7 Tips for Starting Your Own Business

by Vault Careers | December 02, 2011

While a bad economy left two successful photo agents without work, it did not leave them without hope.  Bucking the trends where a picture may still be worth a thousand words, but no longer worth a thousand dollars, Katie Ryan and Kristy Caruso have created a new grassroots-based photography agency, K2 Creative Management, on the simple philosophy that great art plus genuinely good people equals big success.  Save the drama for your mama.

The genesis of K2 Creative Management came from a road trip the duo took after leaving their former agency.  From a quiet resort in Portland, Oregon to the colorful streets of San Francisco, where Kristy and Katie watched the world change with the election of Barack Obama as president, the New York City residents returned with renewed vigor and the knowledge that the photo industry was also due for a change.

But a desire to work together is not enough to create a successful business.  Here are some tips they have gathered from their own experience that should help potential business-owners prepare for the process of creating their own start-ups:

Come to an Agreement.  You and your business partner should work out some sort of agreement that sets the foundation for how you will conduct business together.  Try to cover all the bases, including what might happen if anyone wants out of the business arrangement.  Chances are, your business partner is also a friend and hammering out an agreement ahead of time can help maintain the friendship if the business dissolves. 

Choose Your People.  You should select an accountant, bookkeeper, and lawyers before you start your company.  These are the people that will shape the direction of your company based on your financial and legal needs and will be as instrumental to the continued success of your business.  Don’t rush into this decision.  You should conduct in-depth interviews with anyone that holds the financial and legal aspects of your business in the palm of their hands. 

Set a Budget.  Decide on what you can spend before making money and stick to it.  Whether you're investing your own money or applying for a loan, be realistic.  Prior to starting a business, decide on what you need for continued day-to-day operations.  Will you need computers?  Will you need certain programs?  How many staff members will you need at the start (don’t overhire)?  Remember, you need extra money for the accountant, bookkeeper and lawyers, so make sure there is room in your budget for some flexibility.  You don’t want to dip further into your own personal financial resources.  That’s when your company will start to spin out of control.

Know About Accounting and Taxes.  Don't just assume you can hire people and they will take care of things for you.  They can, and will...but it's your business, know where your money is going and why.  A good business owner should understand every facet of the company so there are no surprises. 

Know Your Market.  You should know all the players in your specific industry and how you will be able to interact with them – from clients to customers. Understand completely what you can provide and how you can provide it.  Don’t overshoot and try to satisfy everyone.  Knowing your limits will help you maintain your focus as you move forward in the early stages of the business.  You can adapt and expand later on.

Check Your Ego At the Door.  Regardless of what industry you work in, sales is important for your business to grow.  You will be selling yourself and your business at all times.  In the process, you’re going to experience a lot of rejection.  Don’t take it personally.  Don’t let it discourage you. 

Don’t Give Up.  When things get hard, keep working.  It will all be worth it.  The minute you start doubting is the minute your company will start losing any momentum.  Times will be tough, but if you stick to your goals and make small adjustments along the way, you have a better chance of succeeding. 

For more information on K2 Creative Management and their thoughts on starting a business together, check out their blog at http://wp.me/pQmIn-by. 

--Jon Minners, Vault.com

Filed Under: Networking | Workplace Issues


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