Business Owners? - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-10-2003, 6:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Business Owners?

(For once, I'm posting a serious off topic thread! whoa.)

For those of you that know me, know my goals include owning my own business. It is once again that time when I revisit the question of if I'm ready to pursue that goal. I'm gathering opinions, advice and general comments on the subject and since the .Org has such a wide variety of experience, I thought I'd toss this out to you too.

I don't have any specific questions yet because I don't know exactly what business I will be in. I would like to start with a small bar/pub or, in second place, a small product retail shop. My current thinking is to purchase an established small business because I suspect I don't have enough money to buy a new franchise or the experience required to start from scratch.

Lets hear about your experiences and advice for starting out as a first time business owner.
J.

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post #2 of 22 Old 07-10-2003, 11:37 PM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Well, I just returned from my 4 day vacation, my first in 3 years. I got home at 3:00 AM and was at work at 8:30. I'm still here catching up, I normally leave at 7:00PM. Aside from working 60hrs 6 days a week, extreme stress on occaision, and being prematurely grey, I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't think I could ever go back to the corporate world, I do some consulting but have been in business for myself for 13 years. If you can find something you enjoy and are good at, Do It.
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-10-2003, 11:48 PM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Retail foodservice is HELL. I have been an owner of a bunch of bakeries since 1984, and 2 years ago I got rid of all of them except the manufacturing facility. I now supply those OTHER poor souls...

illustration...
I've done 4 track days in a year (remember this is Michigan) versus 1 in 4 years previously..

I'd be happy to talk with you more about it, but I'll say that it's more important to own your LIFE. If business ownership is part of that, fine. But try to start a business that doesn't have the potential to own you.

Dave
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post #4 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 12:02 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Retail can be a bitch! That said if you find something you 'like' to do and don't let it own you,(as stated previously), it can sometimes be a hoot as well. I started out with a sweat equity agreement with my partner ( and I did SWEAT, worked my a$$ off), I now have two hardware stores...if I had to do it over again I'm not sure what I'd do. PM me if you have specific questions, be happy to help if I can.

J
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 12:08 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

How about a bike shop?
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post #6 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Business Owners?

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ND4SPDSHO : How about a bike shop? *
I wish... but if you've read my history of posts, I'm pretty ignorant on the mechanical side of things.

How did you guys get involved in owning your respective businesses? *Hardware store? *Bakery? *I don't mind working hard but I believe in a good work/life balance. *My long term goal is to own several businesses that run by themselves... ha! *ok, maybe in a few years.

Fumbducker, how did you approach someone regarding your sweat & equity agreement? *(I assume you mean that you provided the sweat, he provided the equity) *That might be a viable option for me.




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post #7 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 2:10 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

I hear what your saying loud and clear!I just quit a job that I friggin' hated,finally got mad enough at my a-hole boss!I am currently looking for my dream job,I will let everyone know when I find out what that is!Seriously,I would like to have a career,not just a job,something that I actually enjoy doing,instead of dreading going into work each day.



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post #8 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 2:34 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Maybe that's just it... I don't want another job, I want to do business; do something that will make me happy (and, as a by product, rich! )

I already have a respectable, good paying, saught-after job with good benefits, perks and bonus... But what's my future? More cubes? More meetings? More jargon and office politics? How 'bout more fancy buzz-words? Tech talk? I digress, now I'm late-night-ranting, don't get me going.

Seriously, if you have capital, there are dozens, hundreds or thousands of business opportunities out there... I want to know how you guys got started without gobs of startup money.

Jordan H.
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post #9 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 2:57 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

I was approached. Actually, My current partner approached me a week after I agreed to a similiar arrangement with another Ace dealer....fast forward five years, I got FVCKED(LONG, LONG STORY) and my partner calls me up and says SO... the rest is history. I'm not into tooting my own horn, but I am good and I know the business. frontwards, backwards, and sideways. Many years of doing the same ol' same ol'. I traded my skills for equity...I never could have amassed the kind of money it takes to buy/open a hardwarestore and my partner was on the edge of burnout and losing everything...simpatico?
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post #10 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 4:10 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Two words: Retail Sucks!

My parents owned a retail store in NY and I worked there after school every day and all day weekends and summers. We never went on vacation.

I am self employed now: as a independent software developer. I could never go back to retail.

