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Marketing Advice For Small Business Start-Up

Q:My business partner and I are in the midst of writing a business plan for a venture we are very excited about. We are planning to open a Music Instruction (guitar lesson, etc.)business that also has a full blown recording studio in it. This type of business is unlike any that is out there... usually recording studios are in the boondocks and lesson businesses are retail stores.

A:This topic comes up quite often and has been addressed by many a guru in this and other newsgroups. Please start here and come back to this group with specific questions and comments: http://home.att.net/~impresario/salesmarketing.PDF This is a free, no gimmick short course in marketing and business planning originally developed for the Intensive Entrepreneurial Training Course for California Colleges. Part of that plan should be who owns how much stock. Do NOT have a 50/50 partnership. That only spells disaster. You need one to have more than the other. Even if it is only 50.0001% to 49.9999% of voting stock. With a 50/50 partnership, you can lock horns and thus no action can be taken. By the way, you can still have 50/50 split of the stock. All I'm referring to is voting stock. The non-voting stock can make up the difference. "First, get experience managing a business like the one you want to open BEFORE you open your own. Do NOT open a business you've never managed for someone else. Learn your lessons from the School of Hard Knocks on someone's money and not yours. And, no, being just an employee doesn't cut it. You need to be the manager. A real manager. Unfortunately, businesses today call employees "managers" and/or "assistant managers" who are really just shift supervisors. Regular employees (no matter how talented) and shift supervisors (a.k.a. assistant managers) only know what the manager does at pretty much a superficial level. This doesn't mean that employees and shift supervisors don't think they know what the manager knows, but that doesn't mean they do. And they surely have no clue what performance pressures a manager is really under. So if you're an employee or shift supervisor of a business you want to start, send out your resume and get a manager's job. If you're not an employee of a business you want to start, you are in even more of a need to get such a manager's job. Customers -- no matter how much of a regular they are -- know every little about the businesses they frequent and commonly have a distorted view of it due to being on the other side of the looking glass. Now if you currently have a full-time job that isn't being a manager of the type of business you want to open, you need to quit it to work as a manager of the type of business you want to start. You might need to first be a regular employee or a shift supervisor of it to get such a manager job, but that's a good idea as will teach you the business from more than one angle. Be a regular employee or shift supervisor as a part-time job and keep your current full-time job. However, you will eventually need to be a real full-time manager of the business type you want to launch. If you're not willing to be such a manager, don't bother reading any further. You're just a wannabe with a fantasy and what advice I give below will just be wasted on you. However, if you currently are a full-time manager of a business type that you want to start or is someone that will do the above, read further and I will reveal the most important secret to business success there is. The above was just the prerequisite anyone needs to open a business. It doesn't mean you will succeed. It just means you won't make horrible mistakes at the beginning. What follows will make you succeed."

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