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Powerful Business Planning

Lesson 7 of 20

Protect & Stake Claim to Your Business

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Powerful Business Planning

Barbara Findlay Schenck

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Lesson Info

7. Protect & Stake Claim to Your Business

Lesson Info

Protect & Stake Claim to Your Business

Why use your own name? Somebody watched fearless marketing this wonderful a person whose name I'm drawing a blank on because he tweeted me yesterday he watched fearless marketing replay yesterday in which I say don't name at your own name name your business of business name and he said, well, ogilvy ogilvy and mather the great big advertising agency they used their own names, so I tweeted back they did but when you use your own name, it has no since the customer has no idea what kind of business it is and you can take you know jon jones accounting then they know it's accounting, but that also sounds like it's a real one man show it's not a branded business smokers and ogilvy and paul newman spaghetti sauce they've all built their names into brands, but they did it with enormous investment to build a brand that people understood. Most small businesses can't afford enormous investment so that's why I say really think twice about using your personal name is your business name reasons to u...

se it is that it conveys a personal promise. It says I stand behind this I am john jones accounting and I'll be doing your accounting and you can trust me that's a personal promise and a promise is essential to a brand it conveys that you're small and likely affordable that's first impression now you can build it into paul newman's spaghetti sauce but first things first it conveys that your small unlikely affordable be sure that that's the brand image you want out there it conveys personal service with no management layers of finger pointing and it builds awareness around one name only yours you only have to build search engine optimization around one name you don't have to worry about telling them. Oh, and you know, in my case, my name's barbara philly skank and I'm biz strong on twitter and online now that's another reason, though why not to use your own name? Guess what twitter on lee and allows all of a sudden I'm during a blank I think it's fifteen characters for a user name, so I can't use my whole name on twitter on top of that it's impossible to spell so this trump that's my name that would be a reason to move away, but but these air reasons why to use your own name why choose a name other than your own name? It conveys that the business is larger than one person. I am a fan of businesses that are larger than one person or at least look that way or could grow to be that way it establishes an expectation of professionalism and credibility that gets back to the slide I showed you last time about the freelancers guild research that shows that freelancers with branded business is so more hours for more money and have more credibility and enjoy their work more because they have a business that just comes with an expectation of professionals in credibility and research shows clients are more confident in choosing and expect to pay more to businesses than individuals clarification well what I want to trip up on all that you take that bacon asks can you explain profitability projection for photographers profitability projection would be and I think we actually do some projections a little later but how much money do you think you can make and that would be to say I think I can do five weddings for major corporate events and something else every quarter and each of those would make this much money times that by four I can bring in this much money a year now of that my expenses they're going to be marketing travel rant I'm going to need to lease some equipment whatever you subtract out all your costs and what's left is profit that's your profitability projection it's basically it's a little more complicated and that usually it's costs minus cost of sales so that would be what is film going to cost if you're shooting fillmore what's new lens rental or or equipment rental or whatever you're going to need all the costs involved to make that money is called cost of sales you subtract that out and that's called your gross your gross sales growth revenue and then you subtract out all your business expenses you rent your utilities, your cell phone bill, your insurance, everything else. Then you get down to the bottom line, which is your net and that's your profitability projection. So the main thing is, do your prices cover all the costs involved in cost of sales and all the costs involved in business expense? We also actually have a question from greg the greg he's obviously a freelance of some kind or doing consulting there saying, you know you cannot from max out of your hours, you know, you just basically run out of hours for billing services, even on high entertainers, so they're asking, would you suggest scaling up too build a company by outsourcing, perhaps or even minimizing your offerings? Would I suggest outsourcing or are scaling up to build the company? So maybe starting with outsourcing onda minimizing your offerings? Well, I would definitely suggest outsourcing because outsourcing, if you can I mean, I would suggest you do it with very clear organizational parameters that you do it with purchase orders. So you know what that person's going to charge you? You do it with a work for hire agreement so later they know that they don't own that work, that the work will be owned by you or by the client whatever your agreement with the client is you have to have all the paperwork in place, then you outsource and you get other people too, to help you do the work, basically. And you not only do you not only build them out and they do your work, but you do it with a markup and lord easy. W is asking that she's, saying she plans to start out with limited services, just as he was saying and then