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I'm getting just a little depressed, only because I just received ONE loan refusal.

I'm in the process of finding a small local business in which I can "acquire" and run part-time as needed (nights and weekends). I've located a few. If you've watched my posts on a few other boards, I've located:

1) An under-utilized mini-storage business.
2) A car wash (3 self-serve bays).
3) A laundromat.

The costs of the businesses are between $100K and $170K. For the most part, these business would love to be paid in cash of course, or wait for a customer with a conventional business loan. However, they've all "been open to the idea" of either land contracts or leases (or even lease-to-own in one case).

So what's my problem? I'm trying to get enough money scraped together just for putting towards commissions and/or down payment, from almost nothing.

(You're probably asking, "What? You don't have any savings?") Actually I do. But MrsDuck has tighter pursestrings than I do. We have maxed out 401K's with our current employers. I have enough liquid savings to make a conventional down payment, a fully funded e-fund, an unused credit card (with a very high limit). And MrsDuck won't let me touch any of it unless it's an extreme emergency.

Is MrsDuck my problem? Probably. So what's the deal with her? Well, she's sensitive to having to touch any savings considering what we've been through long ago. She's been abruptly terminated from two jobs before and she'd probably eat dog food for meals before she'd touch any of the savings whatsoever.

Anyway, MrsDuck has assured me that she doesn't have a problem with me going into my own business. A few years ago I did have a moderately successful business playing music at weddings...but that's obviously not the thing that I can expand with to eventually replace my current full-time job. She panicked a little when I spent $1000 on sound equipment. As for now, MrsDuck also said she'd be supportive if I have to use the credit card for small items in support of the business (if I have to run to a store for office supplies, etc).

SO, my other current route is to try and find other ways to find $10K to $30K of money. I've considered a home-equity line of credit, but as usual, MrsDuck is very hesitant towards that (talks are ongoing).

What about other means? My local bank has a conventional business loan, but their process assumes I have an ongoing business, not trying to buy an existing one. I have to go to my bank in person and explain my situation. (I figured my bank would be helpful considering the deposits are easily there to cover me, even for as much as the $30K I'm looking for.)

Meanwhile I've checked out some small-business loan sites and from there I've not had much luck. I just had been turned down a loan this afternoon after I was "pre-approved" last night over the phone. Bummer.

I read about "hard money lenders", but it sounds like they're basically loan sharks. I've read about "microloan" lenders, but haven't found one that addresses my situation (from what I've seen). Maybe I'm wrong?

On another board, someone suggested owner financing (have the owner be the bank), but in all the cases above so far, none of them are willing to put out money. (One of them is going as far to say he won't even pay for commissions, the buyer has to pay for it.)


So is there any other ways you can think of where I can get my foot in the door? (Besides nagging MrsDuck?)

All responses are appreciated, but I might get defensive. But at least I'm aware of it.


Duck

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Do I have this right? The businesses you're looking at sell for 100-170K, so the 10-30K you need is for the down payment and closing costs. Then the rest, 70-160K will be paid with another loan. That's a whole lotta loan! I'm not sure about the right and wrong of borrowing for a down payment. I think you'd have to do it on the sneak, like a home equity loan or borrowing your own money in your 401K.

Most business owners are looking for 50% cash before they'll carry a loan, and they'd be reluctant to be the second lender. That doesn't necessarily mean they don't believe the business is viable or priced right. It's just that they can't trust someone else to run the business as well as they did. The 401K idea is looking better.

Those sell prices look high to me, but I've been out of touch about such things for a few years. When I bought my catering business in 1996, I paid way too much. The actual profit from it covered the loan payments and that was it. I gave him $50K cash and he carried the remaining $35K, so I didn't really borrow all that much. The owner didn't have real books to show me, so I just pieced together what I knew the expenses would be but overestimated sales. I wish I wish I wish I had sought the advice of someone else in the catering business, but the owner strongly advised not to let any of the competitors know the business might change hands as that might hurt my business. It turns out that was hogwash, but I believed him.

Don't take this as advice not to buy a business. Just be more diligent than I was about the purchase price. If the price is right, then you can make a profit, and it was worth borrowing the downpayment. You're wife will be glad you did!

