Starting Your Business Right: How to Open a Successful Business

Getting from Outstanding Idea to Opening Day

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Jeanne Goulet, Senior Consultant, Marks Paneth & Shron LLP Robert Wyker: Sometimes it also means bringing along somebody as a partner who you can work with who’s got the skills that you don’t have…

Joseph McCoy: …To complement each other.

Jeanne Goulet: I think that’s right. There’s a big chasm you have to cross between starting a product and starting a business. One of the aspects of that chasm in the tax and accounting area, for example, [is that] many entrepreneurs feel that if they have losses at the beginning, they don’t need to bother filing. That is a big mistake. Secondly, there is a sales tax that has to be collected, and if you do not collect it, then you become personally liable for the sales tax. There are many other areas.

Susan Corcoran: So often individuals are misclassified as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees. Once entrepreneurs start utilizing other individuals, they start getting into employment-related concerns. They need to be prepared to interview. There are just so many things that you want in place, and yes, you need other individuals—whether it is a consultant or another owner or whoever—who are the right persons to oversee that part of the business because the owner may not necessarily have the right skills.

Robert Wyker: And even if he can do it, it is sometimes better not to do it because that is really not what he’s got to offer. If you can get the help outside and you can focus on what you and only you can do, you are a lot better off than [if you were] trying to do it all. I want to go back to what Michael Rao was talking about earlier, which is, ‘Who are you as an individual and what can you do?’ One of the things we try to stress is that, if you are going to run your own business, forget about hours. Now you are going to be working twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day—six, seven days a week at times—in order to try and make this thing work. So you have got to have the willingness to do that. If you think you are going to do this on a 9-to-5 basis, forget it.

Carolyn Mandelker: When you are a business owner, it is not just your own life. You have a conscience. You are actually responsible for putting bread on the table of the people who work for you, and that is an added layer of responsibility many entrepreneurs don’t even really think about, because, until you are in that position, you don’t think about it.

Robert Schork: Well, assuming that Harry has clarified his business plan and his niche, now he has to establish the business itself. What’s next? Financing? HR?

Robert Wyker: If he’s got a business plan, part of that plan is going to show him how much money he needs from a startup point of view and how much money he is going to need on a continuing basis. From that, he can start to say, ‘Well, have I got it? If I haven’t got it, how am I going to raise it?’

Carolyn Mandelker: Anything that he is going to want to develop—his product, his marketing, whether he needs an accountant or an attorney—he must be properly capitalized.



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