So, what is there to reflect upon when the lesson is on legal structures and licenses and taxes?
One thing that comes to mind is the difference in how much has to be done in order to create a business depending on where you live. I’ve been involved in starting businesses in multiple places in California and in South Carolina. In California, the process was much more difficult, took considerably longer, and cost significantly more. Where I live now in SC, I mail in a single sheet form to request a variance in the zoning laws to allow me to use my home for my business and fill out an online form to request a sales tax license. Once those have been given, I’m ready to go.
I once spent two weeks going back and forth between two different government agencies in California because they each said I needed to get something from the other agency before they would give me the license they provided. It was a Catch-22 situation and it was only after I begged one person to please just give me their license with a promise that I would come right back just as soon as I got the license from the other agency so they could put it in their records before I was able to move forward.
There’s an old saying that you’ll get less of the things you discourage and more of those things you encourage. We need to make it easy for people to start their own businesses if we want to have more growth.
I was getting frustrated at all the up-front work we’re having to do with comparing all the various options and methods and such, and then I remembered an experience I had about 20 years ago.
Some friends got me involved in a project they were working on for writing some software related to their business. Because of some arrangements they had already made with some wholesalers, we were fairly well insured of making at least several hundred thousand dollars each when we got it done.
Unfortunately, even though I kept insisting that we needed to take the time up front to do some design work and compare some options, they could not be convinced that it would save time in the long run and they had already gotten behind schedule so I had to just move forward with things the way the had planned them.
It was a situation of one screeching halt after another as we found that this or that wouldn’t work with the way they “designed” it. After starting from scratch multiple times the whole thing eventually fell apart and was never completed.
It gave a new appreciation for doing the work before doing the work.
Before this class started, I knew what I wanted to do for my web business. Suddenly, I have to brainstorm up 20 different possibilities and then do analysis to determine how well each of them would do with a Google AdWords campaign. That’s okay, I already had a few other options tucked away. Coming up with all the rest was a little difficult, and then figuring out what keywords to use for each added to it.
I was shocked at how many times my choices for keywords resulted in almost no results. Surely there were people using my keywords in searches, but apparently not. Lots of clicking later and I was rather surprised at which options did well. I guess that’s one of the reasons we had to go through that. It’s surprising at how well some ideas and keywords will do, both because they did so well and also because some did so poorly.
It’s been a while since I did any web work and it has been very interesting to get back into it. My son has his own web sites as his sole income source for his family and he does really well with it.
By going through all the exercises this week, I’ve either remembered or picked up new knowledge about all the details that go into creating a web business. There really does need to be a LOT of design and planning up front before “going live” in order to be successful.
Sometimes it seems like just busy work, but when you crunch the numbers and see just how much more effective or competitive different businesses or key words can be it confirms the importance of planning ahead.