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Hi Duckster,

So is there any other ways you can think of where I can get my foot in the door? (Besides nagging MrsDuck?)
All responses are appreciated, but I might get defensive. But at least I'm aware of it.


You serious? Like "serious" serious?
I mean, like "no joke.. heart attack" serious???

Here's my no bull sincerest advice;
(Come close & listen carefuly..............)























ABSOLUTELY, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, SHOULD YOU BUY ANY BUSINESS YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY RUN!!!!

What I mean is;
MANAGING a business is a job, NOT an "investment"... and one that is NOT easily learned (take it from someone with scars to prove it!)

It is *easy* to "hire" yourself as a "manager" by buying the company that will hire you... and if you do, and you have no experience in the position you just 'hired' yourself for, you JUST FAILED the first test of management!!!

Never, Ever, EVER hire someone for a position they are dramatically under-experienced & under-qualified for! Hire first to the LOWEST skilled position, and train & grow them upwards from there!

THIS APPLIES TO YOURSELF AS WELL!!! Do not "hire" yourself for the top position (or even a middle position) if you know you have insufficient experience & skillsets for that position!

"Owning" a laundromat is an example I can speak of from personal experience. When I was 18 my Dad bought a laundromat (quite to my Mom's semi-supportive chagrine, not unlike the sounds of Mrs. Duck.) For the first year, or so, the whole family was involved... then it started getting old. I ended up carrying the daily maintenance responsibilities, and coordinating & managing the logistics. I learned from the "gutter" up, and there is a LOT involved with that business!

3 years after we bought it, my Dad sold it.... and had the 'privilege' of having to bring over $10,000 to the closing table just to get it out of his name... that's a LOT more than a $10,000 loss... that's a family spiritual & morale DISASTER!!! I washed away about another $5,000 of IOUs from my Dad for my accumulated payroll...

Why did it fail? Financing, mostly! The focus was always on the front-end... keeping it clean & repaired... keeping the winos from camping out (it was in East LA,)... keeping promotional flyers spread around the rental neighborhoods....

It had the traffic & the business volume... BUT the killer ended up being that neither Mom nor Dad had any idea how to manage the OVERHEAD. They didn't know that ongoingly negotiating terms on supplies and technical service was a critical part of retaining revenues (which are never profits until AFTER all regular and surprise costs are covered.) They didn't know about using seller-carried notes for the purchase, and rolling them strategically over time periods. They didn't know about vendor-support marketing and trial comps.

They were thinking very simple;
Buy a 'going concern business' and simply plug the nickles in the slot, and pull the lever... keep it clean & do it over & over....

Great in concept... HOWEVER... in the real world, it is far more complex. NOT using leverage can kill you. OVER-using leverage can kill you. NOT knowing how & when to be cutthroat in negotiations (ongoingly) can kill you. Being an a-hole to the wrong people (because you're not paying attention) can kill you. Being too nice to the wrong people can kill you....

*AND*... yet you can look around and SEE clear & obvious examples of successes... people who are nice... people who do not seem cutthroat or unfair.... people who aren't pretensious... who don't operate laundromats while driving Mercedes, etc.......

You'll think; Why can't I be just like them? If THEY can do it, *I* can do it!!!

And you would be CORRECT!!!!!

HOWEVER.... if you "look under the hood" each & every one of them will have had SOME kind of relevant experience that taught them the ropes of THAT SPECIFIC BUSINESS before they ever acquired the highest "job" of ownership/management of it.



THIS is the focus to meditate on;
HOW can you pick a field, and rapidly acquire operational management experience UNDER SOMEONE ELSE'S WATCH, before you jump the fence & hire yourself to the highest position on your own payroll expenses.

TOUGH questions... but; Ask, and you shall receive!

Luck!
Dave
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Do I have this right? The businesses you're looking at sell for 100-170K, so the 10-30K you need is for the down payment and closing costs. Then the rest, 70-160K will be paid with another loan. That's a whole lotta loan! I'm not sure about the right and wrong of borrowing for a down payment.

As I briefly mentioned, a couple of these businesses will ALSO consider a land contract or lease. Even the agents for the lease deal want at least $15K for closing. For a land contract, they want more. On the mini-storage, they have an untapped resource...one small building on 7 acres of land.


