Behind The Scenes of a Business Startup
Welcome to An Owner’s Guide for Your Life, the podcast that combines psychology, coaching, common sense, and fun. I’m Tracey Browning, an entrepreneur, life coach and lover of people. Now let’s talk about how to live, love, make money, and change the world.
Hey, I’m glad you’re here. This is my 50th episode. What a milestone to celebrate. And milestones are definitely worth celebrating. Research tells us only 25% of podcasters make it to their 10th episode. I’ve got five times as many episodes. Yay! Congratulations to me, Yay, Tracey, 50 episodes in your podcast.
All right. I’m particularly excited about what I want to talk about today. I want to share some behind the scenes happenings with my new business venture.
Now, I’m not keeping the lid on the name of the business just to build curiosity or some nefarious grand marketing scheme. No, my partners and I are just simply not in a place to publicly announce the details yet. But I CAN talk about what we’re doing to prepare. And that is so helpful if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here’s the nitty gritty details, the things going on that have to be taken care of before you launch a business.
So one reason I’m doing it is to be helpful to entrepreneurs and those who are thinking about it. The other reason is because this is really just a very good way to take snapshots, take pictures of our business, for our memories, because you know, when you’re going through something, you think, “Oh, this is so clear. I feel it so strongly. And I’ll look back on this and I’ll remember every detail.”
No, we won’t. We’ll get a year out and think what the world were we doing? Did we do this first? What happened then? It gets fuzzy. Our memories get blurred. We can’t come up with the details. So I really do want to be able to look back and remember certain things from my podcast episodes.
I’m a licensed mindset coach and I’m an experienced entrepreneur. Maybe not experienced in being able to say entrepreneur seamlessly, but there we go. I stumbled over it.
I opened a digital marketing agency over ten years ago with my husband. We’ve been involved in different businesses before and since. I coach entrepreneurs at start up and during the course of their business. So what I’m doing now, I’m just putting my experience and my knowledge into action in a different business venture.
Here’s where we are at the moment.
Our business has a name.
We are legally registered in the state of North Carolina. That was a milestone. We celebrated that.
We’ve got our EIN, which is kind of an important number for the IRS. So, yeah, you’ve got to have that.
We’ve got a business plan.
We’ve got a place of business.
We’ve met with accountants and bankers and insurance brokers and attorneys and suppliers. We meet a lot with each other, lots of meetings going on.
We’ve got a website domain with nothing on it, but that’s okay. It will come.
We’ve got a Lego. Lego, haha. I was looking at pictures of my kids when they were little looking at Legos earlier. So no, we do not have a Lego. We do, however, have a logo, which is a little more important for this business than a Lego. We’ve got a logo.
We have our business emails set up, so we are already using those as we’re dealing with folks.
The way we are set up, I am President of the company which sets us up to be eligible to be certified as a woman owned business, which can be pretty important when you go to deal with federal contracts. There’s a lot of perks and considerations with that. Now, getting those certifications for the minority and woman owned business, that’s not at the forefront of things on my list, but it is on the list. So it’s something to consider as you’re looking at. For some businesses, it’s not really important. For others, it can be an important thing. So when you go to look at how do you set up your business? That’s something to think about.
Agencies I’ve been in touch with here- it’s called the… what are the initials SBTDC? Small Business Technology and Development Center, I think it is, and the local Women’s Business Center. Both of these agencies are affiliated with the Small Business Administration here in the US. They’re really helpful. They’ve got some good resources if you are considering doing your thing on your own, they’re good resources I’ve used and I’ll link to it in the notes here.
I’ve used the Business Startup and Resource Guide to start your business in the state of North Carolina. It’s like a 60 page document now. It was last updated in 2017, so it’s not going to have Covid type updates, but it’s been really helpful.
Some of the sections have been helpful to me. I didn’t spend very much time at all on assessing myself as a potential business owner. I know what kind of business owner I am. I’ve got a lot of experience with that. But if you’ve never been an entrepreneur, here’s where you want to spend a good bit of time because it’s easy to dream and think, wouldn’t it be fabulous to be my own boss? I could just do my own thing. And that is not what entrepreneurship is really like.
You need to have discipline and initiative and clear thinking. And sure, all kinds of people who are undisciplined and have no initiative and don’t think clearly, they start businesses all the time, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be successful. So a successful entrepreneur will have discipline because it’s very, very different having to figure out and decide what needs to be done instead of just doing what someone tells you or responding to things. So it’s very different.
If you have not been a business owner before, I always recommend to spend a good bit of time doing some soul searching, evaluating yourself, honestly evaluating. Can I do this? Is it something I really want to do?
Other sections they have in the Resource Guide, they help you walk through determining how feasible your concept is. What’s your idea? Do some market research. Who are your competitors? If there aren’t competitors, why not? Is it a really bad idea? Nobody wants to do it. You might not have competitors then. That doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. What’s going to make you unique? How will you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
We spent some time developing what our business will be like and what kind of company do we want to be. We’ve gone through examining things like, we knew we weren’t going to buy a business, we weren’t going to buy a franchise. We’re doing our own thing. A fair amount of time gets taken up with what the Resource Guide just calls legal considerations- regulations, taxes, insurance.
We had to decide what legal structure we want our business to be. We’re not a sole proprietorship. Did we want to be an LLC, a Corporation, these kinds of things. So there’s a lot of getting your ducks all in a row.
This is not the sexy part of establishing a business. Parts of this kind of feels more like a slog than a whirlwind. But it’s really important to take the time to lay a good, solid foundation, especially if you’re going into business with someone else.
