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Old 17th April 2015, 05:44 PM   #41
Spider
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Originally Posted by DantheMan View Post
Ok, in the example of knowing a good deal about cooking and being a good cook. These would be some good requirements for starting a restaurant.
What if I didn't want to take all the risk of investing in a physical location? What if I had an idea about creating a business around cooking steaks, baked potatoes, tossing a salad, and maybe an appetizer or two? There's plenty of people out there that can do this. Is it a bad idea to say, "I already have everything I need (minus $2,000) to be able to do it, so I'm going to" if they know how to cook steaks and potatoes?
No, not a bad idea, at all. If you know how to cook appetizing steaks, have experience cooking them, and have a proven way of delivering them to people without a physical location, I say, Go for it!

I would, nonetheless, recommend you get some experience - or hire someone who has experience - making a business out of cooking steaks, serving people in their homes, on the street or in the park, overcoming Health Dept. regulations and making a profit.

You don't have to know everything there is to know about your intended business, but I think you do need to know enough - and have some experience working in a similar business - to satisfy your intended customers and get them to come back and spend their money with you again.

Don't you?

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Old 17th April 2015, 06:01 PM   #42
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Dan - and everyone else struggling with this grand notion of a Business Plan - A business plan is about as complicated as the plan you make for a family summer vacation.

You think of nice places you might go, or activities you could share.
You mention some ideas to the rest of the family and get their ideas.
You check out a few places - that you like and what they like
You talk it over and come to a decision, more or less.
You check out where you could stay, get prices
You check out what you could do, and get prices
You talk all this over with the family
You find out who wants what and come up with an idea of what the majority want
You put rough prices on this and get some sort of approval
You narrow it down to one or two alternatives and get final buy-in


I've missed out a few steps, probably, but all this and more goes on in your head and you eventually decide on a place, a date, a cost, an activity, a payment plan, etc.

With a business plan, you do exactly the same thing only you make more notes. You don't rely on your own and others' memory, you make lots of notes, including the sources of your information.

Then you put your notes into a sensible order, put it in a nice binder and Voila! You have a Business Plan.

Don't make a deal of it. Just do what you are doing, make notes, prove every assumption you have with research, and that is your business plan.

You're doing fine, Dan.

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Old 17th April 2015, 06:21 PM   #43
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I have a friend that is one of the best I have seen at using Expected Value(EV) when analyzing a business idea. He seems to use it to his advantage and does well with it.

I have used a Business Canvas to plan a couple of businesses successfully and shoot a couple of ideas down.

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Old 17th April 2015, 06:53 PM   #44
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I have a friend that is one of the best I have seen at using Expected Value(EV) when analyzing a business idea. He seems to use it to his advantage and does well with it.

I have used a Business Canvas to plan a couple of businesses successfully and shoot a couple of ideas down.
Not so loud, you'll ruin the surprise for later.

But yes, since I took that class in the early '90s, things have improved. That gap between the idea and the plan is getting smaller.

I believe in business plans, don't get me wrong. I've seen businesses survive and do well without a typical business plan. I've seen business plans never used after they're created and the business is fine. I know a business plan is not always required. Those that don't use it could probably do better. Those without could use one.

A business plan is a tool. Every tool has a job it's intended for. Use the right tools for the job you need to do at the time.

Nice description, Frederick, of a non-typical plan. Most people are shocked when they hear what you said. I agree 100%, it's what you want it to be.

Health department? Good idea, so maybe I need to focus on what the local and state requirements are for starting a business of this type (licenses & certifications).

I'm getting ahead of where we left off, back to writing ideas down and what's next.

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Old 17th April 2015, 07:40 PM   #45
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Many cities - and I know Houston has - have a Business Opportunity Center. It's a section of the Trade Department. You'll find their number in the blue pages of the telephone directory.

They were called Houston OneStop when I used them a few years ago. You tell them what type of business you want to start. They will send you a Package of information pertaining to that business and industry. What regulations apply to you, what licenses you will need, and so on. The Works.

I will also recommend your local librarian. Every public library has a librarian and they are the most knowledgeable people in the world. They may not know everything but they sure know where to find anything. Tell them you want to start a business and they will answer or find the answer or point you to the people who can answer any question you may have.

Public librarians are the unsung heroes of the modern world.

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Old 17th April 2015, 07:56 PM   #46
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Reference librarians at business school/college libraries are your best friends, if you don't know that yet.

I have a few high school friends that are teachers and librarians now. They have friends and colleagues at other schools and know professors.

You could meet a future partner at a library conducting market research. You might be so efficient and grow a large enough network to start a market research company (a small service at first of course).

OneStop, I like the sound of that. I'll see what I can find on them.

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Old 19th April 2015, 08:31 AM   #47
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Here's the page I found:

http://www.houstontx.gov/hbsc/businessguides.html

Is this what you were referring to, Frederick?

I think every state has something similar...looking into that also.

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Old 19th April 2015, 04:31 PM   #48
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That's where I landed when looking for Houston OneStop. I guess they changed the name.

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Old 14th May 2015, 02:25 AM   #49
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Our relationship ended when the company fired their MIS Director and the newly appointed one, fearing the old one would hack into their servers, pulled the plug on the DNS server and in the process fried it. Their sites were down for 2 weeks. Fortunately I had copies of the 6 client sites we had at that time. I quickly moved them to another host, learned how to design myself and went on my own.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from taking the plunge. I just urge anyone thinking of throwing themselves into a new business, to look at the business from all angles before you decide that the business is right for you.

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Old 22nd May 2015, 01:26 PM   #50
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This is a great thread. If you want to start a business but aren't sure where, I would encourage someone to identify a potential field of interest and work in it for a bit while taking business or management courses on the side. That way, you'll gain some business knowledge and credentials while gaining practical experience in a field you're interested in. Win/win.

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