There are times when someone comes to us to setup a new business for them. Two of these businesses come to mind and both of them had merit. The clients have the plan that this will be the next step in their lives.
The first client was looking to start a window and door installation building. He was very familiar with the industry, having worked in it for a number of years. He knew which distributors to get the best products from. He knew which contractors that could install the product fast efficient and properly.
Having been let go due to an industry consolidation, he was really to take control over his destiny and start his own business. We worked with him to determine the optimal business structure.
We discussed what his next steps should be. He would be needing contacts for his clients and contractors. He would need to make sure he had adequate business insurance.
We discussed how the cash flow was going to work. What was the deposit structure for his clients? What would the credit terms for his distributors. What would be capital costs and at what levels. What were the risks he would be taking from a credit perspective? We spent quite a bit of time discussing how he should be proceeding.
We then discussed how he was going to market the business. All of the other parts are all well and good, but you need to have customers. Their plan was to do mass targeted mailings to the planned service area. He planned on developing centers of influence as well. We suggested that they contact building management firms for corporate clients.
Before the plan was put into effect, the client was taking an intro to motorcycles course and wanted to complete the course before starting off. Unfortunately the client contacted us about some tax issues in regards to an estate issue and never responded to any of our further inquires to see what was working or what was not working.
As far as I am aware they never filed a corporate return to recover any funds spent. We know the mailings were done, because our office was listed as the official address for the business and some undeliverable mailings came to us.
I liked the idea behind this business, because a more personal touch was being planned for the initial contact, the implementation and a follow-up after the work was completed. The focus was going to be on customer service not just the sale.
The second business was a senior concierge service. The idea behind this was the client lived in a building that had a significant amount of seniors and he knew that that they had the means and the need for assistance with various tasks for them on a day to day basis.
The tasks as outlined in the business plan were assistance with daily outside activities: such as chauffeuring services and assistance with doctors’ visits, grocery shopping,picking up prescriptions, running to stores for small items or picking up or dropping off dry-cleaning.
Those errands, duties and or services that take time to do and that can be outsourced or can be done with some assistance. Basically anything that was not in the realm of medically necessary responsibilities.
I had seen a comedy that had college kids provide basically the same types of tasks around the home. This fictional company was Chore-Weasel.
When we were working on the plan the client was unemployed. I loved the concept; I know that there is a need and children and grandchildren of the elderly don’t always have the time to provide the needed assistance.
I suggested that he hire a couple of college kids and put them on retainer so they would be available upon immediate notice.
Here was an identified opportunity, in a perfect beta site location to test out the concept. But the concept was never truly tested.
The client moved out of the building before he ever started the beta testing, and then located a full time job. They did an initial mailing and received some response. But never put the college kids on retainer so had to let the opportunity slide since they could not meet the client needs of daytime assistance.
This is one concept that I still think is needed and possibly more relevant today that a few years ago. Too bad my kids were not interested in starting this business, I tried to encourage them to try it.
It truly does take more than just an idea to get a business started. Beyond the initial excitement, there needs to be a commitment to following through on the plan. The plan may need tweaking as you find out what works and what does not work. Beyond that here has to be a true sense of commitment to make a real go of the business.
We enjoy working with start-ups, and most of them do get beyond the initial planning stages and grow and provide the living that the clients are looking for. Everything always depends on the goals, the commitment and the willingness to truly try.