This topic discusses the estimated startup costs for this business idea. Startup costs are what you need to pay in order to be ready to begin business operations. The amount of these costs also helps you decide if the idea suits you.
List of items in startup costs
Note: I am only showing one month for certain expenses. You should be able to get your first job or two in a month. Then these items become operating expenses, not startup costs.
The assumed startup costs for this business idea consist of the following items:
Advertising and promotion (1 month) -- Small classified advertisements in local and/or national newspapers or magazines.
Business insurance (1 month) -- Business liability insurance. (Talk to a local insurance agent to see if you need this coverage.)
Governmental requirements -- Local fees and business license. (Note: You might also be subject to state and federal deposits and registration fees, but these will vary. So I have not included them in these startup costs.)
Office equipment -- Business telephone, desk accessories (stapler, paper clips, pen and pencils, etc.), and listing adding machine. (Note: Use the kitchen table and chairs for your desk and chair at first.)
Office supplies -- Check blanks for business checking account, file folders or large manila envelopes (for filing papers), lined writing tablets, and pads of accounting journals and ledger.
Other operating expenses (1 month) -- Business telephone expense.
Reference book -- Bookkeeping for Dummies (Paperback). (Note: The "for Dummies" series of books are easy to read manuals for normal people, not dummies.)
Here are the dollar amounts for a frugal business operation:
Note: See the Planning costs and expenses subtopic in the Business Plan on another page for ways to reduce these startup costs.
This topic satisfies the Starting business operations subtopic in the Business Plan page.
Preparing for business operations
Completing the startup requirements -- This is the last step needed just before you start business operations. See the Listing the startup requirements subtopic in the Business Plan for the items remaining to be completed.
As a minimum, you should have discussed the business idea with your family, set up your business entity, and satisfied all governmental and insurance requirements.
Operating the business
Soliciting customers -- Place classified advertisements in a local newspaper, and/or national newspapers or magazines. Use a simple, honest description of your services. (Once you become established as a provider of this service, you should benefit from word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers in your local area.)
For additional ideas on soliciting customers, see the Sales Methods page in another section.
Qualifying customers -- Hopefully, some of the people who read your advertisements will inquire about your services. During this initial telephone conversation, you should determine:
See the preceding Profitability of idea subtopic for my thoughts about setting your fee.
Getting customers -- After a satisfactory trial period, a prospective customer might agree to pay for your service on a long-term basis. You could try to get as many customers as you can handle.
Determining needs of customers -- To insure satisfied customers, you need to determine what they want from you. You need to replace assumptions with specific instructions.
Following are typical questions you might want answered:
You also need the customer's name and telephone number, if not the same as the client.
Finally, you need to give the customer your mailing address and determine when and how often you will be paid.
Preliminary service activities -- Prepare a calendar showing the date and time you should place calls to clients. (Remember to make any needed time zone conversions.) Keep a journal to describe each client, including highlights of past conversations.
Main service activities -- Place telephone calls to your clients per your calendar. Have a good time talking with them, and thank them for talking with you. Send them a card for their birthdays and other special occasions.
Final service activities -- Collect your agreed upon fee from the customer. (Your agreement with the customer should specify the frequency and amount of payment.)