BizVoice: Takeaways on Building a Business

The November-December edition of BizVoice® wrapped up a yearlong series with Fishers-based Recovery Force. The promising start-up develops wearable medical technology devices intended to increase circulation among other benefits.

BizVoice has followed the company’s progress over the last year, from early inception and beginning work to grow the organization to now, as the company is seeking advanced funding rounds and products are heading to market in 2018.

The first story highlights the Recovery Force beginnings, including the unique approach to solving an everyday medical challenge. Team building is featured in the series’ second story, and the third takes a look at the federal regulatory and grant environment.

Company advisors, from business experts to a former Indianapolis Colts player, discuss their roles with Recovery Force in the fourth story. And the fifth story puts fundraising front and center.

Recently, Recovery Force co-founder, president and CEO Matt Wyatt joined BizVoice editor Tom Schuman on Inside INdiana Business to discuss what’s next for the company in 2018. Watch the video below:

Find all of the Recovery Force stories and more from the November-December edition of BizVoice at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Fewer Are Taking the Start-Up Route

Lower unemployment is just one of the factors a declining number of Americans are looking at starting their own businesses.

In the first half of 2015, an average of 5.1% of job seekers decided to begin a new business, according to global outplacement and coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

CEO John A. Challenger notes, “While many Americans love the idea of being their own boss, we consistently find that 95% of those who are in-between jobs do not take that route. Most don’t even consider it to be a viable option and those who do contemplate entrepreneurship often conclude that the risks are too numerous and significant to pursue.”

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nearly 5.2 million Americans were hired in June 2015. Furthermore, there were still more than 5.2 million unfilled job openings at the end of the month.

But it takes more than just industry knowledge to pursue entrepreneurship. Challenger offers some of the other necessities required for those considering a start-up venture.

A Plan
Having a plan can help the would-be entrepreneur map out his or her vision. It does not have to be the 50- to 70-page formal plan taught in MBA programs. It can just be a few pages. Though something more detailed and formal might be required when it comes time to seek funding from banks or investors. The key benefit of the plan is that helps to focus one’s efforts.

A survey of more than 800 people in the process of starting businesses by the University of Michigan found those who wrote a plan were two and a half times more likely to actually go into business.

Savings
It takes money to make money, as they say. Not only is there the initial investment associated with starting a business, whether it is buying computers or business cards, but the fact is that it could take several months before the new business makes any money.
Unless one is trying to get a business up and running while holding down another full-time or part-time job, which is an entirely different challenge altogether, substantial savings are absolutely necessary to make up for the loss of income that occurs during the initial phases of the start-up.

Time
The reason it would be challenging to start a business while holding down a traditional job is that most new businesses require a substantial amount of time to get up and running. Entrepreneurs can expect to log 60 to 80 hours a week in the first two years.

Self-Discipline
The biggest challenge for entrepreneurs coming from a traditional workplace may be the lack of a manager giving you tasks and deadlines. Especially for those working from home, there are a lot of distractions that can pull your attention away from the task at hand. Some would say that telecommuters face the same challenge. However, they are still accountable to a supervisor, so there is more motivation to stay focused on work.
Until a new entrepreneur has that first customer, who then provides the motivation to set and meet deadlines, the only person an entrepreneur must answer to is himself. So, are you going to do the work necessary to find that first customer or fix that leaky faucet? If the faucet takes precedence, you may need to rethink entrepreneurship.

Strong Sales Skills
Regardless of the primary skills you are ultimately plan to provide through your new venture, whether it’s financial planning consulting or cupcakes, the first order of business is to get customers. In order to do that, you need to be a salesperson. As an entrepreneur, you should expect to spend 75% or more of your time on sales as the business is getting off the ground.

If you do not feel comfortable selling, your business is probably doomed before it even begins. No business can succeed without sales. A strong sales commitment is necessary, especially in the first 12 to 24 months.

Start-up Founder Laments Simple “For-Profit” Approach

Start-up cofounder Rand Fishkin has an interesting post on his blog about how simple "for-profit" thinking may not be optimal if the view is just short-term. I'd argue some start-ups aren't profit-focused enough sometimes, but his general outlook is worth noting and he makes some valid points about the nature of doing business today.

