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How to Prepare Before I start a company?
9

How to Prepare Before I start a company?

How to Prepare Before I start a company?

(OP)
I am a civil Engineer, 29 years old, specialized in Land Development, residential and commercial.

My dream is to have my own company, I am thinking may be in 5 years from now so I have at least 10 years of experience..

The question is: What do I need to do over the next 5 years to prepare for the new business?

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Get your PE.  

Meet a ba-zillion people, and give them a reason to remember you, and make an effort remember them (get their card, put it into your personal Outlook Contacts with details about where you met them and what they do).  

Do something to make your name stand out from the crowd (I think professional societies are good, writing articles for magazines is good too).

Start researching business models to decide if you want to be an LLC, Sub-chapter "S", Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship.  There are good reasons for each type of organization and you'll need to understand the value of each.

Start thinking about where your business will be, and understanding what you'll need for space.

These things are mostly easy if you have 5 years to weigh alternatives.  They can get pretty hard when you're standing at the City Clerk's desk looking for a business license and haven't thought about them at all.

David

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

2
Might be a bit early but -

Find a good lawyer, a good accountant and a good insurance person

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Talk to the engineers in your local code enforcement division at the city/county level.

Do "good deeds" that you will be remembered for.

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Stash as much cash away as you can! You will need it in the first few years.

cheers

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Five years is a very long time, but it is never too early to start planning, there is some very good advice above, but also consider.

First and foremost everything takes longer than you think and costs more than you think, plan well ahead. Do not look to have your phone line installed the day before you go live for example. In fact try and have EVERTHING in place at least two months before you go live.

Never underestimate the team around you, be they services you pay for, accountants, bank manager, lawyer, solicitor etc or employees. Good ones will make your life much easier bad ones can make your life very unpleasant indeed.

You maybe the best engineer in the world but you will be short of some skills you need, at least at the start you will need to cover all aspects of the business, PR, sales and marketing, book keeping the list goes on and on, learn all you can.

Some things are foolish to try and save money on, many are not. Hunt around for the best place to buy second hand furniture from for example, if time is on your side you can get as new at a fraction of the cost of new and at the end of the day a filing cabinet is just a filing cabinet.

Join your local business group in the UK the chamber of commerce or the federation of small businesses, make contacts, as well as providing a service, you will need services provided to you. Planning ahead will save you money without effecting quality, failing to will probably mean one or both suffer.

Keep a very tight grip on the budget in the early days or at time of expansion, moving office, taking on new staff etc. 75% of new businesses fail inside 6 months in the UK, the biggest single issue is cash flow.

Most importantly of all, enjoy the journey.

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Start doing some "self promotion". This needs not be any more sophisticated than asking someone how they felt about the job you did. When they ask why you ask, you can then lead in with "I'd like to strike out on my own soon." and leave it at that.

Start cultivating a list of clients with whom your project was a success. It's never too early to let them know that you appreciate their acknowledgement of your work.

Sort of a soft reminder that you are good at what you do.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Read a business book a month. Start with marketing, then accounting, add in some finance and human resources, then get on the forums and start posting.  Start now on your business plan. Properly done, it will tell you when the time is right.

ZCP
www.phoenix-engineer.com

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Don't burn any bridges - it will come back to bite you.

Listen to the needs of the current clients you deal with.  If you can communicate well with them, you have a good start.  You are progressing to the point of having to deal with people more regularly.  Don't lose your cool - work through the problem and do not give up.

Admit your mistakes and weaknesses where appropriate - your clients will appreciate honesty.  Politely walk away from the clients who don't.

Separate your work life from your home life.  

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

(OP)
First, I would like to thank everyone for posting your thoughts. I really appreciate that.

Now, thinking about future clients... some of them are probably clients I am dealing with today, so how do i get to do business for these clients and how do you look at the whole situation from an "ethics" stand point. Am I stealing clients from the company I am working for right now?? is that ok in business?? and if it's not ok, then how am I going to start a new business with no client base?

RE: How to Prepare Before I start a company?

Develop your own clients - cold calls if you need to.  Do not go down the road of taking your employer's clients with you when you leave.  If they come of their own accord, that's another matter, but still shaky.  

When I left, I had my own client base totally separate from the company I worked for - one client gave me other leads, so on and so on.  The network built that way - primarily word of mouth over the years.

Mike McCann
McCann Engineering

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