Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lost Your Job – Consider Starting A Business by Walt Barrett

This could be the best time.
Unfortunately, many people have recently lost their jobs, and many more people are about to lose their jobs. My view is that as long as you work for someone else you are never secure. Today you are nothing but a number in the corporate book keeping system. You are seen either as an asset, or a liability, nothing more. There is no future in that. So if you are already out of work anyway, I see it as an opportunity to finally have the time to start a business. So you say, yes, a good idea, but I don't have any money. I say well maybe that's a good thing, and you say “That Barrett guy is nuts!” Well maybe you have to be! It depends on your attitude.
Why do I say not having any money is a good thing? Because I have have seen thousands of start ups that were totally funded fall flat on their Fannie's! Here's one version the scenario. The people get the money through a loan, or relatives, or a combination of both. The first thing they do is run out and rent a fancy string of offices . The second thing they do is to fill the office with a lot of fancy gadgets, and expensive phone lines and people. The third thing they do is run out and spend a mint on fancy cars and trucks. Now that they have spent a major portion of their start up capital, they finally realize that they have spent a ton of money, and have not made a cent yet, and I haven't even mentioned the salaries. This is what I call putting the cart before the horse. Many people will disagree with me, and say I am dead wrong, but I do not agree, because, I have seen it too many times. The cold hard truth is that “Overhead is the monster that eats businesses!” Take a look around you right now. Companies that were loaded with dead wood for fifty years are finally waking up to the “facts of business” that they have long since ignored. Many of these companies have left the scene already, and many more are to follow. Well, enough of that.
Here is my suggestion. First of all we'll assume that you have very little money but you really, and truly want to own a business. Rule number one is that if you have a job, don't give it up unless you are really don't need money to live on, lol. It is always best in my opinion to start off part time, and give your idea a test run because start ups are rarely overnight success stories. Rule number two is that as long as you have a choice, do something that you are positive you will enjoy doing. The idea is that if you are going to do all that work, it better be the kind of work you like. If you have a hobby, or skill that looks like it could be a money maker, then you should give that idea serious consideration. Look for a business that requires as few employees as possible to start out with, or better yet a business that you can do alone at least to get it off the ground. Then, you start off small, and learn the ropes about stretching your money, and keeping the overheard low. Unfortunately, many employees have no idea of the costs involved just to keep the doors open on a business. Home business are the best to start off with, and learn with because they have the lowest overhead of all. You will need a first class accounting system too. We use Quik Books because it is an excellent system, and simple to use it you take the time to learn it. If you have to, get someone who knows the system to help you set it up correctly. That is the secret. If you do not want to keep books, and carry all your money around in your pockets you will surely fail. I have seen it a hundred times. I have seen many a man wine, woman, and song his business into oblivion! I'll bet you have too.
So what really makes a business tick? The short answer is by giving people what they need, and want for the best possible price, best customer service, and by working hard at it. There is no long answer, it's that simple.
You may have to test many ideas before you hit pay dirt. You might have a brand new idea for a product, or service, or you might just copy another successful business. There has always been a lot of that lately, and that is why some businesses are so fragmented, too many fingers in too many pies. I remember when McDonald's first came to our state. Within a year we had at least four copycats. People always need the basics of food, clothing and shelter. In these troubled times, selling them any other product requires a great deal more effort. One thing that I have learned from the Internet business is that the easiest way to reach the most people is through a site like (is free) or These are all great sites. I do not work for them, and I am not plugging them. eBay is a simple fact of life. If you have a product you want to sell eBay is the least expensive way to reach the most people. eBay is also the best way to do market research on a product. If you want to test a new product, or price structure, put it on eBay. You will get your answer in a big hurry, and eBay also publishes free statistics on what the hot selling items are. So lets just say you are really broke but you want to start a business. eBay may be your answer. You can go out and scrounge around for a few interesting items at garage sales etc.,and sell them on eBay for a very small fee. I say the if you can make even twenty percent over all of your real expenses, you have yourself a business! It's a good way to learn the ropes.
One more idea for today. There is a web site that is only twenty cents per listing.
There is basically one rule. You may can only list your hand made items, or supplies for craft workers
I have a daughter in law whom is enjoying very steady sales on . She is also a four time cancer survivor. If she can do it, so can you.
In closing I would like to say that I could not possibly cover all of the business scenario's in this Blog. There are so may more. The bottom line is that you do what you have to do, cut lawns, sell scrap metal, pick up aluminum cans, if you have to, but just do something to get you started learning about running a business! If you have specific business problem, or question please contact me through my new Blog We have a money and business section on there, and will answer your question as best we can. I have been running businesses since 1954.
Walt Barrett President

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