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  • Starting a Business

    Navigating The New Normal Depression Economy


    One potential way out of the financial morass created by too large government, inflationary excess by the Federal Reserve, over taxation and regulation is paradoxically by creating a small business. But because of the hurdles imposed by a bureaucratic system that is now decidedly socialist, your options have been narrowed. You have to Go Galt to succeed.

    That means avoiding taxes, avoiding regulation, avoiding inflationary pressures caused by the Fed. It does not mean doing anything illegal, in fact it means the opposite, being hyper aware of your legal obligations, especially regarding taxes. Building a business in the New Normal requires new goals:

    • Have as few employees as possible. Zero besides yourself if possible.
    • Everything is an expense for tax purposes.
    • Robotize and automate everything. This goes hand in hand with keeping your employee headcount to an absolute minimum.
    • Choose a business that can't be outsourced. A plumbing business can't be outsourced. Pretty much anything clerical can be.
    • Manufacturing small rubber duck toys that can be made in China is not a good idea. Being a call center that can be outsourced to India also not a good idea.

    The Small Business Administration has a list of ten steps to starting a small business. Given the New Normal and from extensive small business experience we believe it would be the kiss of death to follow the SBA advice to the letter, so we are presenting first the buggy whip government plan for starting a business, and then a reality modified plan to give you a fighting chance.

    Small Business Administration Business Startup

    1. Write a Business Plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
    2. Get Business Assistance and Training. Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
    3. Choose a Business Location. Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
    4. Finance Your Business. Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
    5. Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business. Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
    6. Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As"). Register your business name with your state government.
    7. Get a Tax Identification Number. Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
    8. Register for State and Local Taxes. Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
    9. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits. Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
    10. Understand Employer Responsibilities. Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

    The flaws in the SBA plan are that it presumes you have a full blown and tested business idea from the beginning. The reality is that businesses operate in fits and starts, little is obvious at the beginning and the trick is to avoid failing right out of the starting gate. Here is our alternative scenario.

    New Normal Business Startup

    1. Make a list of potential businesses you could enter based on :
      • Past professional or family experience. That is, your talent base.
      • Inventions or Intellectual property you own
      • Franchises
      • Available businesses for sale.
    2. Guessestimate the profit margins for the potential products. A rule of thumb is that mark up must be at least 100% or the business won't be sustainable. That eliminates a lot of contenders.
    3. Consider liability and regulation issues. Even a great business can be crippled by red tape.
    4. Can this businesses be outsourced to China? Undercut by illegals? Made obsolete by robots or software?
    5. See if there are viable businesses similar to what you propose and look not only at how well they are doing financially, but their talent requirements and especially their location. Can you replicate their business plan and do better?
    6. Now that you've done your homework, write a minimalist business plan, maybe two pages, that you can evolve later into something formal. Any longer is a waste of effort at this point given the uncertainties of the New Normal.
    7. Regarding location, if you can run a test startup out of your garage, make that your starting point rather than immediately investing in storefront/office space/mass production machinery.
    8. See if you can sell small lots of your product to anyone, online if possible (E-Bay, Amazon, Craigslist). If you are a service, see if you can sell online through a variety of service markets. The online brokers can get you around some requirements for tax collection by providing inbuilt taxation or zero taxation depending on existing legal requirements.
    9. Work for someone in the business for a while if possible.
    10. Get Business Assistance and Training. Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business. Take advantage of free online tutorials on Youtube, trade associations, etc.
    11. Once you have a minimalist business operating, now expand your Business Plan. This written guide can help you map out how you will expand and run your business successfully. But itís most important use will be for investors who may be needed to fund you to the next level. Note that by writing the full plan in this later stage rather than as the first act you now have an idea what your business is actually about, rather than having wasted time writing a novel built on illusion.
    12. Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business. Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative. Earlier in the process, you were operating as a sole proprietor, now you can get serious.
    13. Choose a permanent Business Location. Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws. Hopefully you are already operating a mini business and now know what will be needed.
    14. Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As"). Register the business name with your state government secretary of state.
    15. Get a Tax Identification Number. Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
    16. Register for State and Local Taxes. Obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation account, unemployment and disability insurance.
    17. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits. Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
    18. Understand Employer Responsibilities. Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

    Notice the huge difference between our approach and that of the SBA. Our goal is to get you up and running with baby steps before you even think of involving government regulators through licenses, employee requirements, entity structure. This isn't so you can avoid taxes, but so you can get a handle on your cash flow and expenses before doing a costly ramp up that doesn't result in an income stream. This is the difference between financial survival in the new normal, and dying a painful and expensive financial death at the hands of bureaucrats.


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