For years I have been participating in the annual GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Career Fair as a coach.  This wonderful event offers speed coaching sessions.  Each year I invariably get asked the same question:

“I am graduating from GIA and I want to start my own business, what do I do?”

So I have less than 10 minutes to communicate the basics:

1.        The first thing and one of the most important things – Make sure you have taken at least one introduction to Accounting class.  This is so important!  No matter what business you want to start, retail, wholesale, or service, you need to understand the basics.  This helps you with everything else: Pricing, money management, growth strategies, to name a few areas.   You should never have to rely on someone else to tell you about your money, it’s your money, you worked hard for it, safeguard it!

2.       Figure out who is your audience.  Who are you selling to?  What do they “look” like? (no- not their physical appearance, the demographics) Who is your competition? What is your message?  These are just a few of the questions you want to make sure you ask yourself.

3.       Get down to the tactical details

a.       Incorporate – talk to your accountant to figure out the best structure for your new company.  Most popular structures are S-Corps and LLC/LLP’s.

b.      Figure out your new name and then create a logo

c.       Create your website (these days if you don’t have a website you are not really in business.  No really, that’s true, I was once told you are only pretending, who wants to do all this work for play?)

d.      Decide on and create your social media presence.  Depending on your business model, pick 2-3 platforms and do them well.  Pinterest and Instagram are not for everyone, but if you are a new designer for instance, you may want to create these accounts and start building a following.  Don’t forget to cross promote all these initiatives to get the most out of it.

Ok the bell rings, my 10 minutes are up, I see the dazed and confused look in the faces of those I just spoke to (I think I lost them at accounting), but each one is so thrilled to at least have the beginning of a (I know more financial words) BUSINESS PLAN. Good Luck!

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