Starting a Business podcast

How to Start a Business Series

In our quest to make Financially Simple THE number one business educational website, we want to help you in that crucial first stage of business. In our How to Start a Business blog (and podcast series), we will walk you through the steps you might take as you build the entity of your dreams. Congrats and good luck!

  • Assessing Your Business Idea
    Starting a Business Series: Assessing Your Business Idea – Article #1
    There’s something different about entrepreneurs. In some respects, we are gluttons for punishment. We will get back up and try again as often as it takes until we’ve finally succeeded at whatever we have set our minds to. While others might see such behavior and think that we’re crazy, I see it as noble and admirable. As a financial planner with years of business planning and growth, I work with fellow entrepreneurs often. I know where you are… you have a BIG IDEA, and you are excited about it. But removing the emotion, implementation begins with assessing your business idea. In this series, we will start here as the first step to getting your business running.
  • Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Personality
    Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Personality? – Article #2
    Just because you have a great idea for a business doesn’t mean you will be a good businessman or woman. In fact, your personality traits could exclude you from successful business ownership altogether. Before you jump into creating a business around your idea, take a moment to evaluate yourself. Do you have an entrepreneurial personality? Do you have the type of personality to make it in a cut-throat marketplace?
  • Foundational Characteristics of Successful Business Owners
    7 Characteristics of Successful Business Owners – Article #3
    As an entrepreneur and someone who has worked with hundreds of other entrepreneurs over the past nine years or so, I’ve observed certain common characteristics of successful business owners. I’ve seen these traits in the people I have worked with and in ones I have studied. Of course, having these traits does not guarantee success in the business world. “Normal” people often share some of them, but thriving leaders often have many, if not all. So, what are the common characteristics these entrepreneurs have?
  • Questions to Answer Before Starting Your Business
    10 Essential Questions to Answer Before Starting Your Business – Article #4
    As an entrepreneur, coming up with BIG IDEAS is easy. However, putting that idea on paper to determine it’s viability in the business world is a different matter. Most go-getters don’t really like to stop when they’re on their way to success. But the path to success requires patience and discipline. Simply having the personality traits of a business owner doesn’t mean you’re ready to be one. Therefore, I have listed ten essential questions for you to answer before starting your business.
  • 7 Questions to Answer When Conducting a Market Analysis for A Startup
    7 Questions to Answer When Conducting a Market Analysis for A Startup – Article #5
    Perhaps the most difficult and lengthy section of a start-up business plan is conducting a market analysis. You can describe your products and services all day long. I’m sure you can even forecast the future financial success of your business. Yet, when it comes to completing a statistical overview of your industry norms and the customers you intend to target, you get hung-up. By understanding your industry, though, you will gain a better understanding of who your target market is and how you can make an impact on your industry’s current marketplace.
  • A Financial Plan for Startups Begins with a Personal Financial Assessment
    A Financial Plan for Startups Begins with a Personal Financial Assessment – Article #6
    Entrepreneurs with a BIG IDEA tend to charge hell with a water pistol. You have a product or service, you see an immediate need, and you don’t want to waste a second to meet it. That’s just who you are, as an entrepreneur. But it’s not time to start the battle just yet. It is senseless to brandish water pistols without a reservoir of water to refill them. You need to build and fill a financial reservoir in your personal life so that you have enough to sustain your business life. Therefore, I invite you to sit down on a cushy couch and learn from my “Grandma’s Wisdom.” I’m going to help you prepare your personal financial assessment as the first step in building a financial plan for your startup. So let’s get started, crunching the numbers and seeing how they affect the financial plans for your startup.
  • Ways to Stabilize Your Finances Before Starting a Business
    8 Ways to Stabilize Your Personal Finances Before Starting a Business – Article #7
    When preparing your personal financials for business ownership, you need to do a personal financial assessment. Determine whether you are asset-rich or asset-poor, then make the adjustments that are needed to increase your net worth. While you’re examining and increasing your net worth, you will also need to increase your personal cash flow. Not only do you want to increase your assets and decrease liabilities, but you also want to increase income while decreasing expenses. Don’t simply prepare your financial statement. Build your personal budget. Then, use what you learn to decide what changes you’ll need to make to your personal finances before starting your business.
