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So You Want To Start A Business?

Author: Jaime Cole, Owner JT Properties & Staging + Perch

As a child I always dreamed of being a store owner or an architect who traveled the world exploring and designing beautiful spaces. In those dreams I was often flitting around a beautiful showroom, in a building I had designed, amid glorious clothing that would be on display for my endless customers to shop. But in reality I have always been way too practical to reach for such dreams.

Go to school, make the grades, get that degree in something that is “logical,” start that career and family…you know, checking all the boxes. Those are the things I actually did. I became a teacher, wife and mother and loved all those things, but I just wasn’t satisfied. Always there was a nagging of “but what if you weren’t so darn safe all of the time!”

With my husband’s encouragement I resigned my job as an educator and went out on my own to flip houses. From there we added staging to our services and now a new home retail store, Perch, coming soon (yippy!). Did I plan for any of that to happen? NO! Remember, I thought I wanted to own a clothing store. Go figure! I have maintained all along that none of this was my plan, I finally got past my own inhibitions and went out on a limb. God is doing the rest.

But how do you even start? The terrible stories about how businesses fail within the first 2 years of opening are all too prevalent. This was daunting and truly kept me from taking the leap. If you are a “rules” kinda gal like me, you need some structure to even know where to start.

Have a Team .

Team work makes the dream work, right? Honestly, it does! When you are first starting out you should first invest in the right professionals to set your business on a strong foundation. First, find an attorney who will advise you on the best way to structure your business in order to protect your own assets.

While I truly wanted to start a business, I was completely unwilling to put my family home at risk. Speaking with a trusted attorney who will help you determine how to set up your business is key. Do you need to establish an LLC, LP or C-Corp? All of that may sound like Greek which is all the more reason to speak with an attorney. And don’t be shy! Tell them exactly what you’re starting out to do and where you hope to go with your business. This will save you time and money in the long run if you are able to set up your business for the long haul. Most people who start a business will need funds to get started. It is crucial to find a banker who will work with you to find the best way to get started. Whether you need a start up loan or a line of credit to fall back on, find someone who is willing to discuss options that make sense for your business. There are often options that many are unaware of and a good relationship with a banker is key to finding those opportunities.

The next team member(s) you need will be an accounting team. Oh boy. This is the team I personally deal with the most! What started out as a simple, one stream business in my case has turned into several entities that have proven more complicated in the tax world than this brain cares to keep up with! For us, we first established who would be our overseeing accounting firm to whom we can turn to when questions arise. For daily running, we have established a whip-smart bookkeeper who is in the trenches and keeps the IRS happy. I love her. She is my life line.

Lastly, find other business owners who are willing to answer questions as they come along. I have been blessed to have friends who have started businesses and are always willing to answer questions, but none are in the same field to know specifics of our daily operations. For this, I searched for and became a member of an association in my line of work and have been blessed to have several business owners across the nation who collaborate and provide assistance when needed. And of course, you know The CONNECT is a great resource for like minded Boss Babes!

Now that you have a team to lean on you just have to take that leap of faith and get started! Doing the work of your business is usually the easy part. We start a business because it is something we love to do, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being a savvy business owner. This is the part that keeps businesses from succeeding because it doesn’t always come naturally. The business of running a business if very different from doing the work your company provides. Find your people, keep your eye on the dream and stay CONNECTED to other like minded business owners.

-Jaime Cole, Owner JT Properties & Staging + Perch

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