The owner didn't have real books to show me, so I just pieced together what I knew the expenses would be but overestimated sales. I wish I wish I wish I had sought the advice of someone else in the catering business, but the owner strongly advised not to let any of the competitors know the business might change hands as that might hurt my business. It turns out that was hogwash, but I believed him.

On each business I'm checking out, I've demanded operating statements from each and I'm still analyzing and putting together best and worst case scenarios for myself...and then making the worst-case twice as bad, just to see how bad things could be for operation.


Don't take this as advice not to buy a business. Just be more diligent than I was about the purchase price.

No problem. I'm still a long way from making any offer, actually, but I'm trying to figure out the "how to get in" angle while I'm doing all the other analysis. So I could spend 6 months looking at businesses then all of a sudden I decide to make an offer and discover that I can't afford anything. That would not be good. So I'm trying to figure out the finances before getting into anything.


Thanx!


Duck
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Hi Duckster,....
Here's my no bull sincerest advice;
(Come close & listen carefuly..............)


Hey, Dave!


"Owning" a laundromat is an example I can speak of from personal experience....

Okay. I was just checking it out. Seems to me as though I struck a nerve. (Heck, I probably stomped on the entire nervous system of yours.)

So maybe a laundromat isn't it for me. Maybe not the car wash, either. My first "looking around" for a business was actually well-known, even to you Dave. I had been first looking at owning rental property, namely residential (SFR's and apartments). However, that REALLY scared the dickens out of MrsDuck. Not that it's out of the question, but she's more concerned about having to deal with tenants, rightfully so. (And the fact that laws favor tenants in rental propery disputes...)

<Defensive, whiny, justifying-my-point-of-view tone-of-voice mode>

So I figured, perhaps mini/self-storage. It's still rental property, but a much smaller fraction of the hassles. Yes, there can still be hassles, but it's not as likely to have nearly the headaches of handling apartment tenants.

Still with me so far? So if ordinary people own and handle simple residential property rental, mini-storage up to a certain size should be simpler, shouldn't it? Not a walk in the park, but still simpler, eh?

Back to your notes:

HOWEVER.... if you "look under the hood" each & every one of them will have had SOME kind of relevant experience that taught them the ropes of THAT SPECIFIC BUSINESS before they ever acquired the highest "job" of ownership/management of it.

Okay, but what qualifies as relevant experience? How does one get experience of operating a simple 3-bay coin-operated car wash without getting in and owning/operating it head-first? I'm not knocking you, Dave, your excellent laundromat experience is a good one. I don't think, though, that that fits all situations. I just dove into the wedding music business head-first, without any relevant experience or business knowledge. I only made a couple mistakes, otherwise it was operating somewhat successfully for what it could do (only weekend work, I'd be lucky to pull $200 a week).

<whine,whine,whine,rant,rant,rant...>

Now I know you probably worked several different, but related, jobs to get to where you are, a very successful mortgage broker. All well and good. But I'm trying to do something to get out of my current situation, and possibly make a new start. But if I had to strictly rely on what I had for jobs with "relevant experience", I'd be suffering in silence from here on out. I'm getting dangerously close to burnout on computer tech support, and I can't do anything with music that will afford one week of groceries.

<SLAP!>

Okay, I feel better now.

</Defensive, whiny, justifying-my-point-of-view tone-of-voice mode>

Well, I'm always looking around for new and potentially profitable things to do. I'm still seeking the advice of others when I'm checking out these businesses and properties. True, there is always risk. Do I know enough about a certain kind of business to hop in and be the owner? I don't know. So I don't mind you freely offering your advice and giving me good reasons to step away from various dangerous activities (like buying a house from Fred...). That's okay. I just need to sit back, take it all in and carefully think about your responses, plus everyone else's.


I really DO appreciate the response, Dave. I'll still probably fly off at the handle at first, but I'll get over it. And I've taken your advice before, and operated successfully from it.


Thanks!


Duck
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I've read about "microloan" lenders, but haven't found one that addresses my situation (from what I've seen). Maybe I'm wrong?

I think that a micro-loan could fit your situation, as it is basically what your looking for(a small loan). But, the problem is not all micro-loans are equal.

There is a federal program which provides funds for micro-loans. These funds are provided to non-profits in different geographies. So if you find the Federal website, you can then get a list of the non profits using them in your area.