  • Must-have Professional Advisory Team Members for a Startup
    6 Must-have Professional Advisory Team Members for a Startup – Article #8
    I know you’re excited to start your business. You’re probably thinking, “Come on, Justin! Enough is enough. I’m tired of this prep work. Let’s get down to business.” Well, time out. Before hitting the hardwood, you need to assemble your team… a professional advisory team of players to help with technical matters. You will need to establish your business as an entity, get advice about tax issues, seek loans from investors, and so on. You will need expert help from these highly educated and professional business advisors.
  • The Different Business Types Pros and Cons
    The 5 Different Business Structures… Pros and Cons of Each Entity
    When starting a company, the business structure you pick can be vitally important. Choosing among the different business types will affect your day-to-day workings and how you pay taxes. Your choice can positively or negatively affect how you are protected as an owner and even your business’s future sellability. Although I will provide you with an overview of the five different business types, you should lean on your “Dream Team” of attorneys, CFP’s®, and CPAs to know which type of business entity is the best fit for your company.
  • Investor vs Bank Loan… Which is The Best Source of Startup Capital?
    Many start-up founders who are looking for funding run out and pitch their opportunity to anyone who will listen. I get it. They’re willing to do just about anything to make their business succeed. However, unless they are strategically targeting the right type of moneylender, their fundraising efforts may be in vain. When deciding where to spend your time—deciding between an investor vs a bank loan—it’s important you know how each works. Having a solid understanding will allow you to go to the right one—the one who is the best bet for getting the startup capital you need for your new business. Join me as I examine the best way to seek funding, investor vs bank loan.
  • 12 Types of Investors That Can Help with Funding a Startup
    12 Types of Investors That Can Help with Funding Your Startup
    When you start a business, you can see the good your product or service will provide a marketplace. But to be able to make a difference, the business must get off the ground first. However, you’ll need money to make that happen. The good news is, you can start many businesses with very little capital. On the other hand, I’ve worked with many clients who needed millions of dollars as a startup. They needed money for equipment, employees, marketing, retail space, and more. So if you’re like them and need money, where do you get it? Knowing that banks are hesitant to loan money to new businesses, you’ll have to get creative. Therefore, in today’s article, I’m going to discuss twelve types of investors that you might be able to go to when funding a startup. 
  • Workflows Essential Ways to Improve Business Efficiency
    Workflows & Systems: Essential Ways to Improve Business Efficiency
    As your big business-idea becomes a reality, it’s time to start thinking about the structure of your business. What types of software systems do you need in place to work efficiently? How will you process phone calls, work orders, purchase orders, sales, deliveries, etc.? Eventually, every business will develop and utilize operational systems. However, your goal should be to establish certain operational systems BEFORE you open your business. Why? Because in business, efficiency matters. The more organized you are when you open, the fewer problems you’re likely to have after you open. Creating workflow systems in your company can streamline your processes and increase business efficiency.
  • How to Get the Best Prices from Suppliers and Vendors
    Win-Win Negotiation… How to Get the Best Prices from Suppliers & Vendors – Article #15
    In many businesses, vendors and suppliers are common. Many times, you can’t operate a business without them. In spite of the fact that you may become friends with vendors and suppliers, you’ll still have to negotiate pricing, warranties, and service with them to keep your costs down and your profit margins high. Ultimately, the relationships you have with vendors and suppliers can help drive the success or failure of your startup business. Therefore, you’ll want to master the art of negotiation. You need to know how to get the best prices from suppliers and vendors in a way that is honorable and above reproach. In addition, you’ll want to do so without burning bridges or harming anyone. So join me as I share nine ways you can negotiate pricing. 
  • How to Develop a Marketing Plan for Your Startup
    How to Develop a Marketing Plan for Your Startup – Article #16
    Unless you’ve found a cure for cancer or something of similar significance, you’re going to need to market or advertise during the startup of your business. Honestly, even if you’ve invented the cure for cancer, you’re probably going to have to market and advertise, possibly even more than normal. After all, you’ll have to convince the skeptics that you’ve invented the cure for cancer. Yet, to advertise effectively, you’ll have to develop strong marketing. However, there is a difference between marketing and advertising. In today’s article, we’ll make the distinction between the two and then, I’ll dive into how to develop a marketing plan.