slowly expand to other planned offering says she built her business. How would you handle that in a business plan? Wolf from day one, I would say we are going to offer the following services. We're going to begin with these services because we think they're the ones number one that we can reach and serve the most easily reach cell and serve the most easily, and we they will contribute to the reputation we want to develop to get to the next level of client, which is going to take a longer decision process. It's all part of deciding the steps you want to take in developing sales is that answering the question did I understand that question right? I think, yes, it did. When they announce it made sense to me, I guess nora will tell us if it makes sense to have let us know. When it comes to names here's, the kinds of names you can come up with owner's name requires an investment to build it into a business asset if I need. When we built our ad agency, we didn't give it our name. We knew that somebody doesn't want to buy our name ultimately, so we gave it another kind of name. There are abbreviation names now the issue with those they're low recall or meaning without have the investment we all know ibm. What none of us know is what it took for ibm to turn international business machines in tow, ibm that we all know it was huge and it took decades, um, tied the geography. You hear this a lot, you know, pebble beach golf, you know, the pebble beach golf course good example, fine, but it does have limited growth opportunity if you name your cousin, your company, main street, dry cleaning, I don't plan to move it to the suburbs so tied to geography does have limited growth descriptive of you're offering conveys your brand or product per person promise great example, jiffy lube they need to explain nothing that's conveys brand or product purpose and promise borrowed interest reflects the brand essence and promise, but khun stretch to cover new products or business lines. People who are thinking that we're going to start with this offering, but we ultimately want to add a bunch of offerings like our last question are really smart to come up with a borrowed interest name that is elastic. Nike is a broad interest name. As a result, then even apple apple used to be apple computer. You know, they dropped computer as they came out with the ipod and all these other things. They're just apple. They realize their name was not going to stretch to all the new offering. So be sure you come up with a name that khun stretch and adapt to what you want your business to be, which gets back to that whole thing of your dream fabricated names. Here's. The cool thing about fabricated names google is a fabricated name. Microsoft is a fabricated name. Fabricated names are made up words that you can trademark, get the girl for and build a definition around ninety nine percent of all words in the english language is probably higher now are taken as domain names. So choosing a name for your business and expecting to get the domain name is very, very, very, very difficult. People are now getting domain names for their babies at birth so that they can get the domain name, so the nice thing about inventing a name. Is that you can come up with the trademark and you can trade market if you want to an almost for sure the girl is available be sure the name supports your brand image it is easy to say and spell unique and memorable translates well because especially this is really well it's really not just for english speaking names but it's primarily for english speaking name to be sure that when other it's translated into other languages, if you're ever going to go across borders that it translates well and be sure it's available and protectable which start by putting it plus dot com into the internet and see if anything comes up and if something comes up somebody has that name go to go daddy, do it again go daddy network solutions you know any of the name registries for free contest whether your name's available if the domain name is taken it's an uphill battle to get online recognition you can get a dot net, but most people are going to put in dot com so you're going tohave misdirected traffic, so find out if it's available if it's available, grab it online, grab it on social media and tomorrow we go through this again, but you can go to sites like name checked dot com in a m e c h k dot com put in the name you want every conceivable social network comes up and you can see if it's available or taken and all of those and you look for one that's not taken biz strong interestingly enough was taken on google plus it was their gmail it's the one place I couldn't get it so I used this strong resource is but by and large make sure it's available everywhere you wanted if it is grab grab it on online even before you registered anywhere else and make sure it's a name you can live and grow with once you grabbed it online the next way to protect your name and we might get to it later and if we do we'll blow through it then is to go to well even start with the u s patent and trade office uspto dot gov because that will tell you if in the us it's already taken as a trademark and if it's taken as a trademark in a field like yours you'll never be able to trademark it and you can be um approach for infringement on their trademark so try to avoid anything that's already trademarked and then once you think the names available registered in your primary place of business that means go to your state in the u s or in canada state or province corporate commissioner's office or secretary of state's office wherever business filings are held you could check the registry in your state register the name and all over the world you just go to your accountant, your attorney, the business development office in your country or province or territory and find out how you protect the name there and grab it you can't in the u s get a bank account for a business until you have a business name as you learned, which is why you ended up with your business