Now, each non-profit will have its own mission - so you might not meet the mission goal of the non profit(promite minority business, invest in urban developement of neglected neighborhoods, etc). So you may or may not fit their 'mission'. Hunt around and see what you can find.

I can't really recall the exact website, but I recall it was easy to find at the time(because Bush was in the middle of cutting their budget)
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There is a federal program which provides funds for micro-loans. These funds are provided to non-profits in different geographies. So if you find the Federal website, you can then get a list of the non profits using them in your area.

THanks!


Now, each non-profit will have its own mission - so you might not meet the mission goal of the non profit(promite minority business, invest in urban developement of neglected neighborhoods, etc). So you may or may not fit their 'mission'. Hunt around and see what you can find.

Agreed. This is what I initially ran into when I was first looking for microlenders in my state. Most of them were geared to spur development in Detroit (which is a good thing, but not what I need, I'm further west in a rural area).


Duck
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Found the website:

http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/

My search was "federal small business loans" on yahoo. Just my own gut feeling, but I would completely ignore the sponsored links guaranteeing results as probably not worth pursuing.


http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/financing/lenders.html gives links to 2 categorgies of small business lenders and you can get a list of lenders in your state.

Keep in mind, there ARE other programs and lenders out there. This is just a way to take advantage of the programs your tax dollars are funding.

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Oh, and speaking of small businesses, since you mentioned a car wash, I would definitely check out things like permits and such before buying a small business.

I know in my hometown there was a guy who wanted to build a car wash. There was a lot of opposition(increased water use, sewage, etc) and he was having difficulty getting a permit.

He went ahead and built the car wash, without the permit.

No real problems, but then as I understand it he is either on or has friends on the town council. :-)

Now if he goes and sells this car wash to someone else without said friends, perhaps these permits will need to be obtained or the car wash will be closed.
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This is just a way to take advantage of the programs your tax dollars are funding.

I appreciate the links! Thanks. But I just went to my state's list and saw the county (where some of these businesses are) not represented. I may have to check a nearby office and see if there's any updated contacts.


Duck
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Oh, and speaking of small businesses, since you mentioned a car wash, I would definitely check out things like permits and such before buying a small business.
I know in my hometown there was a guy who wanted to build a car wash. There was a lot of opposition(increased water use, sewage, etc) and he was having difficulty getting a permit.


If they've existed up to now as running businesses with no problems, why would they not already have permits?

Both the mini-storage and car wash are 6 years old.

Still I may check just in case. For example, a permit for a storage facility is required in the township I live in, plus a few others nearby. Unsure about this one I'm looking at.

Still a good idea.


Thanks!

Duck
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Hi Duck,

So I don't mind you freely offering your advice and giving me good reasons to step away from various dangerous activities (like buying a house from Fred...). That's okay. I just need to sit back, take it all in and carefully think about your responses, plus everyone else's.
I really DO appreciate the response, Dave. I'll still probably fly off at the handle at first, but I'll get over it. And I've taken your advice before, and operated successfully from it.


I really MUST seem like such a stalking buzzkill to you lately, huh?

First I dash the "Fred Flip"....
THEN THIS!

We've "hung out around the Fool" together for a while... and in addition, I'm still thrilled to periodically be on your email list of "What The ****" Adventures... I feel like I know you personally (and yet I still haven't notified the authorities!!!)

HERE is what I suggest;
1) While you are searching & shopping businesses.... ALSO search the SUPPLIER SIDE to that industry for the Account Executives that sell to, and serve the players.

Car wash, dog wash, clothes wash... whatever business... there's a variety of industries that serve & supply on a B2B basis...

2) SEEK EXPERIENCED & TRUSTWORTHY SUPPLIER REPS (yes... even BEFORE you are actually an owner/manager,)

3) ASK THEM for references to SUCCESSFUL owners in the industry you are considering. The reason you are asking, is because you ant to enlist/enroll MENTORS that will guide you through the hidden traps of the process.

4) FIND SEVERAL GREAT MENTORS!!! FIND THEM FIRST!!!! Enroll them in whatever way it takes. MOST successful entrepreneurs are quite generous "to our own" and will usually be extremely helpful merely for recognition & acknowledgment.