Apple as a whole may be worth more, but Google’s trendline, particularly the past 6 months, is far more favorable. Fred’s assertion is that this stems from investors’ sophisticated understanding that Google controls so much of the data, software, and ecosystem around computing. Google’s mission isn’t to make as much money as possible, certainly not in the short term anyway. Google is aiming for total domination of their (ever-expanding) areas of focus. Revenue and profits are merely a helpful side-effect of these efforts.

Later in the week, courtesy of Dan Ariely, I watched this video about Hancock Bank’s remarkable $1.4Billion growth following Hurricane Katrina (it’s worth watching all the way through, but if you don’t have 6 full minutes, start at the 3:44 mark).

The mission of making money isn’t just boring and stale. It’s hard to get excited about. It’s hard to get behind. It’s hard to build a fan-base around. It’s hard to hire for. It’s hard to scale. And it’s hard to stick with something through the muck of despair and failure that inevitably occur if you’re not pursuing something bigger than yourselves – bigger than money.

I don’t mean to suggest that those who relentlessly pursue wealth at the cost of all else don’t occassionally succeed. But I would argue that most businesses that have changed the world in the technology age have been pursuing a mission beyond the financial.

Starting Your Own Franchise? Get Some (Free) Tips First

Who hasn’t enticed the idea of ending the day-to-day grind of your 9-to-5 job and just starting your own Quiznos? (Okay, so maybe that’s just my husband’s grand idea for when we retire …)

But if you have ever considered starting your own franchise – and it might be a good option for you if you’d like the opportunity to own your own business, while using an existing business model that is proven to work – you’ll need some ideas on how to get started.

There’s plenty of benefits to starting your own franchise, including tax benefits, already having a proven brand and being your own boss, to name a few. But, there are also major responsibilities that go along with it – sometimes unforeseen responsibilities or just things that would be avoided with some upfront instruction and advice.

For that reason, Simon Malls is presenting the franchise fair at the Castleton Square Mall on February 26 from noon to 5 p.m.

The fair will offer information from organizations that provide resources for prospective business owners – you know: banks, legal services and consultants. Organizations dedicated to helping small businesses start and grow will also be there, including the Small Business Administration, the Central Indiana Small Business Development Center and Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE).

It’s a free event that is open to the public.

There will also be a group of franchisors represented at the fair, including: Dunkin’ Donuts; Pak Mail; Embroid Me; Re-Bath, LLC; Massage Envy; Sports Clips; Nestle Toll House Café by Chip; The UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc.; Paciugo Italian Gelato; Wetzel’s Pretzels; Haagen Dazs; Zoup; and Fantastic Sams.

For more information, contact Lea Willingham at 317-574-4002.

Indiana Small Business Fair Set for May 11 in Carmel

The Indiana Small Business Fair on May 11 is intended to educate small business owners and staff about starting and building a business. Additionally, a drive to help Gleaners Food Bank will coincide with the event. Here is some more information from an email sent by the Yougo Network:

The Indiana Small Business Fair May 11th, 2010 is to support the start up and continued growth of small business in Indiana. The   goal is simply to provide the right resources and knowledge through the exhibitors and free seminars.  

The exhibitors will be organizations and businesses who can provide a service or product for small businesses. The fair will limit the exhibitors to 2-3 businesses in the same field in order to provide as much information in various fields as possible.

The Business Fair committee is inviting networking groups to be a part of this event to inform individuals about organizations who help people connect and grow together.

Seminars will be ongoing throughout the day to enlighten people on starting a business, advertising, sales, home based business, marketing, social media and networking.

We invite you to help support the Gleaners Food Bank Drive at the Indiana Small Business Fair!

We are asking small business owners and supporters of small businesses in Indiana to rally in support of hunger relief in Indiana. Bring any nonperishable food items to donate at the fair, and help Hoosier families who need assistance.  We CAN make a difference!

The exhibit floor is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for people to come and go as they please, to gather information, and grow. Networking is encouraged for everyone.

Our keynote speaker Scott Abbott will be kicking off the event from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.!

This has been well planned and thought out to make the Indiana Small Business Fair a most valuable and fun event for everyone. Open to the public.

Hat tip to our Cam Carter on the info.