name in the first place went to rename and this is for established businesses when to rename rename your business if it's misleading outdated no longer fits your offerings, their image or has negative connotations philip morris renamed taltree you win when the baggage is too much but sometimes it's not just baggage sometimes that no longer fits federal express became fedex when they realized in part when they realized that people thought fedex was a government service and they wanted it to be much more global and corporate and, uh consumer oriented than government, so they renamed it t u two fedex ups went from united parcel service to ups when they went into the business of logistics. So you re name at those points if the name is too long for most presentations and unavailable or un adaptable as a dot com domain name, think about run renaming if the name limits your business, geography or offerings if it forces you not to be able to make the changes because it just doesn't fit if jiffy lube wan to start selling cars, that name would be a problem if the name has trademarked conflicts and sometimes they come out of nowhere, you open a business, you've registered it, you've done everything else and you didn't realize that somebody else already had a trademark and I just in article actually and msn piece on a business called sweet indulgences that happened and they ended up working it out with the other business. But here's what to remember naming his hard renaming is harder if it ain't broke, don't fix it if it's broken, change it and this is it okay name available, so I did not go through through look ok, search your name online also search images see what comes up when you do an image search for your name because if it's awful, don't go with that name, you know an enormous number of image searches eventually moved to what you don't want to be affiliated with. So just look on the first couple of screens and search domain and social media name registries. Here we go, so network solutions and name check or two good ones search your state database of registered names screen the name with uspto gove, which is u s patent and trade office free free it is really for such a government sounding um uriel it's, a very user friendly site. Extremely user friendly and klayman registered asap. If it's available, do not wait there's still a giant land grab going on for names, especially online. Unless you use your own name, you have to register for a fictitious or assumed name at the county and or state level, depending again on your area, you know, back to the rest of the so and weird to go both in the u, s and around the world. Start with your banks. Banks are a wonderful resource for telling you. In order to get what they need. They'll tell you what they need to give you a business account, you can work backwards. Um, for broader a multi state protections in the u s followed the legal advice for us or international trademarks. And a really good resource is s p a dot gov, which is small business administration dot gov slash forward slash content forward slash registering hyphen, your hyphen business, hyphens state hyphen agencies. If you go to that site, s p a dot gov slash content slash registering your business state agencies with hyphens between them you can click on your state, and it'll tell you everything your state requires. So it's, a really good, easy resource and the u s patent and trade office will tell you how to get international trademarks, if you plan to do international business, register your dough name name protected across social networks and keep your registrations current and protected every three years, put it on your calendar bake sure thatyou renew that that domain name developed your visual identity. I don't care if it's a word mark a letter marker representative symbol a mark plus your business name, which would be, I guess nike nike has a full actually, this is just there's a logo, symbol, marker, simple pleasure business name or the avatar that will represent your brand online. Come up with it and your whole point is to build recognition of your name. So come up with one thing that shows up everywhere so that you're not always looking different everywhere, and I don't know that I have a slight on this, but also work if you give your business a name other than your own that you do some cross marketing in my case, if you put in biz strong, almost any result is going to say a small business resource center owned by and they'll have my name, and whenever you put in my name, it'll say a small business advocate at been strong so that you really cross sell them so that the search for either delivers results for both develop a tag line, especially if your name doesn't convey distinctions their character if you already have a name, you don't want to change, but it doesn't really quickly tell what your businesses or does consider a tag line if your name isn't available is a domain name, but the tag line is hawaii. If you put in go away dot com, it'll get you to the hoi visitors bureau. So nike, I did it just just to be sure if you just put in, just do it to get you to the nike site, they've just done a redirect on it. So sometimes if your name is a little problematic but not problematic enough to change it, consider coming up with a slogan that you could get around and to identify your brand in places logos can't go that used to be the signature of your email, but now you can put so much graphic in there, but there are still places that your logo is not going to go and you can send your tag line if you do. I'm not going to go into detail on the tagline attributes because it slides in the packet, but this is a friend of mine tagline guru dot com he did all the tagline advice for me in small business marketing kit, and if you go to his page, he let you take this free test to test the strength of your tag line. And it's kind of nice it's a fun test and his point is how well does it do on all of these characteristics tagline guru dot com this is why I was kind of racing