OPENING A BUSINESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
By: Chedonna M. Trimble-Holston
In my last blog I said “Life is a beautiful but fragile gift from God.” My sentiments are still the same. Life is what you make it. We should all live carefully, conscientiously, happily, healthy, debt free and stress free. Never take anything for granted; always be grateful for every blessing. Practice the “golden rule” too by treating people as you want to be treated. Respect others even if you don’t agree with their perspective. Regardless, always honor your parents and elders. Why? Because it’s the God thing to do. And here’s an additional point. Karma is real. What goes around comes back around; sometimes in double and triple proportion. So, be aware of what you do, say and think. Because your thoughts become your actions. And what you say and do becomes your reality that could be good or bad for you.
My Uncle (late Donald Trimble) took great pride in serving the community. He insisted daily that we give exceptional service to all clients no matter their belief, creed, race or religion. As President/CEO of I commit to the same level of impeccable service to everybody that selects Donald Trimble Mortuary.
Let’s talk about going into business. Some depictions make being a business owner look like a “bed of roses”. That’s not always the case. A business owner works long hours, wears multiple hats and in many cases is the first one there; last one to leave at night. You may even find yourself at the office nights, weekends and holidays too. Remember, it takes commitment, hard and smart work to build a successful business.
I recommend you do these things before you open your business:
- Pray about it.
- Do a thorough feasibility study to see if there’s a need for your product or service
- Research to see if your idea is seasonal or something consumers need daily
- Write your business plan to include the financials (how much it’s going to cost to start)
- Recommend you project your financials 3-5 years out to have adequate financing
- Network with other business owners; ask them to share the bad and good experiences
- Research banks and credit unions to see who’d partner best with your vision
- Find an experienced accountant to help you incorporate your business
- Incorporate as an LLC at the very least to protect your personal assets from business liability
- After incorporating set up your Dun & Bradstreet business number
- That’ll make your business legitimate to banks and credit unions for financing
Finding adequate funding to start the business can be a daunting task. So, don’t get discouraged in the beginning. Remember, no bank or anybody with access to business capital will take you seriously unless your realistic idea is on paper. Additionally, when you write your business plan be realistic in your expectations. Streamline costs as much as possible; take only the money you really need to properly launch and sustain your business for a minimum 2 years. The worst thing you could do is “jump out of the gate” with an overwhelming debt to income ratio. Money management is very important in the first five years. Careful not to overspend before selling your product and services. It’s important to create the kind of positive cash flow to help you pay the monthly bills.
You may want to create a phase approach when launching your enterprise too. I. E. Step one for the first year. Step two for the second year so on and so forth. That’ll help you manage your responsibilities so you won’t have stressful days and sleepless nights worrying about money.
I also urge you to keep up with new trends for your business. And be willing to “think out of the box” when strategizing and building your brand.
These days it is necessary that you have a web page. It’s your businesses footprint on the global internet. I suggest you find someone to help you set up your site. It’s not as easy as it may seem. Be creative in the design too. A boring website will not motivate people to visit often; encourage them to tell others about it. You may perhaps be able to manage daily up keep but I suggest you find someone reliable and affordable to create; manage the more complicated tasks.
You need to have a business and fan page on social media too. Facebook and Instagram are two of the more popular sites that can be used to promote your business; drive people to your webpage.
Opening a business is a major responsibility. And you cannot do it alone. I urge you to surround yourself with capable, loyal, qualified and trustworthy people to help you operate.
Last, it might also be a good idea to take a general business class at the local college. Some schools allow people to audit the class. Audit means you pay to sit in the class; get the information and training but you don’t get the certificate or degree. Knowledge is power; you’re going to need every bit of knowledge you can get to be a successful entrepreneur.
Oh! And one more thing. Keep notes for your journey. It could possibly be turned into a book that you can sell to others who may be aspiring to own a business one day.
God’s blessing and favor on you! #GOGETIT
About the author: Chedonna M. Trimble-Holston is CEO of Donald Trimble Mortuary, Inc. in Decatur, Georgia. She manages the entire operation of the mortuary. This includes but is not limited to training the funeral directors, implementation of FTC rules, OSHA regulations and operational guidelines, pricing of merchandise and services.
She received her diploma in Funeral Service from Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service, Decatur, GA in 1994. Chedonna received an Associates of Science Degree in Business from Georgia Perimeter College, Decatur, GA in 1998.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Chedonna is married to H. Bernard Holston, Sr. and the proud mother of two sons, Brenan and Brelan.