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Starting a new business

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  • Peterbilt123
    Club Member
    • Sep 2016
    • 59

    Starting a new business

    Just looking for some advice from anyone who has started their own business. I've been in the truck parts business for about 17 years and kinda know my way around the parts of a truck. I was given an opportunity to start a parts business in a shop if I want the space and I was thinking of pulling the trigger and just doing it. I know the thought of owning your own business is like a cinderella story that can turn to a nightmare quickly but was just wondering if anyone had any experience in doing something similar. I know I need to register with state and local authorities, find a name, and call a good banker. Does anyone have any advice, tips, or experience that might help me? Thanks for the help in advance.
  • tbob4
    Charter Member
    • Nov 2014
    • 2511
    • Chico, CA
    • BBQ's
      _____________________
      California Custom Smokers Intensive Cooking Unit
      California Custom Smokers Meat Locker
      Santa Maria Grill
      Vision Grill

      Beer
      _______________________
      Sierra Nevada IPA

      Wood
      _______________________
      Almond
      Oak
      Madrone
      Cherry
      Peach
      Apple

    #2
    PaulstheRibList and Breadhead are good resources, I believe. Paul owns a BBQ company and Breadhead had his own business in another venue.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Competing against others that are willing to risk their taxed net worth to make a profit is a brutal business. Very few human's have the balls to risk all they've got to see if they can become rich. Remember 80% of all new businesses go broke within 2 years. Dare to be great, go for it.πŸ‘
  • David Parrish
    Founding Member - Pit Boss Emeritus
    • May 2014
    • 5046
    • Charlotte, NC

    #3
    I have a little experience with that. What would you like to know?

    Be prepared to work harder than you ever have before. That's my first piece of advice.

    Comment


    • PaulstheRibList
      PaulstheRibList commented
      Editing a comment
      Roger that

    • richinlbrg
      richinlbrg commented
      Editing a comment
      Self- employed. The only people willing to work <80 hrs a week to avoid working 40 hrs/week.

      Good luck!

    • Atalanta
      Atalanta commented
      Editing a comment
      Don't you mean willing to work >80 hours a week?
  • Nate
    Banned Former Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 3808
    • Quarantined

    #4
    Congrats on the prospect. You can definitely be living the dream when it comes to your own business... just remember that nightmares are too considered dreams...

    This is another time I really wish CeramicChef was still around. He would have had a wealth of information about this.
    Like Pit Boss said, what would you like to know? Specifics of what you are going to be doing or want to be doing as well as specific questions would help greatly.

    I don't know where you are at in the process but here are a couple things to start with if you haven't already:
    1. Awesome that your buddy is willing to let you setup in his shop. Now run to your lawyer and get an agreement drawn up that outline the terms of that agreement. CeramicChef and I had this conversation with a person a while back in here. It doesn't matter how good of friends or family you are... it helps to have something structured in place in case things go sideways or worse. Be optimistic about your business but have a plan for the worst scenario too. I have seen more than one friendship and family get torn apart or destroyed over business deals.

    2. Complete a detailed business plan. My argument on this is that some lending and funding sources will require and want to see it. Also it forces you to truly look at your numbers and what you are planning. A SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threat) analysis should be a part of that or your planning. It should cause you to think about who your competitors are, stakeholders, can you source parts at the same rate as your competitors (bulk purchases vs your smaller quantities), what type of margins you will have to operate at vs competitor, etc...

    3. Find good professional help. I highly recommend finding a good accountant that is familiar with business operations and not just your buddy who files your personal returns for you every year. The IRS can be a real pain in the @$$ if you don't do something just right... estimates, unemployment, payroll, etc... Your accountant buddy may also be able to help you get setup as a LLC, Sub S Corp, or whatever you all determine is best. Depending on the complexity of some of the things you are working with then a lawyer is always beneficial as well.... but you will find a good CPA can get you through a lot of things.

    4. As far as lending goes... You have time in the industry which will be looked upon favorably but probably won't be enough to get you an OK on any substantial lending needs. More than likely you are going to have to put a good bit of skin in the game and be willing to do a personal guarantee on your own personal assets that gives the lender recourse beyond your business.... Long story short.... a LLC or Sub S still may not protect your house when it comes to collateral for a business loan. Be ready to provide a personal financial statement, revenue projections, etc...

    5. I'm going to shig an idea of Meathead 's. This is a quote from him on a thread a while back: "I have been an entrepreneur since age 25. ALL my business plans have had a variable cost item of charity tied to revenue. They should teach this in biz school. Just like there is a line item for utilities, payroll, rent, etc., there must be a line for charity. I'd love to have that 5% for growth of the biz, but being a part of the community is more important."

