Thinking of Starting a Business?

Frank Summers |

When starting your own business, there’s a lot to think about, from “what to name it?” to “how will you handle all of those customers?” When leaving corporate or public employment, there’s also an adjustment to managing self-employment taxes, benefits, and planning for the future. 

Every business is different, and so is every business owner. Two businesses could start off with the same products and services and end up being very different because of the audience that they serve and the way the owner markets and manages the business.

Every business should start off with a plan 
•    What is your dream?
•    What is your “why?”
•    Who are your target customers?
•    What market research can you do to understand the market demands for your service and offerings?

Having a written business plan is a crucial first step to starting your business.

What about us?
When starting a business, it’s easy to focus on the business so intently, that we don't give as much attention to our own needs and the needs of those who depend on us, when they're equally important.
•    How will you pay your living expenses? How much do you actually need?
•    What if there’s a set-back? 
•    What benefits from your old job will go away?
•    What will you do about health care?
•    Should you cash in your retirement savings?
•    What should you think about before you leave your old job?

How am I going to pay for all of this?
There’s a lot to think about, isn’t there? Starting a business itself has start-up costs, funding needs, insurance needs, etc. Personally, you still need to pay for the roof over your head and food on the table. What will work better: loans, grants, or going without certain things?

What’s the best advice I could give?
My best advice is this: Don’t go it alone. Starting a business is exciting! It can be thrilling, and challenging, and it is hard. Seek out those who have done something similar, especially those who have fallen, and gotten themselves back up. Those who struggled and then succeeded. Look to organizations and groups that can help. Here in Charlotte, there are a number of Chambers of Commerce, including the Latino Chamber, the LGBTQ Chamber, the Asian-American Chamber, the Black Chamber, there’s even a German Chamber. Find your people. 

Most importantly, know where you’re getting advice, question everything, remember the difference between opinion and knowledge, and remember that most advice is worth what you’ve paid for it. Form your team of expert advisors who understand small businesses. That includes an attorney, an accountant and a financial planner. Getting expert advice can be worth every penny. 

Would you like to learn more or discuss options? Let’s set up some time to talk.



As an independent Financial Planner, I have lived this journey. I know what it is like to leave a corporate career to start an independent practice. I’m a small business owner. I have no corporate benefits, no HR team, no tech support, etc. I pay for everything on my own, including health insurance and all business expenses, so I truly understand. I know the joys, frustrations and challenges that come with having my own practice. I’m an active member of the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, an organization I’ve found to be immensely helpful.