The change in the economy over the past few years has led to many companies downsizing, laying off employees or even closing all together. We all know someone who has been affected by one of these situations. While having coffee recently in a local coffee shop a friend of mine, Joe, came walking in. The company he worked for downsized eliminating his position.

Joe told me that he had sent out so many resumes that he can’t even count them all. He had just stopped for coffee after another interview, which he heard the same thing, sorry. Joe was frustrated and getting depressed that he can’t find a new job.

As we sat talking I asked him if he ever thought about working for himself. Joe quickly responded, no. Asking, what would I do? Didn’t you work in the finance department? Joe said, “Yes, I did payroll and accounts payable.” Instead of doing this for a one company why not do it for several? I never thought about that, he said. Joe then asked, how do I go about starting a business like that?

Joe let me help you, that’s what I do is help people and businesses with their business planning. We need to do some brainstorming and lay out a plan. First, what type of businesses would you be most comfortable working with? Smaller business with maybe less than 20 people would be a good place to start, he said. Joe how many businesses like that do you know that you could talk to about working for them? I don’t know, he responded. Let me give you an assignment, take a couple days and list people and businesses you know that you can approach that fit that category. When you get that done give me a call and we will move forward.

When Joe called he was so excited that there was light at the end of the tunnel. He was so worried about finding work it was affecting his health. What’s next he asked? You have a list to work with, is there something in common among the names on the list that we can target a specific demographic? That’s your next homework assignment.

We need to look at a budget as to what your cost will be to run the business. I can work from my house in a spare room and I already have a computer and printer that’s all I need, Joe said. To operate yes, but what about supplies, business insurance, do you need a license? We also need to look at what income you need to earn to start our budget. WOW, he said, there is a lot to this isn’t there? Yes there is, to plan a business takes work and most people don’t realize it. We are only starting to get into the planning; when we are done you will have a road map to follow to move your forward.

I am sure glad I stopped for coffee the other day. Without your help I would not have even thought of starting a business let alone how to go about it. How did you learn all of this, he asked. Well Joe, what you are going through now I have been there twice. What I am sharing with you is what I learned over the past 25 years in business. My experience from starting a business to president of a board of directors of a multi-million dollar corporation allows me to share experiences learned from the bottom up.