when your on your own...
November 11, 2005 12:22 PM   Subscribe

My s.o. and I are at a crossroads. We are both architects and are hoping to start a fashion/design company that will be able to sustain our incomes (at least partially). We have product, we have a website, we have customers. What we are looking for are good books/websites/opinions on how to proceed out of our day-to-day jobs and into our own billing/taxes/sustainability models. We are open to "get a lawyer" responses, but are really looking to get our heads around some business concepts. Any sources that you have found helpful?

design business models...
posted by grimley to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
There are business analysts whom you can hire that will tell you how to do what you want to do. I highly suggest getting them as they know more about finance, capital structure and hidden liabilities than you and your meager architecht brains could ever handle. They're expensive, but you get what you pay for.
posted by geoff. at 12:24 PM on November 11, 2005

U Penn's Wharton School of Business has a program where the MBA students lead by profesors help new businesses get started. You could look into that.
posted by BeerGrin at 12:32 PM on November 11, 2005

Get an accountant or talk to the one you already have. You'll probably need one for dealing with the intricacies of taxes and billing, but more importantly - the smaller independent accountants are usually people who have been in the same situation you find yourselves now.

Talk to the owners of neighborhood shops you like. If its not a chain store, its likely owned by someone local - maybe even the person behind the counter.
posted by true at 12:35 PM on November 11, 2005

Before I started my first business I did a University of Auckland short course, it was a few hours each Saturday for 6 weeks and only cost the trifling sum of NZ$150. If you can find something similar locally, it'll give you a big head start.

Really it all boils down to two things:
* Keep really good records. (This keeps you out of trouble.)
* Marketing. (This makes you rich.)

Running your own business might seem exotic and exciting, and it can be a really wonderful experience, but to be honest after 4 years it's getting a bit old now. Now I'm either going to start a new business that enthuses me as much as this one used to, or I'm going to get a normal job for a while until I have another great business idea.

Also, it nearly destroyed my relationship with my partner, working together and living together didn't work out very well for us.
posted by The Monkey at 4:00 PM on November 11, 2005

That sounded anti. I didn't mean it to. I really love owning a business. And I'm sure you will too. But it's a lot of work, it is often way more stressful than being employed by someone else, and it will probably tarnish eventually.

Another thing: multiple streams of income. Don't rely on just one thing. And keep trying new things. You never know what's going to explode.

Oh, and learn about the 80/20 rule. (Eighty percent of your revenue will come from twenty percent of your clients. Also, eighty percent of your trouble will come from twenty percent of your clients. But it probably won't be the same twenty percent.)
posted by The Monkey at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2005

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