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Old 02-10-2020, 08:07 PM   #1
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financial advisor

Hi there! I joined this forum yesterday because my wife and I are in the learning phase of all things trawler...like all of you once were. However, I've been toiling with a question on a separate venture & thought it might be a question to bring up here. Maybe I'm digging in the wrong forum, but what the heck...here goes:

I'm looking for a reference or two. I am close to starting a small business & feel like my weakness is on the financial side of the operation. Solid work ethic and love of my trade has provided well for my family, but only as an employee. I've done a ton of homework, but am not 100% confident in my plan & would pay for sound advice before I take on the risk. Hoping to find an advisor familiar with the marine industry, but not absolutely necessary. The business is in Alaska. I have a few leads, but thought it possible that a few of the boat owners on here made some good decisions with their money at one time or another! Anyone willing to share info? Thanks! If not, thanks anyway!

Eric
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:14 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. According to my wife, I am not much of a financial whiz...
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:16 PM   #3
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So what is your business idea?

I am a business owner and am probably not 20 miles from you right now.
Iím pretty familiar with Alaskaís sorta unique economy and demographic.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:44 PM   #4
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Is there a branch of SBA (Small Business Administration) in Alaska where you're considering this business? In my neck of the woods (Seattle), SBA is quite well established, and they maintain SCORE volunteers who act as mentors to new business. These volunteers are typically retired executives from the field they're mentoring. I've used this service and was quite impressed. And the best part ... it's FREE!
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:12 AM   #5
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If you are looking for advice with the financial side of starting a business, you require the services of an Accountant or CPA. They will set up financial records and advise you on tax matters. They will file taxes for you. If you have employees, they can handle the withholding on paychecks.

Though knowledge of the industry may be an asset, hiring an Accountants or CPA's that you can work with, have easy access, afford and trust is more important.

Find a small Accounting CPA firm that deal more with small businesses than ones that work for corporations. I used a one man CPA firm for my businesses. He dealt strictly with small businesses.

It also helps to learn simple accounting too.

A Financial Advisor deal with stocks and other investments.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:00 AM   #6
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If you are looking for advice with the financial side of starting a business, you require the services of an Accountant or CPA. They will set up financial records and advise you on tax matters. They will file taxes for you. If you have employees, they can handle the withholding on paychecks.

Though knowledge of the industry may be an asset, hiring an Accountants or CPA's that you can work with, have easy access, afford and trust is more important.

Find a small Accounting CPA firm that deal more with small businesses than ones that work for corporations. I used a one man CPA firm for my businesses. He dealt strictly with small businesses.

It also helps to learn simple accounting too.

A Financial Advisor deal with stocks and other investments.
Not to mention, a good CPA who has been around a while has seen a lot of business make it, and a lot of businesses fail, and can usually tell you exactly why.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:06 AM   #7
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Is there a branch of SBA (Small Business Administration) in Alaska where you're considering this business? In my neck of the woods (Seattle), SBA is quite well established, and they maintain SCORE volunteers who act as mentors to new business. These volunteers are typically retired executives from the field they're mentoring. I've used this service and was quite impressed. And the best part ... it's FREE!
As mentioned by Group 9 and others - CPA. Many SBA groups have CPAs either in house of recommendations for the appropriate one for the venture contemplated. Ksanders is the real deal, don't forget his post either.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:45 PM   #8
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KSanders-excellent resource.

Score-could be good.

And I strongly recommend a small accounting firm/CPA who deals with small businesses regularly. Those type firms are often more advisers than accountants in their client relationships. They've seen successes and failures. They should know what to key in on.

I'm assuming you're starting a service business where you will provide the same services you have in the past, just for your own company now. Number one pitfall is one big one all tied together and that is underestimating the costs of running a business and undercharging. We get these questions here all the time, why does the yard pay the mechanic $40 an hour and bill $100 an hour and the answer is that's what it takes to stay alive. If you can't see yourself billing what your employer did for your time, or very close to it, then you can't make it. Don't think you can just add a little bit to what you were getting paid. It won't work. A good small business CPA will advise you of all the other costs you will incur and also that a business incurs costs even when not doing customer work.

How do you make money going out on your own? One way and one way only to be successful. Provide better service than the others, do a better job. That's how you build a business. You can't build a sound business based on price, based on charging less. Those who have been doing it know what it costs. Focus on being better.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:05 PM   #9
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BandB, thanks much for the response & tips. We are going to be doing the same thing I've been doing for most of my working life. Fortunately I've worked on the sales side a bit & have a good idea for what customers will pay for the service. I do believe I can provide a better service than the competition, that is the number 1 reason we're going to give this a go. Thanks again.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:22 PM   #10
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Comodave- maybe we have same wife...? Mine says the same of me!
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:23 PM   #11
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So what is your business idea?

I am a business owner and am probably not 20 miles from you right now.
Iím pretty familiar with Alaskaís sorta unique economy and demographic.
Hi Kevin-
I was just in Seward looking at a couple boats (I see yours is there). Been blowin' and snowin' down there for a month straight. We're looking more aggressively down in Seattle because that's the area we want to call home. If I find one up here that we can't resist, I"ll just run it down.
As for the business, sorry...I'm going to keep it under my hat for the moment (not easy). Alaska has always been a place that rewards hard work, I hope that holds true for me. Thanks for the response!
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:30 PM   #12
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BandB, thanks much for the response & tips. We are going to be doing the same thing I've been doing for most of my working life. Fortunately I've worked on the sales side a bit & have a good idea for what customers will pay for the service. I do believe I can provide a better service than the competition, that is the number 1 reason we're going to give this a go. Thanks again.
Well, do get a good small business accountant, one who will play devil's advocate with you. One thing I've found is that good sales people also sell themselves on their ideas and often need someone to temper their enthusiasm a bit.

