The entrepreneur council met in the chamber boardroom on Oct. 9 to discuss entrepreneur do’s and don’ts. Led by Will Russell, a CPA at Jarrard, Nowell & Russell, the meeting was conducted with a five-man panel. Joining Russell on the panel were: SCBT commercial lender John Welch, SCBT commercial relationship manager Larry D. Windham, Jr., attorney Andy Shepherd of Hart Hyland Shepherd, and Allstate Insurance: Chellis Converse owner Con Chellis.
Beginning with a business plan is paramount according to Chellis.
“You have to write out a business plan and know what you’re going to do,” he said. “A football team needs a good gameplan to be successful and it is the same thing in business.”
Windham addressed the initial financial backing aspect of the plan.
“You can’t just use 100 percent of the bank’s money, you have to save money and have a reserve fund,” he said. “It’s easier to keep a line of credit than it is to get it back.”
Russell pointed out that projections in a business plan are not always taken into account.
“Think it through and unless you have a track record, your projections don’t carry a lot of weight.”
How to get the business off the ground isn’t all that needs to be taken into account said Russell, The potential closing has to be figured into the equation as well.
“You need to have a process and a plan on how to get out of it. You always have to plan for the divorce before you get married.”
Looking at contract clauses and knowing the liabilities are important said Shepherd.
“Anytime you’re dealing with food or people, your liability risk is high,” he said. “When you’re signing a lease there’s an indemnity clause you need to know.”
Chellis said that hiring a bookkeeper for $100-200 per month is very valuable.
“Incorporate a good bookkeeper and it pays itself over. It’s also huge if you are trying to sell your business and you have 10-20 years worth of good books to show.”
When it comes to the most crucial part of starting a business, Welch had a short answer that got straight to the point.