5) YOU *COULD* try to enroll a Mentor as a "silent partner" to guide you... basically being your "Boss"... in exchange for a % ownership. You, of course, would carry all the financial risks... but it would be WELL worth it if you choose the right Mentor. (This could also help if you intend to buy a business that would be "in competition" with your mentor's business... due to proximity, or some other reason.)

6) Having such an experienced manager/owner on your equity team COULD be helpful in your negotiations for financing & vendor support as well.

Duck, you're a brilliant, creative guy! I want to see you massively succeed!

Cheers,
Dave
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Hey, Dave!

I really MUST seem like such a stalking buzzkill to you lately, huh?
First I dash the "Fred Flip"....
THEN THIS!


Well, hey, at least I'm not afraid of asking dumb questions. (BTW, we're learning that Fred's "friends" are trashing his house...more later.)

Duck, you're a brilliant, creative guy! I want to see you massively succeed!

Thanks. I think what I'm trying to do is overcome the ever-popular malaise of "analysis paralysis". I could stare at Loopnet and various other websites on rental properties and commerical properties, but it doesn't get me anywhere unless I actually start DOING something.

That's a lot of why I've been peppering the boards with "What if I do this..." questions. Just getting the guts to ASK about doing various things will get me thinking and learning. That's the only way I'm going to move forward.


But thanks for the mentoring suggestions!!!


Duck
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"
What about other means? My local bank has a conventional business loan, but their process assumes I have an ongoing business, not trying to buy an existing one. I have to go to my bank in person and explain my situation. (I figured my bank would be helpful considering the deposits are easily there to cover me, even for as much as the $30K I'm looking for.)"

-------------------------------------------
By the way 70% of small business owners are voting for Bush. Once you have a small business you will realize that a rollback for taxes over 200K will really punish small businesses (less profits means less ability to reinvest next year). The increase in single year capital expense allowances that bush passed was great. The decrease of the capital gains tax is huge for small businesses.

Things that are bad for small businesses that democrats advocate
Increase in workers comp (see california)
Mandatory health care
Minimum wage increases
Lengthening unemployment benefits
--------------------------------------------


I have found that conventional loans are pretty hard to get. However if you go the SBA express route it really isn't that bad. However the SBA does want you to put some of your own money up. It took me about a week or two to get qualified for a small (130K) SBA line of credit using around 500K of receivables and a personal guarantee as collateral. If you are buying a business with hard assets that will help.

However, I am guessing that regardless of what route you go, you will have to make a personal guarantee and that could put Mrs. ducks money at risk.

I have never bought a business (I started my own), but I and a few friends have been casually looking for the last few years, one of the keys is to find a motivated seller. Given that businesses are incredibly hard to run, it shouldn't be hard to find a business that is being poorly run and is therefore cheap. One of our mentors is a guy who has bought and sold many businesses and right now owns 12 el pollo locos (fast food).


0) The hardest part of running a business is hiring the right people. This can only be learned through trial and error. You don't need to know the in's and out's of the business if a good manager is in place.

1) Sellers will lie on financial statements. If they arent checked out by an accountant, don't do it, even if they are, beware. In addition, you should require to see actual tax returns.

2) Go to the business and hang out to get a real idea of traffic. Corroborate that with the financial statements.

3) We are looking to try to find someone who wants to sell for less than 2X yearly earnings and 1X would be even better. Business brokers will try to sell you on "cashflow" but that is BS for capital intensive businesses.

4) Why not start a computer consulting business since that is what you know. Just going on a contract basis can double your hourly rate. The hard thing to manage is utilization. However you can make the same gross pay on half the hours and get huge tax deductions to boot. (like a SEP IRA which lets you save 40K tax free). This could give you more free time to search for new businesses.


5) I have a routine set of investment searches that I do on a weekly basis
a) Stock screens to look for equity investments
b) MLS, classifieds and forclosure screens to look for real estate investments
c) Business broker screens to look for small business investments

I am certain that if I keep looking long enough and do it consistently, I will eventually find real estate, a business or equity to invest in.