because I want to have time to talk to you about the legal structure of your business these air your choices if you do nothing you're going to have a sole proprietorship it's the default structure you really have to do nothing, you get a business name, you open a business account and you have a sole proprietorship it also will go into the pros and cons of the next flights partnership is a business with two or more owner now it's a formal business with two or more orders. Although a sole proprietorship can be a business of a married couple, you can both run the business and violist soul corporation is the most complex structure. A limited liability company is a cross between a partnership and a corporation and it kind of gives you some of the protections of one and some of the flexibility of the other will go into that in a minute. An s corporation is a corporation but the owner versus the business receives and pays tax on profits. The distinction is a corporation pays its own taxes if you on a corporation your corporation pays taxes when you pay yourself you pay taxes again or when you distribute where as an s corporation you're paying on it all along its single taxation but when corporate tax rates and this is us tax talk and I apologize to everyone else but there's something similar that I guarantee you applies in every other countries this is why you need an accountant of attorney when you set up a corporation when corporate tax rates are very very high it's quite preferable to have an s corp when personal rates go hi it's and you can change them out will when we had the agency we changed it several times from escort to secret and then a cooperative is an organization owned for the benefit of its members sole proprietorship that's what most of you are going to have the advantages are it is simple the owner or a couple that files taxes jointly is automatically the sole proprietor the prophet is considered in text as personal income reported again this is u s tax reporting on the psi corps a cease schedule c on your tax return you only file one tax return it's your personal one and one of the pages is your business the disadvantages is the owner is personally responsible for everything for all debts, losses and liabilities if there's a lawsuit there's no protection if there's a bankruptcy there's no protection you own it you own all the profits you own all the risks and raises substantial funding is typically difficult, some people would say impossible. Very, very few major funders want to fund a sole proprietorship. Ah, partnership is also inexpensive to form, though I cannot strongly enough recommend legal advice to create a partnership pre nup, which is all kinds of things. Who owns what? Who does? What if one of us wants out what to see other one have to pay? It's called the buy sell agreement and it agrees in advance what a departing partner is going to get paid. Because it's amazing a departing partner sometimes what they end up thinking the business is worth at that point you wanted established early on. So there's no bickering during what's. Really usually an awful situation, you know often a difficult situation anyway. Partners share the financial risks and rewards partners each bring resources and talents, but unfortunately not always bring them with the same passion and intensity. Which is why this pre nup is so important. I'll tell you and peter would agree with me. In our years of consulting clients, we've seen more partnerships go wrong than right. So be very careful with this pre nup. The disadvantages owners are responsible for all debts, losses and liabilities, just like in a sole proprietorship the only difference is you're splitting it with someone the profits must be split so all of a sudden if it is profitable you're not getting to keep it all your partner gets part and if there are blind partners sometimes a partner who doesn't really participate but they helped you in the funding issue and the ownership sometimes that can be alone annoying decisions must be negotiated it's not quite as easy and not every small business person loves that kind of kind of layers of management and partner disagreements or life disruptions cannon a danger the business all of a sudden one of the partners is going through a health issue or a divorce or wants to move or whatever and it throws the business upside down ah corporation here the advantages it's an independent legal entity its owners of the shareholders when we had a business we were fifty fifty owners we each other fifty percent we were shareholders of that business it was its own legal entity shareholders have limited liability for the deaths and responsibilities of the corporation now a lot of people who loaned to a corporation want a personal guarantee they want those shareholders to sign a personal guarantee that they will maintain risk but you don't always have to say yes to that that's when you get your legal advice do I really need to sign a personal guarantee but if you don't sign a personal guarantee then you really are very protected from the liability or deaths that that company could that corporation could incur it is the preferred legal structure for raising business capital and it's perpetual and transferrable so when you decide to sell your company or one of the partners dies or leaves there anything else it is a transferrable the corporation keeps living and so it's very transferrable if you ever think about selling this is the smart way to go the disadvantages are it is time consuming and costly to establish anywhere in the world you're going to need legal at legalzoom those kind of websites can help you but it's worth it to get some customized advice it required reporting obligations you are required to turn in annual reports and quarterly reports and all kind things like that and something called in the u s double taxation where you get taxed once on the corporate profit and once upon distribution to shareholders limited liability and you hear this does anybody here have a limited liability