RE: Starting a business

Subject: RE: Starting a business
From: "Jim Morgan" <jim -dot- morgan -at- portalplayer -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 09:28:53 -0700

A cautionary tale: My father was a partner in a company that sold heavy
construction equipment. His partners started talking people who were good at
operating equipment into buying their own vehicles and going into business.
The partners knew the operators would probably fail, because knowing how to
operate a bulldozer and how to run a business are two different things. Then
they repossessed the bulldozer and resold it. (My father tried to talk his
partners out of the practice, and when he couldn't, he quit.)

The lesson: There is a lot more to running a techwriting business than being
good at techwriting and having a client. You open yourself to significant
legal and financial liabilities when you accept that first check (before,

Speaking as a former (and admittedly failed) consultant with my own
business, I respectfully suggest that the time to draft a business plan is
now. The plan helps you see all the possible outcomes of striking out on
your own and decide if you really want to do it before giving up your
income. Plus, if the business takes off and you decide to seek funding
later, you'll be glad you already have a draft to work from. It doesn't have
to be pretty or complete at this point.

In the U.S., the place to start for any type of business that could
eventually have five employees is the local Small Business Development
Center. You'll get tons of excellent advice for free, including seminars,
lots of handouts, and your own counselor. Plus, the SBDC process is required
before you can apply for a Small Business Administration loan, in case you
decide to take that route later. You'll find listings at

Best of luck to you!


Jim Morgan
Technical Communications Mgr.
PortalPlayer, Inc.
jim -dot- morgan -at- portalplayer -dot- com


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