4 Things to Do Before Starting Your Own Business

Starting a business of any kind comes with its challenges, but if you’re passionate about what you’re offering, meeting your initial challenges will be easier. Even better, these actions will help give you a better understanding of your product or service, thus giving you more confidence as you head into this new adventure. Here are four things to do before starting your business.

Understand the Law

There are some general laws that apply to any new business, but your particular industry may have a set of its own as well. Determine what kind of insurance or licenses you will need, the tax information you’ll need to file and grasp the necessary details of human resources if you’ll be hiring staff. Be sure you understand the practical, legal and  strategic aspects now rather than later.

Write a Business Plan

Putting your overall business idea, marketing intentions and future goals on paper is a great place to start. Are you filling a void in the market, allowing customers a shopping experience or product they wouldn’t get otherwise? What will make your business different than others that may offer the same product or service? Answering these questions and organizing them into a business plan will provide an “operating plan” that will be a solid foundation on which to build a strong and profitable business.

Get Help

Entering this new world alone is tempting, but it may not be the best idea. There are many things to factor in to creating a business and it might be best to seek the help of an expert, someone who’s been there before and has helped others build successful businesses. Think of the time and money you’ll be saving by having things in place from the beginning.  There will be lots of questions. Having someone who has been there to help you identify what’s important and how to make the right decision will keep you from making costly mistakes.

Choose a Location

Luckily, technology today makes it easier for businesses to operate without a physical location. But that all depends on what type of product or service you offer. Consider the financial aspects of overhead; rent, utilities, taxes. If you don’t need it, look into how you might be able to set up shop online and ship your products. Maybe for your business, a healthy combination of both is needed. Don’t skimp on the research, make sure you’ve examined all of your needs and options before making a choice.

Addressing these starter challenges will put you in prime position to get your business off the ground on a good foundation. Remember that many have come before you and it’s a good thing to seek the advice of someone who can help you tackle problems before they start. Good luck!


If you’re just starting a business and would like a reality check as to whether you’ve covered all bases, send a Contact request and I’ll be in touch.

Understanding the @Reply

The @ symbol used to be a casual way to leave notes on post-its:

Dinner @ 7! Meet me there.

In addition to being the symbol that connects your email address to your mail server, the @ symbol is now used as the ultimate tool to connect users online on various social media platforms. But it is used differently on Twitter than on Facebook.

On Twitter    

When you want to write a Tweet to someone, or about someone, you would use the @ symbol as a way to address them. Find out what their Twitter username is and then proceed:

@marianbanker Business is great, thanks for your help!

You’ll notice that the text immediately following the @ symbol has become a link which sends you directly to the user’s page.  Additionally, the person you’ve written to (or about) will get a notification that you’ve done so, thus opening up the potential for conversation.

On Facebook    

Facebook uses the @ symbol slightly differently. It also links a person’s name within your post but you can only tag people you’re “friends” with or public pages that you’ve “liked”. Additionally, Facebook changes the format of the text while you’re typing so the final result excludes the @ symbol. Here’s what I mean.

I’m writing a Facebook status on my personal profile about something I love and I want to share it so that more people can find out about, so I begin typing my status. When I get to the part where I want to link to a Facebook page, I start typing @PrimeStrategies. But the @ symbol prompts Facebook to start generating suggestions for me.

Once I select the appropriate page, it will post the page name without the @ symbol with a blue box around it to indicate it has been linked.

Then, once I post it, this is the final result.

Now my status update will allow those interested to click on the link and be directed to the Prime Strategies Facebook page. Additionally, depending on the settings of the company page, my post will be included on their page as well.

Don’t get too hung up on symbols. They may seem silly or even overwhelming but they’re simply useful tools to improve social media interaction. Take it slow and remember to try it all, you can always delete it if it doesn’t work out.

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If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking help with marketing strategies and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.

Challenges of Transitioning from Executive to Entrepreneur

We love a good small business success story here at Prime Strategies, and open forum’s telling of Charles Henagan’s is a great example of someone moving from executive status to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Embarking upon what appeared to be his dream job, Henagan was tasked with bringing new life to a legendary brand of vodka. Nearly 50, he was given new life with his exciting schedule of travel, meetings and strategy sessions while staying connected to his younger colleagues over post-work drinks.

Only 6 months into his new role, spirit sales began to sink internationally in response to the recession. As a result, Henagan was let go, leading him from the work force to becoming an unemployment statistic.

Henagan decided against looking for another corporate job in such delicate economic times, so he established Market Edge International, a New York City-based consulting firm that helps clients create sales teams and marketing strategies.

Henagan laments “The U.S. economy is changing so dramatically that in most industries, even when things pick up, the management structure will be fairly flat.” He felt exiting that scene and starting his own company was the most logical and dependable solution.