  • Time Management for the Startup Business Owner
    Untapped Assets: Time Management for the Startup Business Owner – Article #17
    One of the coolest things I know is this – every one of us, while we’re alive, has 24 hours in a day. Not 26. Not 30. No one is blessed with more time. We all have 24 hours in a day. Now granted, each of us has different abilities, talents, and gifts. Some are able to achieve more in 24 hours than others. Yet truthfully, we control our time. In my opinion, Zig Ziglar explained this concept best when he said, “A lack of direction, not a lack of time, is the problem. We all get 24 hours in a day.” That’s why time management is so vital for the startup business owner. With that in mind, I’d like to discuss 7 ways small business owners can manage time, in today’s article.
  • Quality Control in a Startup Business
    Quality Control in a Startup Business… Is it Too Early to Think About? – Article #18
    As you’re trying to establish a name and niche for your new business within the marketplace, you’ll eventually encounter quality control issues. Regardless of whether you offer physical products or services, I dare say that all business owners—even brand new startup owners—need to come up with plans to control the quality of their goods or services right from the beginning. So I’ve created a list of my top five ways to establish quality controls in a startup business like yours.
  • Get and Close Sales in a Startup Business
    How to Get and Close Sales in a Startup Business – Article #19
    Most likely, you began your business to meet a need in your marketplace. If you didn’t think people wanted or needed your product or service, then you wouldn’t have opened your business. However, how can you meet consumer needs if no one knows your business exists? You can’t just open a storefront and expect buyers to flock through your doors. No, you have to “sell” your products and services. They don’t talk, walk, or sell themselves, unfortunately. You and your team members must convince customers that they need what you’re offering. You’ve got to market and advertise to get customers into your sales funnel. Then, you’ve got to train your team to successfully close the sale. Ultimately, you must sell your company and its products or services to get and close sales in a startup business. 
  • Online Marketing 101 Attracting People to Your Small Business Digitally
    Online Marketing 101: Attract People to Your Small Business Digitally – Article #21
    Consumers are searching for solutions to their problems. Twenty years ago or so, they’d research products or services at brick-and-mortar retail stores, or they’d search for business names that caught their eye in a phone book. Now, with the Internet and its 24/7 availability, consumers are going online first to find information about the products and services they need. Therefore, having a good website that clearly communicates who you are, what you can do for them, and how they can reach you is vital for developing brand equity in today’s market. Yet, simply building and having a website isn’t enough. Just because you put a website online doesn’t mean you’ll be found. You have to use online marketing to bring people to your business. Join me as I outline four ways to get the most out of online marketing.
  • Understanding and Using Business Debt
    Understanding and Using Business Debt Strategically
    Small businesses are the backbone of America, however, carrying so great a load means carrying a great deal of debt as well. In fact, 49% of small businesses are in some sort of debt. Yet, unlike most personal debts, business debts can sometimes be necessary. As a business owner, you may have experienced the need to take on and use debt for many different reasons.
  • Credit Card Processing Fees
    Credit Card Processing Fees – How to Get for the Best Rates
    If you plan to accept debit cards or credit cards in your business, you’ll need a company to process those bank card payments. Unfortunately, many cut-throat merchant service providers have given this service a bad name. When I talk to business owners about credit card processing, I inevitably hear groans of confusion and frustration. However, you don’t have to leave your business at the mercy of a few greedy processors. Let me give you a crash course on credit card processing.
  • Building Your Success Team
    Building Your Support Team: The Starting Lineup
    There’s something about sports that binds us. People from completely opposite backgrounds can be united by their love of a team. There’s power in a group of people coming together with a common goal. A team can accomplish what the individual never could. That’s as true in business as it is in the world of sports. Building the right support team can give you a serious advantage in your business. Join me as I draw up the perfect starting lineup for every business owner’s support team!
  • 10 Benefits of An Organizational Chart for Small Businesses
    When I first started off, as a young entrepreneur, I didn’t really see the value in having organizational charts. I thought that they were a waste of time for small business owners. Since then, I have read thousands of books on business and just about every one of them speaks about the importance of organizational charts. So, with today’s post, I’m going to discuss the 10 benefits of an organizational chart.
  • Operations Manual – the Requirements and Easy Tips for Updating
    This entry is kicking off a short “How To” series here at Financially Simple. Each installment in the series will focus on a different subject and how to execute it. So, today’s entry is all about how to make an operations manual. More specifically, I’m going to look at how you can use technology to optimize your operations manual.