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Duck, my friend, I think that you have a more basic problem here. You could, if you look hard enough and are willing to pay up, find a source of capital. However, you have an issue in that the missus isn't on board. I think that Dave's experience is instructive in at least one important respect: it took a lot of family support and involvement to run the business they bought. You need the missus on board if only because there will be times when you are inconveniently dragged into doing stuff with the business and she will have to either deal with the kids or actually show up and help you out. From my own experience, I am filling in with the kiddo as my wife deals with her clients, and her side business wouldn't work without my help. I'd also point out that you would almost certainly be reliant on Mrs. Duck's steady income while you got the business up and running. Is she ready for that?

If I were in your shoes, I'd be looking for either a new job or a line of business that you could be a consultant/contractor (or a start-up that requires minimal capital). If it were me, I'd be looking into a tax prep or financial planning business. For you, I could see something computer-related. If you really want to own a business that requires capital, I would suggest that you get a job at that business or a similar one and learn it from the ground up. Not only would you get a much better idea of what's important and how to deal with it, but you would also probably have an easier time convincing Mrs. Duck that you understand what you are getting into and you won't be blowing her/your capital on a lark.
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Why not start a computer consulting business since that is what you know.

NO. I am trying to get out of the computer business....quickly.

Thanks, but no thanks.


Duck
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-------------------------------------------
By the way 70% of small business owners are voting for Bush. Once you have a small business you will realize that a rollback for taxes over 200K will really punish small businesses (less profits means less ability to reinvest next year). The increase in single year capital expense allowances that bush passed was great. The decrease of the capital gains tax is huge for small businesses.

Things that are bad for small businesses that democrats advocate
Increase in workers comp (see california)
Mandatory health care
Minimum wage increases
Lengthening unemployment benefits
--------------------------------------------


You've got that right, 500PSI, I DO run a small business with four employees plus my wife and myself and every time I think I'm getting ahead I realize it's almost tax (FICA, 1040-ES) day.

The federal government is taking over $1000 a month from my employees (3 full time, one 3/5s time) half (7+%) of that comes out of my pocket the other half (7+%) comes out of theirs. If I could give them even half the what the government is taking out of their checks every week they'd think I was Santa.

(BTW, they get to pay federal Income tax on what's left.)

And that's BEFORE they start paying tax on gas (.38+¢ per gallon combined fed & state), state sales tax (8.25%) on most of the other goods and services they buy. Of course we can't leave out property taxes Whether you're a renter or a home owner you are paying property tax.

My wife and I get to pay the full 15% FICA tax plus federal income tax on the money we make. And then we pay the same taxes our employees do every time we walk into a store.

Of course, the rich have their tax shelters (Kerry paid less federal income tax than Bush last year.) and the poor have theirs -- working "off the books" for cash -- sometimes called the "Cash Economy" and neither helps the people who provide most of the jobs in this country, the small business person.
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You need the missus on board if only because there will be times when you are inconveniently dragged into doing stuff with the business and she will have to either deal with the kids or actually show up and help you out.

Brewer's right, in all your posts (both this go round and the last) it always comes down to, or around to, or back to Mrs. Duck. Not only as a helpmate, but as a financier.

If I recall correctly in the previous iteration of this discussion you are pulling down big bucks now working for one of the large evil corporations you're hoping the next president of the United States will ravish. Big bucks that will go the way of the dodo (no, you can't blame that one on Bush) if you quit to start a business. Financially speaking, it took my wife and I twenty years to become overnight successes. Don't look to have anywhere near the income from your business that you are pulling down now. You'll have to build up to it, if you survive.

There is a saying among small business owners that goes something like this: You'll never run out of things to do when you own your own business.

(Today is Sunday and I just came back from three hours at the shop doing stuff I know I won't have time to do on Monday. My wife gets up early on weekends to go out and acquire product. As I type this she's watching TV as she prepares product we'll be using tomorrow and all next week.)

My wife virtually runs the store. Without her I'd have to hire two more people and instigate all kinds of financial controls. You need to face some facts.

First, without the active support and participation of Mrs. Duck you'll be a small business one man band.

Secondly, without Mrs. Duck the only way you'll be able to bang on the tambourine while blowing your own horn will be to hire someone.

So what's wrong with hiring someone? Nothing if the amount of business you're doing justifies it. But small businesses, particularly start ups, tend to have erratic income until they establish a customer base and employees want to be paid every week whether the business made enough money to meet payroll or not.