Of course, it’s always important to think through a business if you’re going to be a sole proprietor. If you’re in it by yourself, think through. Are you able? What are your capabilities? What do you want to do? Where are you going to get the money? Where will your funding come from? How are you going to go through your first months of startup? I’ve been told that you really want to be sure that you’ve got the ability to take care of yourself for not just months, but a couple of years. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to have like two years worth of funding set aside. But it does mean for many months you want to be sure you’ve got money to carry you through. And that when you start billing your customers, they don’t always pay immediately. There might be a 30 or 60 day lag. So you’ve got to think through those things.
Anybody who knows me knows I love my whiteboard. So we’ve drawn a lot of things out on the whiteboard. As far as what does the money look like? What do expectations look like? Who’s going to do what? Every week I’m writing out. All right, here’s what this week looks like. Here’s the laundry list of things that need to be done, the people that need to be contacted, the next steps that we need to take. We have developed a business plan, and that’s where a lot of the government affiliated agencies with the Small Business Administration come in. They are very helpful in helping you write your business plan. And depending on what kind of business you’ve got, you really might want to have like a really nicely put together business plan. If you’re going to go look for funding, you’re going to need a business plan, a very well developed business plan. So there’s a lot to it, some things that have been important.
And as I’m looking back at this checklist, I’ve gone through the other thing with the resource guide, and I’m assuming that every state has got something similar. There’s a nice resource list at the back of this guide for the different agencies and places that you might need to contact in the state. Again, it depends on what kind of business you’ve got. But I’ve made use of that resource list.
Now, a couple of things as I’m sitting here thinking about it, a couple of things that have been important for us to this point.
Keeping track of all the details, spreadsheets, checklists. I’ve already said, oh, yeah, if you know me, you know, I love my whiteboard. That’s where I’m putting a lot of our list. Granted, they don’t stay forever. That’s where our spreadsheets and our checklists come in. But figuring out who’s doing what, who do I contact? When do I need to follow up? Everybody I’ve talked to has been really excited that, hey, you’re starting a business, all right, but it’s not THEIR business. It’s my business. It’s our business. So they’re never going to be as invested in it as I am. So it’s up to me.
A lot of people have got a lot on their plates, so they don’t always follow through. So we’ve had to be prepared to follow up to check back in with some people, and some people are better at that than others. But again, a lot of the set up phase, it’s not sexy, but it’s really important to set your business up right to have a strong foundation. So some of this is kind of like it almost feels like baby steps. And again, I said it earlier, it’s more of a slog than a whirlwind, but it feels good to know every step. We’re moving forward. We’re moving forward. Okay. So keeping track of all the details, that’s been important.
Another thing that’s been really important, communicating between all of us who are involved, figuring out who’s responsible for what, but also just having good conversation about where we want to go, what are our dreams, where do we see this going? What do we want for our business as it grows? And going back to the checklist on the spreadsheets, who’s doing what. All right, I’m responsible for this, but I want you to know I’m doing this. So just the back and forth communication.
Another thing that’s really important, managing our expectations. Some of this goes back to what I said earlier, that as we’ve met with lawyers and bankers and accountants and insurance and suppliers. People are very supportive, but it’s not their business. So I can’t expect somebody else to be just as excited and enthusiastic about this new business as I am also managing the expectations of it just takes time to negotiate, to get proposals, to hear back and figure out. So just knowing that it’s kind of like I’ve described it as this intricate dance of you make this move, then you evaluate, then you make another move, then you evaluate. So it’s step by step by step.
Another thing that’s important, and of course, this is important. Our mindset. Of course, I’m a life and mindset coach. I’m going to tell you that our mindset is important, but it really is. The biggest thing I can say is confidence is important, and confidence is part of mindset. Confidence comes. It’s not necessarily crucial to start with. Courage is crucial to start with. Confidence comes as you do things.
We want to enjoy the journey. It’s really easy to fall in the trap of going, oh, I’ll be happy when… whatever happens, I’ll be happy when I’ve made my first million. Or I’ll be happy when we’ve served a million customers. Or I’ll be happy when…no, I want to be happy all along the way. I want to enjoy the journey. I want to have these feelings of pride in our work, of confidence in meeting our challenges, of just joy in the journey. We want to enjoy as we go. Because really we’re never going to, like, get there. We’re always going to want to grow. So we want to have the expectations and the mindset of enjoying the journey. And we’ve talked.
We’ve already with my partners and I, we’ve already had several conversations about what milestones do we want to celebrate. I started this episode going, hey, 50th episode for my podcast. It’s a milestone to take time to celebrate. That to recognize it’s an accomplishment. I feel pride in my milestone. It’s not the biggest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve put a lot of work, I’ve put a lot of effort, I’ve put a lot of my heart and myself into this project. Well, having milestones to celebrate.
I’ll tell you, I am the most bubbly of the partners, and I’m the one who is probably more naturally inclined to say, hey, we got to remember to celebrate. But we already all understand the satisfaction and the pride of celebrating.
We celebrated when we got our paperwork back from the state that we’re officially registered. Yeah, that’s a step.
We’ll celebrate when we get our first payment.
We’ll celebrate when we have our first payroll check.
There’s the smaller steps at the beginning. There’s a lot of other milestones that between us, we just know, yeah, that’ll be a big deal when we have that milestone. But to be able to look forward to those to know, okay, here’s where we’re headed. Here’s what it’s going to take to get us there.
So we are well on our way of getting close to launching our business publicly. Lots of behind the scenes work, lots of checklists, lots of meetings, but it’s very exciting.
So if you are an entrepreneur or thinking of becoming one or know someone who is I’d love it if you would share this episode, I’ll have some links in the show notes about helpful resources and of course, if you are looking for someone to coach you through some entrepreneurial journeys, that is right up my alley. Love to hear from you.
In the meantime, let’s go live, love, make some money and change the world
For a transcript of this episode or for more information about life and mindset coaching, visit my website https://www.tbrowning.com/.