But if you have the personality for retail (as do some of my friends) it can be very lucrative.
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post #11 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 11:02 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

I was working for this company when I was in college, and took it upon myself to learn all I could about the processes just because I was curious. The owners were hands-off investors, and one day they woke up to find I was the only one working for them that knew how to produce their product, their former working partner having left to go into competition with them years before, and their 'current' manager in parts unknown with a gob of their cash....
They gave me what my dad refers to as 'the golden handcuffs' They made it pretty easy for me to become a partneer, and required me to buy them out completely when I owned 51%

I'm still paying...and paying... and now I'm dealing with their excrable children. Hope to be out of debt by 2006 or 7. Then I have to find a gullible bastard like me or someone with more money than brains to sell it to!

I've told my kids they are FORBIDDEN to take it over, even if I pretzel myself on a track day. My son just got his engineering degree at U of M, and my 2 daughters are at MSU and U of M studying education and architecture. That makes me really happy.

So, my main advice is don't do food. The level of professionalism in this field is shallow. If possible, do something (that you love) that requires the fewest number of employees. And keep your eye on the cash. And don't believe everything the seller tells you....and and and
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post #12 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 11:58 AM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

and and and just remember: Partner is a 4 letter word . . .
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post #13 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 12:53 PM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Having your own business is pretty cool. My family owns an archery shop in Ft. Worth, TX. Couple things I would advise, though: 1.) Make sure it's something that you somewhat like and could go back to day after day, on weekends and even holidays to catch up on paper work and other stuff. If you're heart's not in it, then your business will suffer. 2.) If you're going to do retail, make sure you have the personality for it or at least hire people who do. If you don't have the personality to deal with all kinds of people and make sales, you're going to wind up shooting yourself in the foot. 3.) If you decide to go into a partnership, make sure it is somebody who is not your friend already. When you go into a business with a friend, there is too much trust that is already there. I have seen several people that I know who went into a partnership with their friends only to be royaly screwed over by them (i.e. stealing money from the company to name a major one).
Even though it's a lot of work, more so than working for an employer usually, it's nice not to have a boss who tells you what to do, not to mention you get to tell people that you own your business when they ask you what you do for a living. That's the main stuff that I can think of at the moment. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

Paul

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post #14 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 1:09 PM
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Quote:
abtech : and and and just remember: Partner is a 4 letter word . . .
AMEN. Even if they're honest, the unspoken expectations bite evryone in the ass. Goes double for friends, triple for 'old friends'.
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post #15 of 22 Old 07-11-2003, 1:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Business Owners?

Hrmmm.... all very sound advice.

My ex-GF's parents ran a chip shop (fries) in England for a few years... from that, they were able to buy a place in Hong Kong, as well as a nice house in Canada where they lived for 13 years. It had also funded enough money to start 3 businesses in Canada (2 failed). All of that from a chip shop. They recently moved back to work for 2-4 years to make enough for retirement! Within 6-months of returning to England, they made enough to buy their restaurant (rather than lease) which was worth $500,000; I think it was dollars, not pounds. Anyway, it was a very lucrative business...

What are the expected returns on investment here in N. America? I have read some guidelines that state you should never put up capital unless there is a 40% ROI and others that say you should value a business by projecting the profits over three years then take the current value of those profits - in essence, recapture your investment within 3 years. Are these golden dreams or realistic advice? For instance, a small pub was listed for sale in my home town at $139,000. How do I judge if this is a good investment? My initial thought was to subtract existing inventory/undepreciated equipment value and then see how that number compared to the current value of the projected profits (the ad claimed they had 8 years worth of financial records).

BTW, the reason I have focussed on a pub style business for my examples is that I figure it is a straight-forward business, although no business is simple, I want something that is straight forward without all the pitfalls of say, IT Consulting (IT services are my past and I know how tricky/underhanded a business it is&#33 Also, I figure a pub because I like beer, , and alcohol will always be profitable.

As for retail, I wasn't thinking about opening up a clothing shop, I was thinking more along the lines of an M&M Meats (heard of them?) or a franchise with a step-by-step process for running the business... as you can tell, I really just want to use this first business as a learning experience for me to move on to bigger and better things.

I have read your warnings and concur about a partner, but what other choices do you have when you are low on capital? Businesses I have seen in this are require a minimum of $150,000 upfront capital while most request $300,000 or more. haha, like this 26year old has that much cash on hand.

Jordan H.
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