    Some folks may completely disagree with me or say you don't need some of that crap... and that is perfectly fine... some people for various reasons (different industry, different circumstances, etc...) don't use or need those things and succeed anyway.... but I rather plan things out before just jumping in. These are just a few observations from my experience. I owned an insurance business for a minute, have a MBA, and am a previous banker who worked frequently with small business owners on deposit, services, and lending needs. I also partnered with a local Chamber or Commerce executive to put on some starting your own business seminars...

    Best of luck and like was mentioned earlier... more specific questions would help us answer questions a little better.

    Comment

    • Peterbilt123
      Club Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 59

      #5
      WOW! Thankyou guys! I've done quite a bit of research and know I have a long road ahead. I'll just start out slow and work my way up the mountain. Thanks again guys.

      Comment

      • Danjohnston949
        Former Member
        • Dec 2014
        • 4418
        • 1410 9th. St. N, Fargo ND

        #6
        Peterbilt123, My Wife Eunice and I started a small Construction Co. in 1987 we Liguidated It Sept 13, 2001! In retrospect We had to Shut Down do to Poor Planning on My Part! I am going to You the First thing on Your List of To Do's should be to determine how Much Income do You currently need to maintain Your Family Lifestyle! Will Your New Endeavor Provide It Day 1? Do a Projected Cash Flow Analysis, don't forget Taxes! Is there an opportunity to Start the Business as a Side Effort? I would start Paying Personal Visits to Your Local Business Banks to Dicuss the Banks Interest in New Businesses! Try to determine which Bank Your Percieved Competion Uses then Turn Around and Find a different Bank, they don't always Play Fair! Once you are satisfied with Your Banking Oportunity do the same thing with Your Potential Vendor Opportunities, will they Finance or Floor Plan Your Inventory? Check if they offer Straight Interest Floor Plans or if there are Balloon Payments or Introductory Interest Rates followed by Excessive Rates? Only after You Have
        Answered These Questions Affirmatively and To Your Satisfaction should You apply for your City, State and Fed Business License's and Fed Tax ID No.. You also Need to Analyze Your Insurance Expenses, NOTE: Generally Speaking Your Insurance Costs will be Driven by Revenue and Employee Expense!
        I hope I haven't influenced You Not to Do It, I just want you do it with Your Eyes Open!
        Pit Boss said the Rest Prepare To Work Your A-- Off!
        πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘. Good Luck! Eat Well and Prosper! From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

        Comment

        • Brewmaster
          Charter Member
          • Oct 2014
          • 597
          • Santa Rosa, CA

          #7
          another way to give back to the community is to volunteer at local BBQ events, I do the counsel on ageing BBQ every year, it cost an entry fee but it is well worth it. I have owned my own business for about 12 years and found that treating people well and with respect is worth it's weight in gold, many of my customer have been referrals. GOOD LUCK it's great to be in charge of your own destiny.

          Comment

          • lschweig
            Former Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 979
            • Oswego, Il

            #8
            All of the above is good advice and I echo what Danjohnston949 said. I would also add that consistent cash flow and profit is essential for survival. If you plan on giving credit to clients do understand that account receivables can go up in smoke overnight.

            Oh yeah, also know that cashiers checks can and do bounce as I unfortunately learned the hard way to the tune of $85 K.

            Comment


            • Danjohnston949
              Danjohnston949 commented
              Editing a comment
              @Ischweig, You are Absolutely Correct on All Counts! IMHOP, Cash Flow is More Important than Profit in the Short Term,
              Long Term there better be Profit at least enough so your Not Eroding Your Investment! Sorry about Your AR's Loss!
              From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

            • TheCountofQ
              TheCountofQ commented
              Editing a comment
              I was unaware that Cashier's checks could bounce. How does that work?? Aren't cashier's checks bought and paid for at the time of purchase??
          • lschweig
            Former Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 979
            • Oswego, Il

            #9
            Dan Danjohnston949 for a very long time I also thought cash flow was more important than profit. The problem is with that thinking is that you need to sustain a daily or at least weekly profit as it will eventually catch up with you over time and then the other shoe drops. Thus cash flow and profit have absolutely got to go hand in hand and be constantly monitored. Learned the really hard way.

            I do note that you said that cash flow is more important than profit for the short term. As I have had to unfortunately learn is that we all tend to think that tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that will resolve the issue automatically, it more than likely will not so therefore you need to try to stop the hemorrhaging as quickly as possible. Thus, you need to manage your business consistently long after normal business hours with many sleepless nights.

