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    19 Replies Latest reply on Jan 29, 2009 9:49 AM by NanoTech

    Guidance for young entrepreneur

    NanoTech Wayfarer
      Good morning everyone,

      Until a few months ago my only concern was not to get shot while I was deployed. Now my concerns have changed to wheather I will make this months rent.
      I was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force for 8 years, and I could no longer continue with the never-ending deployments. Therefore I have decided to open up a computer IT/consulting business.
      Fortunately I ran into great qualiy people (to include my landorld, God Bless her). I have a few people that work for me, and they are all doing it for "Free", yes "Free" we have to an agreement that we all going to work for the business until we have enough capital to stabilize things, officialy hire them. Everyone here is dedicated to the business, so much that a couple guys have sold their own computer parts, and asked nothing in returned, because that is how they contribute for the business growth, sacrificing their own.

      Long story short. I need some guidance. I have the personality, and resposability to lead people, but i need for some business owners to show me light at the end of the tunnel, honestly i dont know where/what to do.

      Im sure all business have started this way. Unfortunately, not all have started during this crisis in the economy, so Im just asking for guidance from the biz owners that have been around the block already.

      Thanks for your reading, and your comments in advance.
        • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Guidance for young entrepreneur, Welcome Fernando

          Glad you are back from the U S Air Force. The BEST source of Guidance is SCORE.

          SCORE is FREE both in person and on line. They can help you with a Business Plan, A Marketing Plan and even a Cash Flow report. Do you have an Accountant??

          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
              NanoTech Wayfarer
              Hi Luckiest,

              Thanks for taking the time to read my thread, and for welcoming me back!
              The webiste you are talking about must be score.org, correct? I just googled it, and that was the first link that came up.
              I already have the business running, and had a business plan already. (im sure it needs a review though). Lastly, I do not have an accountant, and Im really concerned about the taxes, and that stuff that comes along with it.
                • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                  bytesngrins Newbie
                  Welcome back and thanks so much for your service.

                  Going on 20 years in business there are things I should have done at the very beginning. My advice, first of all, before you wake up tomorrow is to arrange at the very least a consultation with an accountant. You want to free up your mind and ideas for other details of your business and don't want to start off with problems with taxes, FICA wages and money management worries.

                  If you are already selling your services be aware of sales taxes on local sales and set aside any taxes you collect so you won't be caught without the funds when it come time to pay them. An accountant can help you set up a budget for your projected needs.

                  Look at local business associations and attend breakfast meetings. Networking can open many doors and possible business associations.

                  Carry your business cards with you at all times and don't be afraid to hand them out at every opportunity, even socially. That is a very inexpensive marketing tool.

                  And yes SCORE is certainly worth visiting in your area. Retired business men & women can give you guidance and valuable ideas.

                  Tell us more about exactly what you do. Do you have a website?

                  Good Luck.
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                      NanoTech Wayfarer

                      Hi Bytesngrins,

                      First of all, allow me to apologise for my horrible grammar throughout my intial post. I was frustrated!
                      Second of all, thanks for taking the time to reply to my post.
                      In regards to your post, should i look for an accountant or is there a less expensive way to keep track of all of it (i.e. I've been using, Quicken 2008 and Small Business Accounting 2009) - At this point it is less expensive for me to use these products.
                      I always do carry my business cards with me, but don't always hand them out, specially during social events, but i will start to do so from now on.
                      I will also look into SCORE as i've told lucky, soon enough.

                      As far as the type of business. It is a called NanoTech Computer Consulting LLC. Its a computer business made to support small to medium size business in the technical field, but at the same time provide the local community with our IT services, which include from a simple cleaning of a computer to setting up a comple server room and its peripherals respectfully, and is not limited to the web service, e-mail, hosting, and others, well thats all in a nutshell. Pretty much, im tired of hearing people complain about the fact that they are mistreated or straight up ripped-off and on top of that put on hold until their computers are fixed for the next two weeks! I have competent Tech's that can push 48hour turn-around on the majority of the computers that come in, and so far, the complaints that we get are that we are pretty cheap!...and that throws me off at times.

                      Here is the website www.nanotechcomputers.net
                      Thanks a lot for your help Bytesngrins, and hopefully one day I'll be able to say "going on 20 years in business" as well
                        • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                          DomainDiva Ranger
                          Hi Nano,

                          First ((((((((((((((Nano the Soldier)))))))))))))))

                          Our team understands 'free' even though we had some angel money, our programming costs would have run into the millions if we had used ouside help.

                          Using Quickbooks or other accounting software is great, but make sure you set aside all tax monies that you collect and don't forget to pay monthly. Do look for an accountant that may want to come on as an officer of the company. Then you would have this covered as well. (It's what I did).

                          I am assuming you have a business entity set up. If so, give your people a 'stake' in the company with stock. Don't be stingy.

                          The first thing you have to concentrate on is keeping the team together and working towards the same goals. Let your team see that you are out there in front..taking the risk so that they can concentrate on fixing things....

                          You need customers... put up a flyer or card in the grocery stores, hair salons, barbershops and talk to other computer businesses about handling their 'overflow'. If you attend a church, put something in the bulletin, be sure to put the cost per hour and what services you provide.

