In my last blog post I described our firm’s new model and alluded to lessons learned in launching Turke & Strauss. Here is a list of things that come to mind, after being open for six months:
Pick a great business partner. I nailed this one. My partner has skill sets that are complementary to mine, which makes for an efficient distribution of work. He does the things I don’t do well and vice versa.
Invest time in business planning. Before we launched, Sam and I both read a book by Verne Harnish entitled, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make it and Why the Rest Don’t. Following the book’s strategic planning guide, we defined our respective roles, core values, brand promises and competitive advantage. We frequently refer back to our one-page strategic business plan to keep us on track.
Talk to other business owners. From day one, other business owners have been generous with their time and eager to help. Take all free advice you can get from reliable sources and don’t be shy in asking. People who start and run their own businesses never forget their own early days and pay it forward in spades.
Seek tax advice. Before deciding on the right corporate entity, ask a tax professional for advice. While limited liability companies (LLCs) are very popular, other corporate forms may be better suited to your business. And even if you select an LLC, it may make sense to elect S-corporation tax treatment. I learned this one the hard way.
Work in a basement for two months. Nothing makes you more appreciative of your work surroundings. For the first couple months, our office was in Sam’s basement. We did that to save money and get our feet on the ground. Now I am so appreciative of our modest, but light-filled and temperature-controlled workspace in Machinery Row.
Celebrate the victories. There have been some tough days … like the day we realized we had to dump our firm software and start over. Or the day(s) our phones went down completely. So when things go well, make sure to celebrate, even if it’s just a high five.
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