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OT: Business Owners - how'd ya do it? (Cont. from Jayl13's thread)

Old 07-19-2002, 01:32 PM
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Amen! hp500
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Old 07-19-2002, 01:40 PM
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Well said!

At the lake we go to occasionally there's a guy who fishes at the dam on the weekends (every weekend). Rusted out car, old clothes - you know. Yep, he'll be there tomorrow, happy as a clam, sitting is his chair drinking PBR. I'll be in the office this weekend trying to get caught up from the day I took off last week. Who's happier
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Old 07-19-2002, 02:15 PM
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If I did not have so many toys I would not have to work so hard.

I average 60-75hrs per week. I started a electrical contractor company ( I was an electrican already). Customers I had gotten wanted a good alarm company, so started that. As our customers asked who does this we would research to see if we could make money in it & go from there.

I feel the number one problem is employees, second is goverment. After that it gets easier.

We also try to do everthing in house. The less you have to depend on someone else the better you will be.
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Old 07-19-2002, 02:34 PM
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Our 1st venture was picking up a small video store in the was up ..2 months behind on rent and the doors were going to close...It had a good cust. base but nothing as it could be with some real attention and funding..It was a risk as anything is..somehow we made it work.. my wife (g/f) at the time worked there and ran the daily operation the owners just took the money out of an account...that was 5 yrs ago...within 2 yrs of buying that we were searching for something else to get into...we had 700 sq feet of space that was really a junk room for the video store ....we researched what we might put there ...aftrer many ideas and alot of considering we decided a small boutique would fit nicely...the wife being a clothes hound certainly was a bonus...she already spent alot of money on her attire as it was she gets it wholesale lasted there for approx. 1 year ...we now are in 1600 sq feet in a plaza across from the local university.....we pay for everthing up front...have not financed the first thing in our can be quite a struggle.....I continue to work my full time job 60 - 80 hours a week.. she handles the stores....they require alot of attention and alot of resouces one may not expect...many times in the past I have had to write a check or 2 to pay the rent or recieve merchandise out of my own can be quite frustrating...but has to be done..Niether of us are educated in Bus. we just play it by ear and hope our common sense guides us in the right direction...

Are we rich ? not by a long shot....
Are we happy ? you bet we are !!
We have a long way to go and my hills to climb yet....we buy comffy shoes and just enjoy the scenery

I have no words of wisdom for gettin gsomething started .. for us i t seemed to be timing..and the guts to take a risk...(ouch)
and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen

I cannot tell you how many Ideas and ventures I have schemed up and look into .. it never stops ..I usually run them by the wife and my parents . Most of the time they just laugh and tell me I never stop....I hope I don't

If being your own boss seems exciting then make it happen...I'm trying like crazy to be able to quit my reg job..but I keep spending all my available funds on the next venture...a never ending cycle it seems..

our 3rd biz comes ou tof the box in 3 weeks I hope....this one is all mine...I'm very nervous ,

anyhoot...hope something i said makes sense fingers are bleeding..
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Old 07-19-2002, 02:47 PM
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I got my business the old fashioned way...I inherited it! Well actually I worked for my In-Laws for 15 Years with the intention from day one that I would buy the business from them. Sad thing is I did not do it earlier. I did however just buy another business out of state, It was a company that had 2 million in sales and the owner wanted to retire. I worked out a 3 year buyout plan (with the help from my accountant) and now it is all mine too. On to the next one. The retiree plan works good because if you can just show someone you want to work and “Carry on” their business your approach is better accepted.

Shoot for smaller well established companies that are closely held and have some money available for a down payment. You cant walk in the door with nothing. Get a good accountant and an attorney.

Hard work is not really that necessary but smart work is. You may need to put in extra hours at first but if you spend all your time doing the work you cannot concentrate on getting some one else to do for you. You need to be making the whole company work together. You need to have good employees and treat them as such. Not just in compensation terms but with respect and a partnership attitude. It takes me 1 week to see if someone has a chance at making it work. Don’t hang on to employees because you think you need them, move on and get a better one. This may sound harsh but the sooner you realize a non conforming employee the better for you and for them.

The one thing to remember is that there are many many ways to gain control of a business. I say control because it is more of a control issue than a full ownership issue. You don’t have to walk in with just a pile of money, relationships, planning and co-operation are what it is about.

I am no expert but that is what has worked for me.
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Old 07-19-2002, 03:10 PM
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I am in the Landscape business and let me tell you it is no picinic. It is extremely competetive, labor intensive, high overhead, and lots of unexpected expenses. There are also factors out of your control that can hurt you. Drought, too much rain, excessive heat, cool temps., etc. All these in someway have a negative impact on grass, shrubs and trees. As far as the competition, there is no standard, special licensing or training. Anyone can buy a truck, lawn equipment and a shovel and call themselves a landscaper. With this inexperience comes improper pricing, time estimation, and general do's and don'ts. Hourly rates can fluctuate between $20 - $40 per man hr. Some people look for the quality service but most are looking for the cheapest price. So the Cop that gets out of work at 2:00 in the afternoon goes out and cuts lawns for $25.00, where the proffesional landscaper that pays insurance, workmans comp, pays his employees on the books, etc. etc. has to charge $40-$50 for the same lawn.

Yes there is money to be made, but it is a constant battle. I will soon be changing careers because of these factors and more.

My advice, you need to know everything involved in whatever venture you seek and this only comes with experience and research.
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Old 07-19-2002, 07:30 PM
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Go to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) funded by your tax dollars run through the Small Business Administration. They have more information on this than you can absorb. Tell them you don't yet have a business in mind, but that you are looking for the details of what is neccessary to be successful in ANY business. The pre-startup or pre-purchase homework that is needed.

There are reasons why most fail. Lack of capital is the biggest, but there are usually other factors causing that. The more you work with the SBDC on your "business 101" learning, the better off you will be, no matter what kind of business you do or don't get in to.

Three personal views:
1) People who don't feel like owning/starting/running a business from the very bottom of their hearts -- fail. It is too demanding to be entered half-heartedly.

2) The SBDC's have probably saved more people their life savings by discouraging them from investing in business ownership than they have helped to become rich in businesses. That is a valuable service, and I commend them for it.

3) Those imigrents that come to America and own small businesses: God Bless Them!!! There is no one that understands what America is about more than an imigrent who wants to come and be productive. They scrimp and save and do without to support their businesses. They'll make sacrifices most of us born here would never consider. If you want to be successful in business ownership, they are good role models.

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Old 07-19-2002, 09:02 PM
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HP500EFI---- For the most part you hit it on the head!
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Old 07-19-2002, 09:37 PM
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Hey, Kaama, yeh to HP500 and RayPanic. And finish what you start.No one knows your business like you do.
When the employees go home at 5, its time to get to work. Quotes, billings, followup phone calls. I had the opportunity years ago to start and maintain a very successful company and earned $600k a year for 12 years straight before a spinoff and a chance to go for quality of life. Work hard, believe, and enjoy! Your business is you. Project yourself, gather information and take advantage of opportunities.
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Old 07-19-2002, 10:27 PM
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I have no answers, but a few rules that I have learned:

1- No one works as hard as you do.
2- No one will watch your money as close as you do.
3- $1.00 saved is the same as $2.00 earned. (taxes suck)
4- Buy everything at 20% off and you've effectivly earned 20% more.
5- It's not what you earn, but what you spend and save.
6- It's a balance between greed and fear.
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