Thinking of Starting a Business, Avoid these Costly Mistakes

Thinking of Starting a Business, Avoid these Costly MistakesBy Cathi Nelson

Six years ago I had an idea for a business. I was excited, nervous, scared and determined to make it work. I was also inexperienced and very naïve.

Here is a quick story of one of the many costly mistakes I made and a few tips, so you don’t make the same errors.

As I told family and friends about my idea, they were excited, but they cautioned me as well.  What if someone “steals” your idea, you should call an attorney. A friend recommended a large law firm; I called, asked for an intellectual property attorney and scheduled an appointment.

The day came and I had a wonderful conversation with not one, but two attorneys. They strongly suggested I consider franchising my idea along with lots of additional advice. I left with my head spinning, but excited!

A few days later, I got the invoice $2,750! I was shocked; I had no idea that I was paying an hourly fee of $550 for each attorney that day. I can tell a similar story when I hired an accountant to manage my books but instead, here are a few tips so you can avoid the same costly business mistakes.

Don’t Rely on Family and Friends for Business Advice:

As well meaning as everyone is, don’t allow fear or extreme optimism to guide you. Today I have a wonderful business attorney, but she is a generalist. In retrospect, the fear that someone would steal my idea was misguided and caused me to seek legal advice that was not relevant for the business I was seeking to establish.

Seek Assistance From Your Local SCORE Office:

Supported by the SBA, SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. I actually traveled over 90 miles each way to meet with my SCORE councilor.

Enroll in Small Business Training:

Many local universities or junior colleges have established Entrepreneurial Centers or consider taking a Fast Trac course. Eventually, I enrolled in a class on writing a business plan through our local Women’s Business Center and found wonderful support that shortened my learning curve while equipping me with the skills I needed.

Today, I am much wiser and better prepared. By seeking advice from the experts within my community, the cost of my mistakes has decreased. Now I invest my profits back into my business, not into costly fees for professional services I do not need.

Cathi Nelson had her “light bulb” moment when she recognized that consumers were becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the exploding number of photos, media and memorabilia they were accumulating. She started her own photo organizing business called PhotoSimplified and was amazed at the response from clients and others who wanted to learn how to add photo-organizing services to their business. In response she founded, The Association of Personal Photo Organizers to support the new and emerging profession of photo- life management by providing training, support, products and collaboration for people interested in adding photo management services to their existing business or as a new business. Since its inception, APPO has grown to hundreds of  members throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom

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