and warren speak up if you have different thoughts on any of these one on one business one on one because they always heard everybody like the one on one course the least so call it something else anyway limited liability company advantages and disadvantages the company can be owned by an individual or a group of members so if you have a group of people this is an easy structure the profits past directly to the members so there's none of that taxation issue in that way it's like the sole proprietorship there's lower record keeping requirements and fewer financial restrictions than on a corporation disadvantages are the members are considered self employed and must pay self employment tax in the u s in some u s states elsie's automatically dissolve when one member departs, forcing the remaining members to start a new structure so it's worth it to talk to an attorney at a point like this and say is this the right structure? S corporation is a shareholder see the advantages are the shareholders personal assets are protected from creditors gives you corporate protection that unless you signed personal guarantees that again if you're particularly if you're putting a lot of your own if you're raising funds for your business and something goes wrong if it's not a corporate structure you can be held personally responsible this protects your business if you have a lot of personal assets it's really worth it to get your business out of your own financial ownership no income tax at the corporate level the revenues passed through the shareholders it is perpetual and transferrable an s corporation can be sold very easily and it has heightened credibility there's something about the word inc after a name you all know it's like a little their big competitors they're incorporated anyway disadvantages are complicated to establishing, operate required reporting and obligations no foreigner trust ownership so if you have a u s corporation has to be u s owned or u s s corp and no more than a hundred shareholders, so if you're ever really thinking about getting really large with multiple shareholders you have toe you have to move beyond s corp to see court and a cooperative and you know my guess is there are people in the audience in the studio audience who have cooperatives and I'd like to hear about a lot of our cooperatives, farmer cooperatives, agricultural cooperatives and the advantages are the profits were distributed to managers to members the cooperative remains intact even if members come and go it's an advantageous structure for raising grant funding, which is why a lot of theater type groups and artistic groups start co ops because it's easy to get them funded and most are structured as corporations even though they're corp cooperative and the disadvantages are there typically run democrats craddick, lee and that can really slow down decisions. So if you're trying to make really quick decisions, you're trying to acquire a theater space or something like that um cooperatives a tough way to go and they require member participation, but if what you're trying to do is get a bunch of farmers together to do a saturday market and pool resources and have a cooperative is a really good way to do it and a lot of people concerned about what happens in loss and damages except in sole proprietor tickle corporations or companies where business will business insurance cover all those things I mean, are you protected against loss damage except if you are the sole own business insurance is liability insurance, so you have to carry the liability insurance and to the degree that your policy covers the claim, it doesn't matter if you're so proprietorship and you have it, you're going to have the coverage. The problem is, um liability insurance often doesn't cover everything and the sole proprietor is responsible for everything elsewhere as a corporation is going to protect the sole proprietors interests um the sole proprietor, it'll be the company that can you hear the term deep pockets deep pockets people want to sue for deep pockets they want to sue the biggest corporation because they can get the most out of it, but at the same time the sole proprietor wants their business to be the deep pockets so that it gets sued and they don't. So really it comes down to who owns the liability policy regarding what liability what insurance is going to cover but even in a corporation you might on your car personally, you might have a corporation on your car personally and carry personal insurance on your car that's going to cover an accident in your car but any deductible, anything not covered, you're going to cover personally, whereas if you're corporation on the current policy, your corporation would cover those things. I know. I think insurance is something worrying I am. Nikki she's asked quite a few questions about it, so I think it's not the cover all if your company goes down the tubes that don't think insurance is going to save the day that I think it's better to have a business plan in place in the first place? Well, it is s and an insurance is an important thing that the hard thing is, like even, for instance, disability insurance. A lot of sole proprietors want to get disability because if they're disabled, they want tohave revenue, and yet you really need to get very close consultation from your insurance agent and even your attorney to find out is what you do, what is considered disability when what you do is use your brain, you know, even if your body is disabled and you can use your brain, is that going to qualify for the disability that kicks in the premiums? I'm not saying it is or isn't I'm saying each policy is different and it's a really reason to get the legal advice before you proceed with issues that are so important benefits corporation. And we're now going up on wikipedia is no, I'm not I'm trusting that apparently I'm dead on wikipedia but it's something I'm going to go just went about my pay grade somebody is it's like a green designation for green businesses but it's a it's a new type