            The bottom line is that you need to pay for your overhead, which cares nothing about cash flow in relationship coupled with profits , your employees (they also care nothing or little about cash flow or profits and only wish to be paid) (ungrateful ba-tards), and your vendors that only care about being paid on time and in full.

            You can be the best at what you do, but if you start to fall behind in any of the above you have to scramble to stay alive and nobody gives a sh-t about your problems.

            For small business's bankers are really not any help as they hate start up venture typically and are well aware of most start ups failing in 2 years or less. Thus you will need to sign a personal guarantee and will probably have to put up collateral. Incidentally the personal guarantee will always be there.

            With that said my father got a SBA loan for I think $350 K, which he successfully repaid.

            I have been my own boss for now close to 35-40 years and am still learning. Lead lots of lives and have owned a number of small businesses as well as a multi million dollar business and consider myself still learning.

            Comment


            • Breadhead
              Breadhead commented
              Editing a comment
              A large cash flow at a loss just gets you to bankruptcy faster. Capturing market share at low margin will work for awhile. You can operate at break even for an extended period of time. However... working for free will motivate you to make the necessary changes to become profitable.

            • Danjohnston949
              Danjohnston949 commented
              Editing a comment
              lschweig, You have done said a mouthful Brother! Congratulations on Your Longetivety in Business! Breadhead, There is No Question that a Profit is Mandatory but Come the end of the Month Payroll, Employment Taxes and Insurance Cash Flow is Top Dog! From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

            • Breadhead
              Breadhead commented
              Editing a comment
              Dan the Man... cash flow management is critical! However when you're losing money, understanding your cash flow tells you when to reduce inventory and when you must lay employees off. When you're not profitable, becoming profitable is you're #1 priority.
          • Atalanta
            Club Member
            • Jul 2016
            • 431
            • Barnsley's Ford
            • Grills: 22" Weber (wood handles) (another Weber on the way), Lodge Sportsman "hibachi"
              Smoker: None yet, part of why I joined
              Thermometer: 10+ yr old Taylor digital thermometer with remote
              Sous Vide: Anovo Imersion Circulator (1st gen)
              Coffee Roaster: Hot Top Coffee Roaster
              Adult Beverages: Fighting Cock Bourbon, Leinny Shandy, Troegs Mad Elf

            #10
            This may be a useful resource: https://www.score.org/

            My BF and his business partner are in the process of opening a coffee shop (in addition to their current venture). I'm not going to offer any advice, other than watch inventory. It's hard to determine that fine line between too much and not enough.

            Comment


            • lschweig
              lschweig commented
              Editing a comment
              I recommend that you do a complete weekly inventory and either use a spreadsheet or form to track weekly usage for each item against on hand. I have supervised a lot of chain restaurants and this method ensures you have an ample supply without overbuying.
          • Peterbilt123
            Club Member
            • Sep 2016
            • 59

            #11
            Thank you all for the great information! I'm so glad I belong to this community, you all are very helpful!

            Comment


            • Danjohnston949
              Danjohnston949 commented
              Editing a comment
              The Best of Good Fortune to You and Yours @Peterbilt123!
              From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
          • Locotech
            Charter Member
            • Sep 2014
            • 395
            • northern Ontario, Canada
            • "Livin' hard was easy, when I was young and bulletproof"

            #12
            Many years ago, I started a business repairing railway freight cars. I was still working full time, repairing locomotives. The problem was, I had a partner that didn't share the direction I wanted to go. We made some good money for about 2 years, but then realized it wouldn't work as a partnership. Peterbilt123, I wish you the best, and hope it works out for ya, get a good accountant.

            Comment

            • BBQbot
              Former Member
              • Dec 2016
              • 77
              • California

              #13
              One note I'd add here since you're running a business selling stuff. I've had a few businesses in the past, and one thing that's important is researching channels you can sell in. Often times the most profitable, won't be the most obvious. Selling in different channels also protects you against trends that could slow down specific channels.
              a. look to sell online as well - it's more work to learn the ropes. There are people making a lot of money selling auto-parts on eBay. Let me know if you have any questions about this, I have experience here.
              b. your network is important, who you know is important. This leads to referrals, and possibly more importantly, partnerships. I'm not familiar with the auto-parts industry, but seems like it would be great to know the owners of bodyshops and mechanics in your area.

              Good luck!

