I sat down with Gregory Doomanis, Senior Business Coach at RSC Business Group in Los Angeles, to ask some questions that were on my mind since day one of starting my own business. A lot of these questions are things that I wish I knew before I ventured out on my own, so I thought I’ll ask a professional and share it with my readers in hopes of helping them make an informed decision if they are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur.
AK: Today it’s easier than ever to start your own business. It’s also the best time to do it. But as with all new ventures, there’s a lot to look out for. What are the first steps you’d recommend for anyone thinking about starting their own business?
GD: I’d want to know what I’m offering, and what is needed by my prospective clients? What can I offer them to really make a difference, and what matters to them? How can I supply it? How do I get the word out? How do I have people aware that I’m offering something that will make a difference for them?
AK: What advice would you give to someone from a financial standpoint, who’s thinking about leaving their fulltime job to become an entrepreneur?
GD: I’d keep my full time job…! I’d do all my due diligence, all my preparations, all the work that needs to be done before, – as we used to say – to open my doors. Then, I’d take on a client or two. And then slowly – or quickly if you are really great – transfer from your full time job to your new business.
AK: What type of financial “dangers” you’d warn new business owners to look out for when starting a business?
GD: Cash flow!! <without a second of hesitation!> That’s the number one thing. Lack of available cash starves a business. Ensure the cash flow is balanced: you have more income than expenses.
If you are coming into a business with a pot of money to spend, know your “burn rate”? How fast you are going through it? How much time do you have before it runs out? Keep your eyes on the cash.
AK: As a business coach you must’ve seen all type of business owners come through the door. Is there a difference between people who have saved up ahead to start their business vs the ones who just start without some sort of savings? Do you give them different advice? Do you guide them differently?
GD: What I really look at is the velocity of what they want? If they have money to invest, we can do certain things. Such as marketing, or investments, or maybe hiring an employee. Maybe having an office rather than working out of your house. There’s different opportunities that money gives. But all in all, it really is what you are committed to. For your business, for yourself, and for your clientele. And then how do we accomplish your commitments?
So yes, money makes a difference. But the most important thing is to make sure that you, as the owner, are taken care of, your clients are taken care of, and if you have any, your employees are taken care of.
AK: What advice do you have for people who have made the jump, left their job and a few months into it they realize things are not going as they expected? What do you tell them?
GD: We need to identify what isn’t going so great? It usually is that “I just don’t have the income I expected.” Or “I don’t have the clientele I expected.” Some people struggle with picking up the phone and do “cold calling”. Few people want to go from door to door, business to business.
The big question is, how do get what I want? How do I create a life that I want, a business that I want, the clientele that I want? And it’s all three of them integrated. We really want to make sure that the business owner is inspired and empowered. We take a look at what they are committed to, and figure out what actions are required to get them there.
AK: Have you ever seen anyone “fail” to the point that you actually recommended that they go back to a full time job?
GD: Absolutely. Some people have a nice idea, and no commitment of action. We figure that out really quickly. It is great for my clients to be in touch with reality.
AK: Do you also work with large organizations and how is that different from a one person operation or a small startup?
GD: Yes, I do work with large organizations as well, and it is quite different. It all has to do with resources. There we are managing teams with usually large resources and budgets. And so the “reach” is a lot broader. But so are the goals, the quests, so what we really look at is how can we make a difference with teams, groups of people.
AK: When looking for a business coach, what are the things a new business owner should look for in a business coach?
GD: First of all, you want to have someone as a coach, you can actually work with. That requires a few things. First, your personalities need to get along. Second, they need to be available to you. Certainly, you’ll have sessions together, but if you have a question or concern, are they available? Do you have their cell phone number? Can you get a hold of them? Do they respond quickly? It’s also important if they have ideas of your business? Do they understand your challenges? Where you want to be? What do they have to say about that? What kind of background do they have? Have they owned businesses? Do they have experience managing businesses like yours? And of course, will you work well with them? Would you take the coaching? Are they hands on? Do they ask how you are doing? Do they give you homework? Are there any in-between sessions conversations?
It’s also a nice thing if they have an “interview” process, a free session to answer your questions and concerns before you sign up with them.
AK: Any final words of advice for small business owners and those who are thinking about becoming their own boss?
GD: Yes… Enjoy the ride! There’s going to be a lot of ups, and there’s going to be some downs. Be really cognizant of your financials. How’s your cash flow doing? How’s your prospecting going? Who’s going to be your next client? Are your existing clients being taken care of?
You really want to live your business.
Gregory Doomanis, Senior Business Coach with RSC Business Group can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 949-510-4303. Please also visit www.rscbusinessgroup.com for more great advice and training programs.
Anna Kernbaum is the founder/owner and chief creative of Pixellent Design. You can contact Anna directly at email@example.com, or by calling (310) 896-5071