On Starting Your Own Business

Wow, has it really been almost a month since I’ve written anything? Considering what I’ve been doing lately, and me getting out of practice since the site where I’d been writing for more than twelve years died, I’ve been bad about keeping up here. (But it is a blog, and my blog, like every other one, sucks…) Initially, I was going to call this, “Choking on CoC,” but that’d be a bit more crass than I normally am.

Saturday, 23 August, I attended a seminar put on by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce about starting your own business.

While I did get a couple of helpful tips, on balance, spending the morning there was largely a waste of time.

Important take-aways:

  • If you run a seasonal business, you have to prepare for the thin months
  • People spent a lot of money researching how to do things in a totally suburban environment
  • S-Corp ueber Alles (And trying to figure out the HTML code for the u-umlaut is proving too much of a pain for me to deal with when there’s football on TV.)
  • Many who own sole-proprieterships choose not to pay themselves as employees, and rely on income derived from profits earned from operations

Other Intersting Factoids (some, admittedly depressing):

  • The top business for Hampton Roads is hair and nail salons
  • Creating “customer value” is the most important thing these days
  • Location, location, location!!1!

I did get some ideas, but absolutely zero contacts out of the session. With what I’m trying to do, and what I think Hatch Norfolk is trying to do with its 1000-Four effort, socialization with other business owners is very important. Not only did the speaker not engage his audience, there weren’t really any opportunities for interaction with other owners. I suspect none of them is doing what i’m trying to do with ITS757; why wasn’t I given the opportunity to collaborate with any of them?

I understand that one of the goals of these sessions is to recruit new CoC members, but recitation of stale ideas isn’t the way to do that. If I was planning on opening a T-Shirt stand at the Oceanfront, a hair salon, or a landscaping company, my take might be different.

(Maybe the recitation of stale ideas goes along with the soliloquy on the struggles of franchise owners. Of course, the focus was on things like chain fast food restaurants. This all taking place at a business within staggering distance for me of at least four chain sandwich shops… I think this sheds light on a fundamental misunderstanding of what business models are going to be successful in the future….)

At this point, I feel like I wasted my time and money. I think I’d feel that even more strongly if I dropped the Benjamins to join the CoC

Oh well. What else should I have been doing on a Saturday Morning?