of energy that's come along in last few years okay, but a question that she sells his ass term is saying if you start with one type of structure, how difficult is it to switch to another as you change and as you grow it's not difficult at all to switch between b and, uh sorry between s and c corporations I mean it's paperwork and you get your attorney involved if you were trying to switch from sole proprietorship to a corporation it's just like establishing a corporation the first time round you have to put together all of the articles of incorporation and name the shareholders who owns what amount all of that type thing is that it's not the easiest switches to go between this corporation and c corporation because you're already established as a corporation and the easiest of all is simply to establish a sole proprietorship but it's the reason a lot of people don't establish a sole proprietorship cause it's the hardest way to build the business into an asset and even if you do to recoup the value of that asset because people want to buy a corporation a follow up question also from she sells is saying do you need to register or trademark your logo's your tag lines except in the same way that you would your business name and if so is there a process for that first of all if you are doing business in one locale in one regional market it's certainly less of a need if you're doing business across state lines a trademark becomes more important and certainly a across country lines um a trademark is not all that easy to get and trade marking your logo and you could get what's called a common usage trademark and and that's really carefully detailed in branding for dummies and small business marketing kit for dummies actually in all three of these any of these books detail how to go about getting trademarks but the main thing is if you are going to do business across state lines and outside of your market consider a trademark if you really want to protect the name if it matters to you that someone's going to use that name um if you're building a twitter you for sure want to trademark it because you want to be sure that forever you wanted everywhere but a restaurant on the corner I think it might be more important just to get it registered seek legal advice um prepare for taxes and regulations every small business absolutely has to do this you have to pay in the u s at least and pretty much anywhere else income tax based on income after deductions self employment tax in the u s on social security and medicare primarily her self employed individuals employer taxes if you're an employer you have to withhold employees taxes and then make sure you pay them after you withheld them excise tax taxes and this is where your accountant is invaluable and city county state sales taxes that very by location start with that s p a website start with your bank, your accountant and your attorney get the information you need for what applies in your country your state, your region, your city and make sure that you are addressing taxes and regulations licensing requirements, accreditation requirements, regulatory requirements and another good place to start with this is is your your industry association in our case it was the american association of ad agencies you know everyone has you can put in almost even put in golf course association and up comes what you know business advice for people in that arena so find out professional certifications requirements when to get professional advice when forming a corporation, llc or partnership especially with a non family member when setting up for regulations and taxes it's what I called it the ounce of prevention is worth an hour with an attorney we're starting a business what do we need to do for advice and information, ask your accountant, your attorney, your state secretary of state, your corporations or commerce office goto irs dot gov slash businesses or espy aig of content learn about your state local tax obligations the's of slides will be in the purchase pack so if you want to refer to these later but these air really good places that give you total checklists of what you need to do to protect your business and then set up your financial network. The main thing is and this is what the next session is all about is money. Establish a business checking account at a diff her bank than where you do your personal banking. This gives you two sets of banking relationships if you ever need loans, establish a business credit card that you pay with business funds, established a business mailing address and confirm that you have sufficient liability insurance ah ha there's the insurance I don't know what is sufficient for your business. This is another thing to start with your count an attorney over check your credit ratings free once a year, go to annual credit report dot com and look for heirs that could harm your business ownership or your request for loans or anything else. Check your credit court score the espy requires a fi co federal insurance anyway fight go score of seven hundred, seven hundred for loan consideration find out now before you need alone it takes it's free and instantly with a cancel membership you go to myfico dot com obtain an e I n which isn't employee identification number once you've established your name and business structure as a super party you can use your social security number. Why would you? Well, you would because you haven't gotten an employee identification number in lots of us have but nonetheless it takes moments it takes absolutely moments to call this number or use that irs form this is us again and get an employee identification number it just looks more professional for one thing it's optional but advisable for sole proprietors and elsie's do that and your structured for success it's heavy lifting once are you going to do it? Are you going to set your business is up and get out of your checkbooks because that's what the next sessions all about finances making money managing the money okay? And I think that told us