Now, I found the ones I worked with learned to anticipate all my questions and objections and when they came to my office with proposals, already had addressed them. A good exercise for you, in advance of meeting with an accountant or adviser, would be to think about what others might question and how you'd answer any queries. Start trying to poke holes in your plan and if you're successful in poking those holes, then figure out how to plug them.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:39 PM   #13
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As for the business, sorry...I'm going to keep it under my hat for the moment (not easy). Alaska has always been a place that rewards hard work, I hope that holds true for me. Thanks for the response!

So where will you find a financial advisor that you will trust not to steal your idea?


Retired independent business people who have been there and done that are what you need, and you will have to trust one with your idea. Your local SBA is where to find him or her.



A CPA will indeed be essential, once you get your idea closer to fruition, but the only business most of them know how to start and run is an accountancy firm!
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:42 PM   #14
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Is there a branch of SBA (Small Business Administration) in Alaska where you're considering this business? In my neck of the woods (Seattle), SBA is quite well established, and they maintain SCORE volunteers who act as mentors to new business. These volunteers are typically retired executives from the field they're mentoring. I've used this service and was quite impressed. And the best part ... it's FREE!
The SBA in Alaska is an excellent resource. They offer classes and recommendations/answers to so many of the questions I've had. thx Toki
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:44 PM   #15
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So where will you find a financial advisor that you will trust not to steal your idea?
Bob-funny you ask...that is part of my hesitation. Alaska is smaller than you think. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:00 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the advice folks...I need to get email notifications turned on. I didn't realize there were any responses here.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:02 PM   #17
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Bob-funny you ask...that is part of my hesitation. Alaska is smaller than you think. Thanks for the advice.

I was being a bit ironic.



If your idea is something that needs significant capital, has involved logistics, and so will take some weeks or months of preparation, then it is very unlikely that anyone will casually steal it from you. Wise not to blab it out on a public forum, but I feel sure that a private discussion with a helpful individual from this forum carries little risk.



You could, however, in a fever of caution, hop on a plane and go to, say, Topeka, and visit the SBA in that city. I think you'd be ultra-safe.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:18 PM   #18
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I was being a bit ironic.



If your idea is something that needs significant capital, has involved logistics, and so will take some weeks or months of preparation, then it is very unlikely that anyone will casually steal it from you. Wise not to blab it out on a public forum, but I feel sure that a discussion with a helpful individual on this forum carries little risk.



You could, however, in a fever of caution, hop on a plane and go to, say, Topeka, and visit the SBA in that city. I think you'd be ultra-safe.
I'm not too worried about someone stealing my idea. I'm taking a risk knowing that all I'm doing is reinventing the wheel. Just making it a little more efficient, maybe? However, I do know my competitors well (they know me too) & feel like I'll have an advantage breaking into the market if they don't have months knowing. Ohhh...Topeka is a stretch, maybe Helena?
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:24 PM   #19
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Ohhh...Topeka is a stretch, maybe Helena?

Settled, Helena it is. My spies will be waiting.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:19 PM   #20
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I would not waste my time with the SBA. I went to them for advice back in the early 80's and had I listened to their advice, I would not have been able to retire from working full time in 1992 like I did.

I was opening a video rental store before the VCR was mainstream and several SBA people from two different locations told me that renting video tapes would not be a viable business. They suggested I open a record and cassette tape store!

They also recommended I devote more capitol to purchasing expensive fixtures, and signs to make the store look classy to attract customers. I disagreed and said a better selection of tapes was more important to a renter than a fancy store. They also said to borrow money for video tapes. I had around $10,000 and opened with home made and thrift store fixtures and purchased as many tapes and rental VCR's as budget allowed. I think I started with around 100 tapes and 30 VCR's.

SBA also said that no one would pay a membership fee to rent tapes.

On opening day, I charged a membership fee, discounted for the first 100 customers and made $3,000 on the first day in membership fees and another $1,200 in VCR and tape rentals. I bought additional tapes and VCR's the next day. And pretty much every day for several months.

Opened a few more stores after video rentals got real hot after the Sony Betamax case was settled. What's amazing is that the first store was opened with $10K and 100 tapes. The second $80K with 1200 tapes due to the expansion of the market and expectation from customers. Bought the fancy fixtures as cash flow exploded.

Sold the stores after 10 years before Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and other chains started moving into the state putting "Ma and Pa" video stores out of business.

One of the other suggestions from SBA was to lease stores instead of purchasing in order to have more capitol for inventory. I leased the first store but subsequent ones were purchased. When I sold the business, not the buildings, rent income was close to the income from the stores. When I first opened I was the only store within 10 miles, but by the time I sold, there was a Video stores at every shopping center and net profit was declining. The income from the buildings allowed me to pursue part time side hustle businesses that was more fun and less time working.

SBA might be helpful for starting an established type of business, but for something new, they have no imagination and tend to discourage startup.
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