                          Complaints are a part of a service business. Sometimes you have to grin and bear it...other times, just fire the customer, take a hit and walk away. You can't please everyone, there are customers that are never happy with anything at all...even when it's perfect.
                            • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                              NanoTech Wayfarer
                              Hi Diva,

                              Thanks for the soldier compliment!
                              I have set the money aside for the taxes already, but I'm just having trouble getting attention from the public and companies.

                              Much of the way I run my business I have learned it from the USAF, really. The discipline and everything else that comes along with the military is what i have implemented it here in NanoTech. Everyone has a job, and all have been given a 'stake' (English is my second language, so don't laugh, lol). Point being we all know that we have a future here, because of the location, the way I've set things up, and of course, because of my right hand man,and his ideas... I'll call him the IT-Guru "he has extensive IT experience, 15+ years, and has worked for places such as CNN as their IT consultant in Latin America.
                              One of his concepts is 48 hours turn-around on any machine, which we have been doing so far, and the only complaint we get, is that we don't charge enough! but yes, I've made sure that we are all in this together and have company stock in one way or another.

                              Thanks a lot for giving the answers I was looking for Diva, I really appreciate your time and assistance with my concerns.

                              Nano.
                        • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                          funds2924 Wayfarer
                          Welcome back thanks for fighting for our country. It is truly very rough out here trying to run a business and raising capital but you must beleive in what you are doing and stay committed. Check out this shoe string business www.innovativereturns.com all my ventures were started on shoe string budget so trust your heart and instincts and you will succeed.
                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                        Siondo Wayfarer
                        Hi NanoTech

                        Starting a new business can be frustrating and you will have many ups and downs along the way but you are going about things in the right way. The most important thing is to stay focused on you customers and provide them the best level of service available and your business will grow. Also you have a great story to tell as their are alot of small businesses that are in the same situation as you and would also love you hear your story.You should look at setting up a blog and tell your story as well as make your business more personal it will also attract attention to your business.

                        In terms of what you offer there are alot of online companies that are looking for companies like yours to promote their business to your customers. This helps you in two ways 1 it increases your product portfolio and 2 you can also earn revenue from commission.

                        If I can connect you with anyone please let me know

                        I hope this helps.
                          • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                            NanoTech Wayfarer
                            Hi Siondo,

                            You know, I guess starting a blog is not a bad idea. I will work on that as well. Do you recommend to have one with my own domain name or free domain, and I wasn't sure wether to post in the blog my story. I think that people might believe that I'm abusing the fact that i was in the military for my own personal good, and i don't want that idea to cross their minds.
                            So what should i post, would YOU OR ANYONE be offended if i put that in the blog?

                            Yes, please if you know of any on-line companies that you can refer me to that would be great.

                            Thanks for your help Siondo,

                            Nano
                              • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                                Siondo Wayfarer
                                Hi Nano

                                A blog is a great way to promote your business. I am not saying that you should abuse the fact that you were in the military but you have left the military and are now trying to set up a business if a very difficult economic environment and I am sure there are quite a few people in the same situation who would like to hear your story. But the primary purpose of the blog is not about you personally but used as a tool to promote your business and the products and services that you offer. So I would use your story as an introduction. Blog about your staff members, events you have visited other companies that you are interested in or have found interesting.

                                A blog should be an extension of your business so it should be branded into your business in terms of look and feel and what you are trying to do.

                                We use http://www.blogger.com/ which is the google blogger on our site http://www.siondo.com/ but it is branded to our own company an integrated into our site. This is easy to do and this link should help you on your way.

                                http://www.wolf-howl.com/seo/integrating-blogger-into-your-website-part-i/

                                In terms of companies we offer a commision based reseller program for our business software other companies include www.aweber.com and jamcracker.com offer a portal with web based software offerings where you would act as a reseller for comission.

                                What is also good to do is work with local business that can offer products or services that compliment you ie wed designers, marketing, advertising, developers, telecoms etc

                                Hope it helps
                                • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                                  DomainDiva Ranger
                                  People like to know WHO they are dealing with...working with customers on technology is a 'personal' thing. Put your bio on the page and be sure to post a link on your profile here in the community so we can all stop by and say HI! Also put your other team members on the page(s) as well and highlight their skills and personalities.

                                  TypePad and Blogger have free blog pages.

                                  Good Luck. DD
                                    • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                                      NanoTech Wayfarer
                                      That's also a great idea. I'm not sure if you have visited our website, but I will make sure to make the profile changes to reflect a more 'personal' environment.

                                      Oh yeah, I will definitively update my profile. Now that I see that this community is here, and actually helps out in between each other.

                                      Thanks a mil Diva, AND TO everyone else that has posted to my reply.

                                      If you have more ides, please post it!

                                      Nano
                                • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                                  bmt2008 Adventurer

                                  You need business. Get out there and get the business. Who are your customers? Where do they find information about your type of services? If you can answer these questions, then get in front of the potential customers and sell your services. Get out there and knock on doors - network in your community - join local social groups. Get your face and name out there.

                                   


                                  Then, do what you say you are going to do! Thus, these customers will come back as well as tell others.
                                  • Re: Guidance for young entrepreneur
                                    NanoTech Wayfarer
                                    I'm still looking for answears that will help me introduce the company to the local area.