it's time way have a few questions money is a good thing and we're going to talk about that a lot in the neck section. So I think thiss section has been really great for the nuts and bolts of how to build that business I think what barbara's covered who has been really important to those basic stepping stones of what you need to do to really get established because making money is what it's all about at the end of the day and and everything that we've covered it is really important, especially for all of us creatives absolutely that we need those nuts involved. For now, we do have a lot of questions about various different things that you've talked about in this section so that if there is or there random but just starting here with rainy day stores asking what you think of vision boards now again, I'm not sure that maybe means by vision borders that resonate with you well, I think it's just where you put every idea on a board and then you start to move them into oh, I would think he was more like I'm an advisory board. So it's store reporting your business, right? You know, I think as a team building exercise as a brainstorming exercise, it's very good. The thing about visioning is make sure that nobody's there saying that's a bad idea, but rather really playing out every idea and and that tell him to be back in touch if that's not what she meant by this visioning boards and we'll do that would make sense, and we're saying as I plan for my business, I feel overwhelmed with how many questions come up when I realized there is so much that I don't know, so they're finding this course, extremely helpful into into building that we heard from cedric in switzerland this morning, they're saying planning for the next steps for which I have good confidence is one thing planning and estimating sales and costs for three years from now, on three product generations from today, it feels like throwing random estimates into the wind, so that is really where the planning andi becomes soon, and I'll talk about that in the next session, because certainly it is projections as all it is you're making projections, but I will tell you the easiest way to project is to look at your sales history. We're going to go through this in the next session look atyou transfer the past three years if you don't do anything different, those air you trends for the next three years of your roots of losing money, you're going to keep losing money. If you're barely making money, you're going toe keep barely making money unless you do something different. We'll talk about that video guy. This might be a little bit of a clarification from what we just covered, but asked if it appears he's in an s corporation, do I use my e a n or my social security, or or ten ninety nines? So I'm not sure that sound I don't know where the ten, ninety nine this whole thing if you have a corporation you have a corporate number then e I think that is your e I n but that's the number you use you wouldn't use in a corporation your social security number okay and his other question about ten ninety nine do you have to issue ten ninety nines to anybody in the u s that you pay over a certain amount of money to a year that's really a differentiation that's in your account helps you with great thank you now are students of course came here today with various different stages of where they are find founding their businesses where they are actually creating the ideas, et cetera what from this particular sessions and they leapt out to give the u s have questions or you just like a comment or thought everyone nodding who wants to go first having been petite please have some questions about the finances but I think we're moving into that because I have my business and my personal at the same bank and I only have one credit card but when I do business expenses on the credit card I pay from my business account and when I have personal expenses I pay for my personal account and I actually don't pay myself a salary from my business account I have personal savings but then I just let my business grow so it's creating some question marks in my head about how to restructure my my finances in terms of the first part of your issue of having both both accounts of the same bank there's nothing wrong with that. The important thing is you have two different banks you have a deep relationship with one bank it's just if you think in the future you might need loans or a larger banking relationship it's kind of nice to have two points of contact it's not essential regarding one credit card you're not alone. Lots and lots of people have that you just have to be very, very diligent every month to go through and, uh either pay them with a personal loan or I mean, pay them with a personal check you basically sending two checks or you send in one check and then you basically loan the month I do it as a loan sometimes when I used my personal account it is better to have a business card. The reason it's better is liability if later you can show these were all business account, these were business expenses. It just shows your businesses a more independent entity particularly important if you have a corporation made but the main thing is itemize and make sure you're capturing your business expenses even if you're paying them on that personal card or do you have any thoughts or questions no I mean I'm in the process of establishing a partnership right now so you know we looked at the various entities and the question with any form of organization is cost so sopa potter's free and as you go into those other structures there's annual fees that you have to pay so you know once the revenues are in place and once you're comfortable with that then you can go up I mean so protection is low liability is high but as you kind of go down the funnel to the other options that dynamic flips but if it's a partnership you can't do a sole proprietorship unless it's filed on a on a personal return right? So if it's with the same person you file jointly with fine you can do a partnership