View Full Version : New member with a few questions

09-30-2005, 11:53 AM

It's been a goal of mine to open my own business dealing with sales and installation of car audio & electronics as well as some performance & styling accessories. I have worked in the industry at a nationwide chain store in their 12volt department for the past 3 years, and have undergone the propper training prior to working there. MECP certification, and alot of real life work in the field...after all this is my hobby as well as my job right now.

I am at the stage now where I feel I'd like to venture out on my own and have my own business where I can take on the jobs I choose, and do more specialty jobs then what my current company is willing to let us as installers do. I have quite a few of my own clients already and I know it won't be hard to get more. I'm just concerned about what I have to do financially to kick this endevor off.

I realize this forum isn't specialized for the 12volt and automotive field, but I hope to get pointed in the right direction as to where to go for grants/loans, as well as answers to other business start up questions I may have.

To start off, I plan to only have myself and 1-2 other people working with me, both of which I know are well trained andexperienced in this field, then expand if needed in the future.

Of course I'd like to get the ball rolling as soon as possible, but I want to do as much research as possible before jumping into anything. Ialso hope no one takes me as a typical "guy" who's into cars. This is what I like, and what I've been trained in and is my current profession.

Thank you in advance for those who can help me out!

10-06-2005, 06:12 PM
Essentially you need a plan: there's no escaping it. This should detail your likely costs (for everything: premises, staff, tools, advertising, whatever) as well as projected income, projected profit and so on.

This isn't just for your benefit in ensuring that your ideas are fiscally sound, but for the bank. No, not just in terms of borrowing, but for setting up your company account in the first place. It's part of giving you credibility.

I'm guessing you will need insurance in that industry, which is another reason to give yourself credibility via the plan. This isn't as hard as it sounds: work everything and put it down on paper. Do the sums.

At this point you can start thinking about the funding, because you will have some idea of how much you need.

Obviously banks and the like are the usual places to look at for any loans, but grants will depend on your locale. Different countries and different regions have different schemes. You could trot down to your local 'Chamber of Commerce' or whatever business grouping there is in your proximity and have a word with them.

10-30-2005, 04:46 PM
Hi Steve,

Congratulations on your new business venture. I realize at this point it is only an idea, but that’s how they all start!

I’ve started a number of different businesses. The closest in relation to what you are suggesting is a retail store that I opened about 5 years ago. The store was successfully opened on borrowed money in the form of a capitol loan from a bank.

When opening a brick-and-mortar business there is a lot to think about, and it all starts with a business plan.

Business Plan
If you are looking to acquire funding for your new business through a bank, you will need a very strong business plan. The best place to start researching business plans and formats is at your local bookstore. Pick up “how-to” book that walks you through the necessary section of a good business plan. I would assume that with your experience you would want to concentrate specifically on the “Key Personnel” section of your plan.

Your business plan should outline EVERYTHING about your business from location, to suppliers, to advertising and marketing. The more comprehensive your plan, the better your chances at getting the funding you need.

Do Not Start Under-Capitolized
One of the top reasons why new businesses fail is that they did not have enough capitol to carry them until they were profitable. After completing your business plan you should have a strong idea of how much capitol you will need to run your business in to profitability. If you cannot get the necessary capitol right away – wait to start the business until you can!

Venture Capitol – You’d be surprised how many people have more money than they know what to do with. If you get turned down by banks, or even if you don’t, you should look around for private money. Venture capitol is a great way to get the money needed to get your business off the ground. I have even had some success running an add in the business section of my local paper soliciting possible investors.

Small Business Association-SBA (Assuming You’re in the USA) – The SBA is a great resource for capitol and information. Look in the phone book for your local SBA office. Not only does the SBA work with banks to offer assisted capitol loans to new small business, they have a mentor program where you can sit down and talk with retired executives and business owners with years of experience under their belts. The SBA is a must-see for anyone starting (or thinking of starting) as business. In fact, you can probably get a mentor to help you with your business plan.

Set Goals – One of the most fundamental and crucial elements to running a successful business is formulating, scheduling, and meeting realistic goals. I write down my goals and the date by which I want to complete them. I read them every morning and every night, and before I know it I am systematically achieving them.

Be Realistic – Starting and operating a business is not easy. Being realistic about hardships and difficulties will pad the impact once they hit. It sounds like you are pretty grounded, so this probably won’t be too much of an issue for you.