Not all victims of the down-turned economy have landed on their feet. Flexibility and long-term experience saved Henagan from the unemployment line but for some, starting their own business with a corporate executive mindset is slightly trickier. Most at the executive level are used to collaborating on big decisions and spending corporate money. Having sole responsibility for all decisions and tasks, can be a difficult mindset to accept. Plus it’s tough to deal with the loss of status. Some even experience anger, denial, depression, and so entrepreneurship is not for every transitioning executive.

Henagan, however, considers himself lucky to have made a smooth transition into entrepreneurship as opposed to pursuing another corporate job. He’s busy at work applying his acquired skills and new knowledge to his growing business. It works for him.

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If you’re an entrepreneur seeking help with planning for 2014, Prime Strategies offers One-Day Fast-Track Planning  to guide you in creating a solid Action Plan that will lay the foundation for a successful and profitable year.

Late Life Entrepreneur

As never before people approaching retirement age and beyond are running businesses. Some have been in business for years, others are just starting out.  They are called Late Life Entrepreneurs.

The considerations and challenges for this group are quite different from those of other ages. Hard decisions need to be made and that’s not always easy to do alone. Being in this category myself I found out recently how things can change that will affect business.
Time is of the essence now. So what are the considerations? Some are business, some are financial, some are quite personal. Given that there will be a limited time in which to achieve what you want in your business and your life, now is the time to review and possibly reset your priorities?

As a result of dealing with my own recent age-related changes, I’ve learned that others my age are facing many of these same changes. Body and health changes, emotional changes, attitude changes, energy changes, and relationship changes, are just some of what we’re experiencing, Many of these are unexpected and unwelcome. How can we cope and reset our priorities to help keep us feeling in control of our lives?

So I’ve initiated a new community to bring together men and women who want to stay in touch with trends, news, ideas, and activities for those age 60 plus. It’s called Our Platinum Years, and membership is free. Hear what others our age are experiencing, compare notes, and be prepared to give and get support for making hard decisions. Be sure to check it out.

“Everybody says your mind is the most important thing about your body. Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, and by God you’ll be here a long time.”
Walter Breuning, age 114

How to Attract and Keep Productive Employees

Productive employees are a satisfied employees. Productive, satisfied employees create successful businesses. It’s your job to create the environment that enables employees to feel satisfied on a consistent basis.

What do people want from a job? The consensus reached from my reading and my personal experience in working with clients is that, regardless of the job title and duties, an employee in any business wants the following – in descending order of importance or weight.

Pleasure – Job pleasure includes looking forward to going to work and feeling satisfied when the day is done. What that means will be different for each employee. It may come from being creative, successfully carrying out an assignment or task, seeing a positive result from their actions, knowing they’ve contributed to someone else’s good or receiving respect and recognition from others.

A creative person will be most productive being creative. A detail oriented person will enjoy digging into the minutia. Moving a technical genius into an administrative position probably isn’t going to be productive – anywhere. Job duties and individual personal qualities need to come together in order to maximize productivity. [Read more…]

Clear Consistent Communication

As you know, I’ve recently joined Business Network International (BNI), where I’m getting to know a lot of entrepreneurs in a new way and even getting some new business.

I’d been a guest at two or three BNI Chapters in the past (there are 23 in Manhattan), but until n0w had not found a group that seemed a good fit. I chose to join the newest group; a nice mix of males and females who range from the professional to the storefront entrepreneur. The Chapter was established in April and already has 26 members.

Being a BNI member is a huge commitment because meetings are weekly at 7 a.m. (that’s right, 7 a.m.). I still don’t love that part of it, but I do look forward to seeing the members of the group each week.

At each meeting we have to give a 60 second stand- up intro. For each of the first 10 weeks I chose to speak about one of the C’s of Business Leadership in my 60 second stand-up. He.re are the reasons I chose this tactic.

1) There are a lot of C’s that apply to Business Leadership (courage, clarity, commitment, communication. consistency…you get the idea). [Read more…]

Give Them What You Want

John Warner, CEO of www.stopworking.net tells a story about a total stranger who gave him the secret to which he attributes his success. The following is excerpted from his story and is spoken by the stranger.

“You are your market. Whatever you want, there are millions of other people wanting the same thing. That elusive Home Business you are looking for is the product millions of others are also looking for right now.

All you have to do is create the Business you want to buy, the Business you yourself have been looking for. Once you have this Business, what would you want the sales message to say so that you know this is the Business you have been looking for?

If someone else were marketing this Business, what would you want the ad to say, what would get you to sign up? When you have the answer, this is the ad you want to create. [Read more…]