              Comment

              • smokinfatties
                Former Member
                • Oct 2015
                • 521
                • Upland, CA

                #14
                if I remember right, SMOG MAN owns an auto repair shop in San Diego, he may be a good resource!

                I am a CPA, and one thing I can say is make sure your books are as squeaky clean as you can afford. In all reality, nobody is perfect, but you always need to know where your exposure is. A good accountant will manage that for you, but it will cost you. I have a lot of friends with varying business successes- some have lost it all and some have made millions. All of them have worked their butts off.

                If you like to work your tail off, and don't mind the ups and downs, go for it! Another thing I would recommend is to manage your downside risk and quantify the amount you're willing to gamble on your new endeavor. Unless you are highly highly highly certain about the outcome, I personally would not leverage myself to the point where it could do more harm than good. At the end of the day, if it's a failure, you can chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. Also consider the opportunity cost of what you currently have going for you and I see a lot of successes from folks that can do it on the side first to test it out and make the switch once they gain traction.

                Best of luck to you, I really hope it works out!

                Comment

                • PaulstheRibList
                  Founding Member
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 1585
                  • Lake Charles, LA
                  • Started Low-N-Slow BBQ in 2012. Obviously, it's taken hold (in chronological order:
                    1.) A pair of Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5's
                    2.) #LilTex, a 22" Expensive Offset Smoker (looks like a Yoder Witicha)
                    3.) #WhoDat1, a HUGE Gravity Fed Insulated Cabinet Smoker (cooking chamber 3'x2'x6')
                    4.) A Full Size Commercial Dryer/converted to Vertical Smoker.
                    5.) Jambo Backyard stickburner (my FAVORITE Pit so far)
                    6.) GrillMeister, a huge 24"x48" Adjustable, Charcoal Grill from Pitmaker.com
                    7.) 22" Weber Kettle with Slow-N-Sear
                    8.) Vault insulated reverse-flow cabinet smoker from Pitmaker
                    9.) BarbecueFiretruck...under development
                    10.) 26 foot BBQ Vending Trailer equipped with HUGE Myron Mixon 72xc smoker is HERE, Oct 2016!
                    11.) Opened www.PaulsRibShackBarbecue.com Food Trailer officially in March 2017
                    12.) Austin Smoke Works 500 Gallon Propane Tank Offset Smoker, named "Lucille" as travel pit for PaulsRibShack, Oct 2018.
                    12.) Opening Brick & Mortar location at 4800 Nelson Rd, Spring 2019. Had a pair of 1,000 Gallon Austin Smoke Works pits, both in RibShackRed for our new place!

                    Fabulous Backlit Thermapens, several Maverick Remote Thermometers (don't use any remotes anymore), Thermoworks Smoke, Other Thermoworks toys, Vacuum sealer, lots and lots of equipment...

                    I'm loving using BBQ to make friends and build connections.
                    I have #theRibList where I keep a list of new and old friends and whenever I'm cooking, I make 1 to 20 extra and share the joy.

                  #15
                  Owning a business is great, and sometimes terrible. I was a commercial loan officer for most of my 16 years in banking, and have been an entrepreneur for 13 years, with some overlap of the two.

                  Couple questions:
                  1.) Do you have the capacity to start your new venture as a side-business, and keep your current income intact?
                  2.) To clarify, you are currently in the same/similar business that you are going to start?
                  3.) All the previous comments about the admin side of the business (licenses, taxes, accounting) are all very needed. However, I view my absolute primary role as an entrepreneur as a Line Side Person. Line Side people drive revenues and profits. Staff Side people do the back office. Both are absolutely needed. If you don't have the Line Side poured on hot, however, it matters not how good you are at staff side.

                  Now to the question: How have you underwritten the sales, gross profit and net profit of your new venture? Understanding your Opportunity is where you must be very clear. If you are a capable person, or are willing to get admin support, you can make the Staff Side functions happen, and you MUST. But you alone have the burden of doing the due diligence to support the questions: WHY IS THIS BUSINESS NEEDED? WHO IS GOING TO SHIFT THEIR CURRENT BUYING PATTERNS TO COME TO MY NEW SHOP? CAN I KEEP MARGINS SUFFICIENT TO EARN A LIVING?

                  Comment


                  • Peterbilt123
                    Peterbilt123 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks PaulstheRibList! I do have the capacity to start while I'm still at my other job. I will be starting a business doing the same thing I currently do. Thanks for the great advice.

                  • Danjohnston949
                    Danjohnston949 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    @PaulstheRibShack, Well Said Paul! I am Naturally Sceptical of Bank Loan Officers, but You Seem OK!
                    From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

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