through not a partnership but you can have two owners of a sole proprietorship if it's various taxpayers each filing differently then you need a formal partnership and that's what we've done yeah with myself no you have to say yes I really really want people to have by selling in a while since I read the paperwork but I believe it's ok because I cannot tell you how many people go into a partnership it's just like a marriage they are so happy and then all of a sudden it sells and when you you know buy sell agreement says when it sells the value of the company is the value of assets minus worth or whatever whatever agreement are at assets minus liabilities time one hundred ten percent or whatever you decide but if that's not established it's amazing the fights and the legal dollars that gets spent trying to figure out how to let this person out of the business and who conveyed by their share of the business that's the other thing law practices really have toe settle bit this so that the individual shareholder in the partnership isn't selling there's a partner you don't even want so you're about to sound morbid but for too many people death is the exit strategy exactly and then other people who are not involved who are tangentially involved might be a relative no husband or wife let's say I want a piece of it right? So if there's no buy sell agreement it creates all these legal and financial complications that don't need to be there if you've done the planning in advance I think more structural problems happen out of partnerships because you know the idea of handshake is really beautiful we all want to think we can just go into the handshake agreement and that's how much we trust each other and and trust what is the word trust and verify trust but verify it's worth it to have it in writing and you know it's money you spend once there are a lot of forms that you can you can you know, obtain online and get uh even as the framework so you go into an attorney very well prepared and use the very least amount of available attorney time. We actually have a question about taxes from christine in l a she's asking as the sole proprietor are you talks on growth or not? You are text on profit profit and it is your obligation as a uh as a sole proprietor to make his much money a cz you can and deduct absolutely every possible business expense. So you reduce that profit down to the lowest possible amount to pay your taxes on so much so that in selling your business for dummies there's a whole chapter on what's called sellers discretionary earnings because when you get ready to sell your business in fact you ad back in aa lot of the things that you deducted as legitimate business expenses from car fees you know from from car expenses to certain membership subscriptions things that you bought because you felt they made your business better. But they also were benefitted your life and that recast number called sellers discretionary earnings becomes the basis on which to sell your business but that's not the basis to pay taxes on you pay taxes on revenues minus every conceivable legal legitimate business expense backed out and then in the end that's your net revenue or net profit and that's what you that's what you pay tax there's been a lot of comments about taxes just in general and does dubious echoing exactly what we're almost saying actually when you switch from being s to see a pairing, the building gains tax they're saying can be devastating is that something has to see built in gains because you do pay man guess what accounts on attorney this is when you go get the help and this is why you don't do it last minute you really plan in advance there's something called re casting a balance sheet a lot of times they'll have you back out certain things before you sell a business you offer back out certain assets that you know it's all totally legal to do but you do it the legal advice and and not advice from from just somebody over the dining room table you go get professional advice professional verse is always good it's not always what we want to pay for its office here okay? And I'll tell you we're going to come back and talk about forecasting and planning for the money you'll need and where it'll come from including a run down of the ten ways owners fund their plans then we're going to talk about making money pricing, billing, collecting, controlling costs, boosting boosting profits and gaining profitable customers, which often means helping to help unprofitable clients find somewhere else to do business

Class Description

Tens of thousands of new small businesses are started every year -- does yours have a concrete plan in place to ensure it succeeds? Join marketing strategist and small business advocate Barbara Findlay Schenck for an introduction to fast-track business planning.

Throughout this course, you’ll learn how to write and implement a business plan by clarifying your goals: how much time you have to devote to your business, how many people need to buy your product, and how much money you’ll be able to make. You’ll also learn how to set up your business legally and legitimately -- without dipping into your personal finances. Barbara will also cover the marketing and finance skills every small business owner needs to know.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a smart, strategic plan for starting, managing, and growing your business.


a Creativelive Student

Really looking forward to this course with great anticipation to learn how to put a comprehensive business plan together for a full-time & part-time wedding & portrait photography business, what are the important steps involve to create a business plan and what all should be included in such plan, when or if you should amend your business plan, should you have two business plans (a simple plan & a very detail plan).

Christina Majoinen

This course was great. I'm at the very beginning stages of creating my business, and this course really helped me to think through everything I need to plan for.


Great class!!