  • Navigating The Business Cycle
    One of my absolute favorite parts of living in beautiful East Tennessee is the fact that we have four seasons. In the winter, it’s cold and we get some snow. The summers are hot, making it ideal for spending days out on the lake. We get extraordinary views of God’s handiwork each fall, as the leaves change colors. And spring? Spring is awful because we get covered in pollen. However, I can’t help but think of the business cycle when thinking of our four distinct seasons. Whether you’re launching your business or guiding it through a recovery phase, understanding each stage of the business cycle can help you avoid disastrous mistakes. So join me as I explore the business cycle in today’s entry.
  • How To Succeed Despite the Noise
    In my last entry, I detailed the story of fighting a bull shark during my family’s recent vacation. That story made me remember another fishing trip I took with my dad. As we set out for our spot, deep in the Atlantic Ocean, I remember hearing a lot of captains’ chatter on the radio. Because the water was choppy, they said we wouldn’t catch any fish. Our captain calmly reassured us that anytime you leave the shore, there’s lots of noise. The same is true in your businesses. When you set out to do something new, there’s always going to be a chorus of naysayers. Join me as I look at how to succeed despite the noise.
  • Four Steps to Creating a Small Business Budget
    I received a listener question, recently, that made me take pause. I was thinking back on the show’s history, and I don’t believe I’ve ever addressed this topic before now. The question was, “Justin, how do we create a small business budget?” Although budgeting is a relatively simple concept, knowing how to create a well-functioning small business budget can be a little confusing if you don’t have experience doing so. I’m using today’s entry to show you four quick and easy steps to create a budget for your business.
  • 5 Effective Marketing Trends to Follow
    Recently, I’ve begun to take a deeper look at marketing. I’ve always been a big believer that marketing is an absolute necessity for the wellbeing of your business. However, I understand that many business owners don’t have the same affinity for it that I do. You see, marketing doesn’t behave like the other arms of your business. You don’t see an immediate return on your investment. This leads many business owners to cut funding or give up on their marketing campaigns prematurely. As if that weren’t enough marketing is a very fluid thing. What worked for your company 10 years ago, probably isn’t going to be effective now. That’s why I’m using today’s post to examine 5 effective marketing trends to follow.
  • Marketing Strategies: 5 Digital Marketing Myths
    Marketing is typically an area that business owners struggle with. As I’ve stated in previous posts, marketing doesn’t act like other areas of your business. Because there isn’t an immediate return on the owner’s investment, there’s a tendency to just assume it didn’t work and abandon their marketing strategies. But today, I want to examine a different side of marketing. In this post, we’re going to explore 5 social media and digital marketing myths that could be preventing you from maximizing your business’s influence.
  • Digital Marketing Tactics: Social Media for Business Owners
    We live in a digital world. There are more people participating in social media than ever before. As a result, there are more people turning to social platforms to research the goods and services they desire. Naturally, this means business owners must shift their marketing strategies to include an engaging presence across each of the major social media platforms. But, oftentimes, business owners have a shortsighted view of social media. Therefore, today’s post aims to provide you with a better understanding of social media as it pertains to your digital marketing tactics.
  • coffee shop example innPredictable Success by Les McKeown
    Predictable Success: An Interview with Les McKeown
    Being a small business owner comes with all kinds of unique challenges. There are financial hurdles, trying to make sense of marketing, managing a team of employees with different skills and personalities, etc. On top of all of this, you’re often learning as you go. But one of the most challenging aspects is the unpredictability of it all. You can plan (and you should) but inevitably, there are going to be problems along the way. However, success can be just as surprising at times. But what if there were a way to make success in your business predictable? It turns out, there is. I recently interviewed renowned author, Les McKeown to talk about predictable success.
  • Attitude and Success Part I: The Seasoned Business Owner
    You wouldn’t be where you are right now without tenacity. No matter how many times you’ve been kicked in the teeth, you’ve always been willing to get up and dust yourself off. You’ve probably even done so with a big, defiant smile on your face. It’s true that business owners are a special breed. However, even the strongest reach a point of weakness somewhere in their career. The most cavalier often have the deepest, darkest valleys. Despite this, there’s something about the mindset of a seasoned business owner that pushes them through every failure and insecurity until they find success. Join me as I take a look at attitude and success.
  • Selling a Business
    Selling a Business to Start Another: Is the Time Right?
    Selling a business is a difficult proposition. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to successfully sell a business, it may be tempting to use the proceeds from the sale to seed your next venture. But is it really the right time? Before you can know this, you must evaluate the true cost and what it will mean for you and your family. In this entry, I want to challenge those of you who are considering this to really think about the true cost.