A more realistic approach to solving your problem, in my never so humble opinion, would be to get a part time job doing something related to what you want to do. Learn the ropes, pay your dues, don't demand to start at the top 'cause it's windy up there and hard to keep your balance.
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NO. I am trying to get out of the computer business....quickly.

Thanks, but no thanks.

***************************

OK, then how about something else that doesn't require a lot of capital. Or how about just finding a different line of actual work? Its nice to be your own boss until you realize that you traded one boss for many, many bosses (customers, suppliers, capital providers, etc.).
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For God's sakes don't go to businesspartners.com! If you fill out an executive summary for a startup there; so called "investment banks" & "venture capitalists" will ask you for a $3000 - $5000 fee up front to find you "investors". I phoned Piper Jaffrey (a real investment bank) about this and they said no legitimate investment bank demands a fee up front.

I'm kind of in the same boat you are .... now. I originally went to businesspartners.com to get business advice; where I joined for $50/month. Had to; couldn't see any of the pages unless I joined. After joining I saw most of the pages were application screens; not exactly what I was looking for, but maybe I'd hit the funding big time. So I gave them an executive summary (of my business) and got 4 replys; 3 of the 4 asking me for $3000 - $5000 a month. The 4th (TIG) probably is a legitimate business and didn't respond after I sent them the business plan.

It's hard to get funding; they want to make sure they're going to get their money back. If its too easy, I've found, it's because they plan to scam you.

But you might want to learn how to write a business plan (not that hard - I have BusinessPlan Pro) in order to flesh out your startup ideas. Lenders and investors prefer it and could get you over the hurdle. Even then; I would imagine that you might only get one acceptance after 10 applications.
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NO. I am trying to get out of the computer business....quickly.

Feel free to send any business you don't want my way. :-)

dt
just trying to help you get out :)
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You tried an angel investor? Im sure there's an angel network somewhere around you.

-MC
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Duck-

How to get experience?
Why not offer to do maintenance work on the facility for a couple weeks for minimum wage, weekend hours. Get the owner to let you start ordering supplies and dealing with vendors. I suppose for a mini-storage that would be simply a trip to the locksmith every few months, and picking up cleaning supplies, hardware, and light bulbs on a weekly basis. If it's a heated space you might get to deal with an HVAC contractor. Once you've got a handle on the backend of the business, he can let you start dealing with the customers/tenants. Once you've got that figured out, he can let you take over the books. Do all this over a year or so, and you'll have trained under the one person that's most knowledgeable about that particular business. If you can get him to agree to pay you even a low wage, you'll probably be ahead at the end of the year, compared to jumping in with both feet and losing money for the first year like I did.

Also, don't downplay the importance of good accounting. I made the same mistake Beth did, of buying a business without having any proper accounting to back up the claims made by the seller. I paid only $12,000, and he accepted $1000/month with no interest because he was trying to get freed up to move to the Philipines. It was a janitorial, house cleaning, and floor maintenance business, and I learned a lot in the next 3 years about how little I knew, and how much more complicated it was than I could have guessed. We maxed out several credit cards keeping our equipment running and renting a truck, and we finally refinanced the whole debt with a home equity line of credit for $30,000. Small change compared to the numbers being thrown around by the rest of you, but painful for us.

Another mistake to avoid is dealing with a crooked seller. We thought our seller would be out of our hair as soon as we paid him off, and we were right, but he had poisoned relationships with all our local suppliers and many potential customers, and that took far more work undoing than anything he did directly to us. He also recommended we not tell our clients or suppliers we were taking over the business until we had some experience dealing with them. Big mistake. Along with damaging our relationship with even the existing clients (we managed to keep about half of them), this had the effect of linking us to his bad debts. We bought him out in mid-2000 and we closed in January of 2003. Bill collectors trying to find him finally stopped calling us late last year.

I will be smarter next time.

So, listen to Dave, get a mentor, or get the seller to train you in all aspects of the business if possible.
And walk, no, RUN away from any seller that starts making excuses when you ask for a tax return, or tells you to keep the transfer a secret.

HTH,
David
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Don't get fooled by Bush's tax policies, everyone! Bush is planning to shift the burden of paying taxes to those with earned (W-2) income and away from those with unearned income. So unless you are an investor who gets all their income from dividends, capital gains, etc., your jacked.

