“There is only one reason for a business to fail: it is when the entrepreneur gives up.”
Adeo Ressi, CEO of TheFunded and The Founder Institute
If you think about it, the entrepreneur has the same power over the success of the business as the roots have over the tree. And if you are a motivated entrepreneur, who has made up his mind over starting a business in 2017 there is no stopping you.
We all have had a course of history in high school, right? Maybe even in college, too. American best-selling author Michael Crichton once said,
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”
What usually people don’t realize, is that history does not only teach us how not to repeat the past mistakes, but it also gives us the privileges of learning from the successful ones. When starting a business it is always important to learn from other’s success.
Derek Lidow is the author of Startup Leadership and was founder and CEO of iSuppli, which he eventually sold to HIS in 2010 for over $100 million. He said,
“Ultimately, to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be able to do ‘something’ better than anyone else, so keeping up with what are global best practices in the areas where you have experience and/or expertise is essential for keeping your entrepreneurial options open to you.”
Here are some of the inspiring and successful entrepreneurs, who all have climbed their way up on their own.
Who knows Wendy Kopp? She is the founder of Teach for America and now Teach for All. Surprisingly, she has never taught. Is it because she didn’t have the time or because she doesn’t have the ability? The important thing is that she has spawned a movement of teachers: people who never planned a career in education. Most of them are only experimenting and some of them stick with schools. But none of them forgets the experience. Wendy Kopp started to realize her dream in the late 80s. Now her company is internationally recognized in the education reform movement. As of 2015, Teach for America had $200 million in investments.
Wal-Mart. We all know Wal-Mart. We see Wal-Mart everywhere. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founded the company in 1962. He took a mundane business, rural general stores, and turned it into one of the world’s biggest and most influential companies. Sam Walton has one important rule,
“There is only one boss- the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Sometimes, coming up with ideas is the hardest part. And sometimes, people come up with careers and start a business with such ideas that sound weird at first. Sometimes maybe impossible. Vidal Herrera, nicknamed “The Dead One”, is the founder of 1-800-Autopsy which is run out of Los Angeles. He turned his personal tragedy and adversity into an important business, which helps many grieving families. Are you curious what he does? He says that wrong cause of death is written on death certificates in almost half of the cases. So he investigates deaths and finds the real reason behind the tragedies. Herrera has helped with over 19,000 autopsies. For the services he provides, he gets paid between $3,000 to $10,000. “They want to know the truth about what happened to their loved ones,” said Herrera.
Galileo Learning is considered to be one of the small giants of 2017: America’s best small companies. Gleen Tripp is the founder and the CEO and the company is in California. The company has 80 employees and if you knew how much is its revenue it would blow your mind: $21 million. Galileo Learning’s summer camps cost approximately $350 to $550 per week. Here children get the chance to create catapults and chalices and to construct a reinforce castle. The founder said,
“To be successful in the jobs of the future, kids need to be able to design and create.”
Liane Weintraub, a local TV reporter, and Shannan Swanson, Cordon Bleu-trained chef and former cook at one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants have the obsession that every mom has today: label reading and organic ingredients. Surprisingly there were not very many baby food brands that did the latter. So they took the chance of getting their hands dirty and started working on their baby food brand. Today the brand is carried at Whole Foods, Fairway, Tops, and other chains. After four years of its founding, the company turned a profit and is now worth $2,5 million.
According to Bloomberg, statistics show that eight out of ten entrepreneurs who decide to start businesses fail within the first 18 months. That is a huge 80%. So, you are really taking a risk when deciding to through with your dream of starting a business. However, there are steps that you can take for starting a business in California in 2017, that would somehow lessen your risks.
Step 1. Business Idea
Did you know that there are 3,5 million small businesses in California? Well, there also are twice as many employees. It is great that you have a business idea. Without one it is almost impossible to found a company in California. Vagueness is not your friend here. Make sure to build a solid map for your business idea.
Step 2. Business Structure and Register
After getting your business idea in its order, now it is time to decide which business entity is right for you. By choosing the right business type, you can reduce your personal liability, minimize taxes and ensure that your business is being financed and conducted efficiently.
Do you want to incorporate your business? Will it be a C-Corporation: an independent legal entity, separate from the people who own, control and manage it? Or will it be an S-Corporation: created by IRS tax election? What about Limited Liability Company (LLC), which offers personal liability protection? There is also Limited Partnership, General Partnership, Sole Proprietorship and Limited Liability Partnership. For a second, it might feel like a very hard decision to make. A business lawyer can help you choose the right business structure. An attorney can help you make smart considerations. Get to know Margarian Law Firm’s amazing lawyers. And later on, you will have to register it with the state.
Step 3. California Tax Obligations
If you don’t know what your obligations are as a California entrepreneur by now, get on it. Here is the California Competes Tax Credit. Then there is also the plethora of other state-level subsidies, incentives, and credits you can leverage. Do your research. Know your responsibilities.
Step 4. Licensing/ Permits
There is always the choice of simple business license. But depending on the kind of business you are doing, you might need different permits.
Step 5. Business Bank Account
You have your own bank account, right? Now your business needs to have its own. First, of, there are lots of benefits that you can get from it, depending on the institution you bank with. Besides that, it will ensure that your business financials are altogether safe and sound in one place. This is one way to keep everything organized with no misunderstandings. And you want to keep your personal and business assets separate: that way you are fully protected as a business owner.
Step 6. Location
Another important step of starting a business is deciding the location. Now, since all of this is happening in California, you got to find the perfect place for you. Which micro-culture fits your brand? Are you more of a Santa Barbara type of brand or a Bridgeport inland type? Maybe you want to pick the same zip code where you are registered? It might be a tough decision to make, but don’t sweat the small stuff.
Step 7. Finance or Bootstrap
No one commands a bigger slice of the startup era than California. I mean think about it. Where are the grants, VCs galore, angel investor networks, mammoth CrowdFunding and Social Lending communities? You are in the greatest place you could be for financing or bootstrapping your business idea.
Step 8. Business website
If a couple of years ago having a business website was not much of a big deal, now it is. In 2017 the process of designing, building and finally publishing a professional business website is easier than ever. And it is also cheaper. Remember, you got to have a website, at least a responsive one-pager. Through your website, you are going to gain potential clients. Also, your business website is the place where your customers can investigate your brand. Put a lot of hard work into this step, because if you build good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) through your business website, you will win big.
Step 9. Marketing
If marketing a product or a service is challenging, it is even harder in California. People have seen so much. And they still need to be amazed. As everything is moving from offline to online, many companies make the decision of focusing all their marketing activities on digital marketing. However, California gives you the opportunity to spread your wings and be wonderful. Just talk to your target audience with their own words.
Step 10. Starting a Business: Never stop learning
If you make the mistake of thinking you are doing great and can take a break to breathe, you will be out of the business in a second. California is moving, moving all the time. You need to continue learning and stay inspired all the time. That is how you will inspire California.
Starting a business is probably the most exciting and at the same time terrifying step to take. If you follow successful people and know the best practices of all times, you will see something that everyone has in common: authenticity. Stay true to who you are.