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Small Business Administration’s Top 10 Tips

This article was written by in Career and Work. 8 comments.


My wife and I recently started a business. Technically, I think we’re planning a business, since the incorporation papers are still winging their way through the mail, but it feels like it’s been started. We’ve got a P.O. Box, a domain name, and my wife the President of the company has been devouring books with titles like “Working for Yourself” and “Start, Run and Grow Your Own Business”.

For the moment, we’re focusing on finding work for her, since I rather like my day job (and subsequent health benefits… wouldn’t it be great to find affordable health insurance when you start your own business?), but I wouldn’t mind picking up some extra freelance work on the side. I’m starting to think that the only way I will ever pay off my credit cards is by increasing revenue to a level far above what I need to get by.

Our first outing as a company was a couple of days ago to a local Chamber of Commerce networking event. I had a couple glasses of wine so that I could pretend I’m not painfully shy, and though it was still awkward, I was rewarded to see people’s faces light up as I described the kind of work we’re planning. I saw some expressions on faces that seemed to say, “hey, we could use that kind of work at our business!”

But there’s still plenty for us to learn. Since the President seems to have the book-learnin’ angle covered (or could it be because my eyes get tired looking at words on paper?), I’ve been looking online for advice, and found that the Small Business Administration has a YouTube channel. The video production values are about what you’d expect from a bureaucratic agency, but I figured the content might still be worthy. As an example, here’s their video going over the “top 10 tips for small business owners”:

I noticed that “networking” isn’t in the Top 10, or perhaps everybody accepts it as a given. Either way, I hope this video series is useful to the rest of our readers who also have entrepreneurial tendencies. If you’re one of them, what other advice can you offer us newbies?

Published or updated September 11, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar David@DINKS Finance

The whole time I was reading this post I kept wondering “when will we find out what the business is?” Would love to read a post about it and what services you offer. Perhaps it’s just too young of a company and you’d like to wait a bit before telling us all?

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avatar Smithee ♦1,358 (Quarter)

Well, it’s more of an anonymity thing. Believe me, I’d love to promote my personal, real-identity stuff for the visitors to this site, but I won’t be. Just in case.

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avatar Julie

It seems like most of those tips were a variation on “Make a plan and follow it.” :)

I’ve found June Walker’s tax book immensely helpful – not just for taxes, but for thinking about how I manage my business and places I can find efficiencies. http://www.junewalkeronline.com/index.asp?sPG=30

I also make sure when I’m planning my networking schedule to cover both sides of the spectrum – I network with businesses outside my industry, because they’re all potential customers, but I also network within my industry through groups like Refresh, professional organizations like AIGA, etc. A lot of my business comes from peer referrals.

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avatar NJ

After twenty years self-employment, it’s simple–money–money to keep your new business afloat for at least 2 years. For any plan to succeed, it has to include a realistic look at the money you need to live on and to keep your business running. Unexpected expenses happen in business just as they do in life. Be ready.
When to network? Before you open a new venture. Where to get the skills to run a new business? On your day job–learn everything about making it successful then your new business may succeed. How to get money to start up a business? Save it from your salary by living as frugally as possible. It’s good training for what’s in store when you do open your new business.

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