I agree with desertdaveataol that FICA, medicare, income taxes are a burden, but the situation will NOT improve for small business owners with employees. Remember, as capital gains taxes are cut, the govt. has got to get the money from somewhere else.

When it comes to tax policy, don't confuse taxes on earned vs. unearned income.
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Don't get fooled by Bush's tax policies, everyone! Bush is planning to shift the burden of paying taxes to those with earned (W-2) income and away from those with unearned income.

Says who? You? Mr. "I-voted-for-it-before-I-voted-against-it"? Bush never said any such thing and your Mr. "You're-damn-right-I-might-have!" hasn't backed up his rhetoric. Your claim is just another election year tactic to fool the voters.

Speaking of voters, older folks tend to vote more often than the young whippersnappers (you know who I'm talking about; the ones who can't name the vice president of the United States of America and don't know how long it takes the Earth to go around the sun (both true Jay Walking interviews).) who claim to, know more about how to run the planet than the people who hire them.

And speaking of older voters, the "Baby Boomers" depend on those dividends and capital gains, etc. (Which, by the way, entail the RISK of capital and as such are not "unearned" income, Jack!) that you disparage for their retirement income since 60 years of out of control Congress continues to slather layers of lard on every spending bill thus ensuring our government will continue to spend more than it takes in. Which is why Mr. I-spent-four-months-and-12-days-in-Viet-Nam would rather talk about ANYTHING but his congressional voting record.

Why? Well it seems Mr. I'm-on-your-side-whatever-it-is, never met a spending bill he couldn't slather lard on.

Cutting taxes on the producers enables them to produce more which throws off more money at the lower tax rate.

Desert (voting for the consistent man) Dave
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I haven't heard any specific proposals from either candidate that makes sense to the long term economic health of the country. That is Kerry's weakness-- as president, I don't think he can whip the US into fighting shape to compete in the global economy.

As for shifting the tax burden to W-2 wage earners, it is just basic math-- as other sources of taxes are cut, W-2 taxes will increase as a percentage of the taxes collection. Whether this is equitable is the crux of the debate and the subject of much disagreement.

But listen to Greenspan... high deficit spending is a long term threat to the country. Cutting taxes without cutting spending is a fiscal disaster in the making. We ignore his advise at our own peril. And the deficit threatens small businesses as interest rates will be driven up. A few percentage points is going to throw cold water on econonic expansion when companies go out to the equities market to raise capital.

So this election season, I'm voting lesser of 2 evils. Bush, a committed short term thinker, is definitely consistent-- and wrong!
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So this election season, I'm voting lesser of 2 evils. - perez

Beware! I did that in 2000 (voted Bush) and WASN'T happy with the result (namely Iraq). I was going to do it again in 2004 and vote for Kerry but since Greenspan's remarks, I've decided not to support EITHER candidate. Instead, I'm going to participate by writing someone in...

Pat Buchanan gave an interview on C-SPAN not too long ago (caught it channel surfing) and was plugging his book, "Where the Right Went Wrong" and his comments struck a cord with me. I plan on reading the book and will likely write him in come November.

JM2C,
g!
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But listen to Greenspan... high deficit spending is a long term threat to the country. Cutting taxes without cutting spending is a fiscal disaster in the making.

So you think John (big spender) Kerry who voted to reduce funding to our Intelligence agencies and for tax increases is the man to lead the defense of our country and to stop Congress's out of control spending?

I'll start believing what big spender John says after he releases his military medical records.

Til then I'm voting to FLUSH THE JOHNS! in 2004
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Um, this isn't PA. I know election issues are relevant to the self-employed, but it seems that this is dissolving quickly into the usual vitriol I see over there. Can we not do that here, please?

Plaidy
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Um, this isn't PA. I know election issues are relevant to the self-employed, but it seems that this is dissolving quickly into the usual vitriol I see over there. Can we not do that here, please?

Plaidy,
I rec'ed your post.
Yes, we could, and I'd prefer it that way.
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Plaidy, I rec'ed your post. Yes, we could, and I'd prefer it that way. - DesertDave

Seconded... Avoid PA, CE, among others largely because of it...

g!
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