blowin' smoke.
    Listen to smoke blowin' suppliers who promised big but couldn't deliver. Personally, I wouldn't go retail, not with a store front, it's a prison term.
    Home furnishings, sales volumes undisclosed.
     
  17. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    to add a couple of comments.

    - identify your target market. This will be the group that contributes to your profit line. Study thier capabilities (financial), thier wants/needs, and the media that you communicate with them. Once you create a relationship with them, they often show you new markets.

    - create and document a plan, including period targets. It helps answer the ever present question of 'is what I'm doing right now, the most benefical activity in reaching my goals'.

    - review your plan at least quarterly. If you need to adjust, be flexible. If it's becoming apparent that your choice was wrong, don't die a long death, bail out.

    - pay yourself first. If your plan doesn't expressly provide for your return, you've landed on 'go to jail'.

    - work yourself out of a job. Your plan should include a calculated withdrawl of your personal time. This allows you to persue alternative business, personal endevours, or simply retire.
     
  18. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I don't know where you pulled that quote from, but it's wrong. Obama never served in the military. Unless you want to point out the fact that the President is the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces, but that's putting the cart before the horse.
     
  19. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Thanks for the great post and I could not agree more on that point about NOT going retail.

    Especially in this internet age, where a retailer has to sell the item at $99 to pay his costs, but someone on ebay can work from home and sell the same item for $69.

    This is a massive problem for storefront retailers, people use their shops as showrooms, then go home and order the item off some guy on ebay. Many countries (like the US and Australia) are looking at new laws to try to stop this, although that is not going to be easy as customers have a right to buy from the cheap guy if they choose, and people have a right to advertise their products anywhere (including ebay). It is "capitalism" in its most important form.

    But storefront retailers are going broke all over the place, and even the concept of driving somewhere (to a mall) to buy things will eventually be questioned I think.

    Which means the big growth in retail over the next few decades will be in two areas; direct selling (probably using the internet) and of course in the related service industry that people miss; delivering the goods to people's homes.
     
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  20. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    well, strantor
    your right at first I thought he served... but he didn't...
    but the many purpose is their a person in power doesn't necessarily need to know stuff to be respected .... experience in actually being in combat gives you a perspective at looking at things in a way that people usually cann't do because they have never went thru it.


    Anyway about the ordering thru ebay effecting retail stores.
    I agree it will but I like the fact that I can easily go online and find the cheapest price and just have it shipped.
    I wouldn't want this to change even if it would be better for my retail business.

    I see retail stores becoming more of a demonstrative store ...on how to use something... set something up, build something ,...etc

    Retail store could even order for you.
    I believe you would still need some retail stores the "MAJOR ONES" like for food , entertainment , local stuff that people like to or would rather do on a more personal/self level.

    Different strokes for different folks I knew somebody that hated ordering flowers (i.e 1-800-flowers ...) They would always rather go down and look and pick out the flowers regardless of weather the prices where a little hire.

    So some factors come in convince , personal (wanting to do it the old fashion way) , liking the atmosphere it is fun to go to a store and look at / play with all kinds of different stuff...
    I would be hard pressed to get the same affect from an online store, (no touch , taste , smell ,...etc)

    This just implies that marketers have to get a little better with getting people to want to go to the store as opposed to an online store to buy.
    No different then people go to the movies or renting a movie....

    I respect online business like amazon, ebay ,...etc these where truely remarkable ideas and they are great and if they for some reason put out local business then so be it. Evolution is what matters if it betters man kind to go all online then so be it... but I think you will find in the future...
    It will take some customers but not as many as you may think.... with the way programmers complicate their web interfaces it some times makes it a pain to figure out how to do something on a site or reverse an add item ,...etc. So that could be hassle enough to deter the non-computer guy....
    plus when your at a store that isn't to crowded you have the ability to ask alot of questions and for them to demonstrate in person...

    And who can fully trust something online it may not be fully what it seems to be. At a store you can observe it better hears , eyes , nose , reading , asking questions ,...etc (love to see a non-technical guy be some electronics devices easily with out tons of research)
    When your at the store you can speed up the learning process with hands on experience.

     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
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