Today’s episode of Learning Legal, co-hosted by Andrew Easler and Ethan Hunt with special guest, James White, addresses pressing questions and strategies related to starting a business. Our special guest, James White, is an international business consultant with extensive experience and knowledge in starting, operating, and exiting businesses.
Topics covered include:
Ethan Hunt (00:00):
Hello, and welcome to learning legal with Andrew Easler. I'm Ethan Hunt, co-host. And as always, I'm joined by Andrew Easler. How are you doing today Andrew?
Andrew Easler (00:15): I'm doing great. Glad to be here.
Ethan Hunt (00:18): How was your week, a good week?
Andrew Easler (00:20): A very busy week.
Ethan Hunt (00:22): If this is your first time joining us, this podcast serves as a deep dive into all things, legal business, and a variety of other topics. In today's episode, we are getting into business specifically starting a business, which I have many questions about, and I'm very excited to talk about to help us with this topic. We have our first guest with us, James White. Now you are a business owner who has started multiple businesses, and I was wondering if you could kind of just give us a little background of where you started. What was your first step? And can I give the listeners a little picture into yourself?
James White (00:42):
Sure. So I started my first business at age 12, uh, with a $20 snow shovel. Now, back then we didn't have all these tech companies, you know, where a 16 year old could program some code, a line of code that vanishes text or something and become a billionaire. So back then it was all manual labor. So at age 12, I started my first business with a $20, no shovel. Um, by the time I was 14, my parents ended up working for me. Um, almost full-time, uh, by the time I was 16, my parents both quit. Their jobs, ended up working with me full time. Um, and then I was 18. I started a venture capital company. Believe it or not, uh, raised, I dunno, several million dollars close to maybe 10, $15 million. Uh, one of the biggest learning lessons of my life. And then I ended up moving to Florida, um, after leaving Canada because I love the opportunity here in the United States. Uh, very proud American now, and I help, uh, Andrew and the team here at Easler Law kind of, uh, do, uh, business development global on a global scale. Um, and then, uh, we also, uh, we're creating different brands, different products, et cetera. So, you know, although I don't know everything about small business, I've been around the block a few times. Um, and now that I'm getting older, I want to share that information and help people, uh, achieve their ultimate success.
Speaker 1 (01:51):
And how did you meet James Andrew?
Andrew Easler (01:54):
Actually, I ended up before I became an attorney. Uh, I met James and we started working on a couple of projects together doing some, some listings over in Europe. So, um, you know, we've been working together for almost 10 years now or
James White (02:06):
Actually over 10 years. Yeah, 2010 I think is when we actually met. And then 2000 10, 11, 12, we started doing our listings. We started as a consult. I was a consultant. I still am a consultant, but you know, back then, uh, I w I did a lot of securities, uh, consulting, uh, help companies raise capital, um, get everything ready for a listing on the Frankfurt exchange and or different exchanges throughout the globe. And we've, I've worked for, with customers all around the world, whether it's starting a business, um, established new product, doing businesses with foreigners coming into the United States or Canada, um, and, and, you know, uh, listing that company or, you know, uh, exiting the company as well with the different sales. So, you know, I have a lot of all-around, uh, experience to offer the general public.
All right. Uh, and I'm super excited to get into your business background. My first question for you, James, um, what is the first step?
James White (02:57):
Just do it? Um, I think that the biggest problem is, is a lot of people get so caught up in the details. They overanalyze everything and, you know, the best way is to just do it. You know, whether you're doing a podcast, whether you're starting an Uber ride, sharing business, whether you're starting a book, whatever business you're starting, just do it. If you're an expert in that business or you're passionate about that business, um, I would go ahead and do it. The one thing I wouldn't recommend people do is just do something they're not passionate about it, follow the money. I would never follow the money from a small business perspective. Um, and the main reason why, and I made this mistake too. So, you know, I know from experience is when we're where we do things because of the money. It, it tires us out.
James White (03:38):
And then eventually we just kind of become a very disenchanted disenfranchised person, which is why I think you see a lot of these like big executives, C-suite executives. They're very bitter a lot of the time because they didn't follow their dreams or they didn't follow the path that they should've followed. Um, and sometimes it's not about the money, right? You should follow your happiness, you really should. Um, and I made that mistake and it took me till probably only a few years ago before I started realizing, okay, look at, I can't be getting to this business because I think it's going to be a quick hit or, you know, it's going to be a lot of money. Let's focus on something long-term that I enjoy. And I may not become a billionaire, uh, but you know, a $20 steak is a $20 steak. So if you have a hundred million dollars or a hundred billion dollars, I don't think it matters at that point. Um, in fact, I'd probably want less money only because then you don't become a target, um, especially in today's society where, you know, the wealthy people or people that have a lot of money are getting ostracized for, you know, working hard and showing up and doing, you know, being very innovative. Um, so that's why, you know, again, that's, that's the way I'd go about doing it.
Andrew Easler (04:40):
Just start. Yeah. And I, I think, um, you know, you, you made a really great point about analysis paralysis. Um, I think that's the common term that you have is, you know, you're, you're looking at doing something, but then you overanalyze and then reanalyze and then reevaluate and keep thinking, and what are the risks and what, what is everything going on? Uh, certainly you, you want to avoid the analysis paralysis, but, um, you know, jumping into a brand new business should take a little bit of forethought, uh, before you, before you do it, but important, the most important part, I think, uh, James is what you mentioned is, is following your passion. Once you, once you have a great idea or you think you have a good idea, um, then start thinking it through and, uh, make a plan of action to get some.
James White (05:22):
And this is why, I mean, you get along drew or Andrew, I should say is because I start, Andrew claims up all my messages, which is why he became an attorney because I was spending so much money on, on law firms. I'm like, drew, we gotta save some money. You gotta become an attorney. And that was just a joke. But in reality, I mean, you should put some thought into it, for sure. Uh, because, you know, when you start something, one of the biggest, uh, you know, aspects of starting a small business, if you have, especially if you have a spouse or partner or kids, um, you know, it's going to take a lot of your time up, you're going to be working. You know, if you're not working 14 to 18 hours a day, when you start your business, you're probably doing something wrong in all honesty.
James White (05:58):
Um, and that's where I think a lot of people get disenfranchised and fail is because they don't have a great support system. You know, everybody wants to start a small business because of the glory that's being, you know, the surrounding glory that over the years, people say, oh, I've made a billion dollars and I've done this and I've done that. Or I, you know, I started Google for my garage, so everybody else thinks they can do that. But if we actually look at, you know, how many people have been, become Google, or how many companies have become Google out of how many businesses have started? There's a reason why 90% of businesses fail within the first five years, right? Uh, for everyone, Google, there's probably a million small businesses that fail worldwide. So right. You know, that might be a little exaggeration, but, you know, it's pretty high that the rate of failure, because I think that people are eight under-capitalized, they don't know what they're getting themselves into.
James White (06:40):
And they think being an owning a small business, it's like being an employee where you can just shut everything down at five and go home and watch your, you know, your TV shows or do whatever you're going to do. And although some small businesses that may be the case, it's very, very rare. Um, so speaking of that, um, you know, I've got a question for you, too. What, you know, from a, from an entrepreneurship perspective, you guys are a little bit younger than I am. Um, what, what w what kind of small businesses are in demand? Like, what do you guys think would, if I was going to start a business out of college or something, what kind of businesses would you guys consider starting? Drew was obviously an attorney, just FYI.
Andrew Easler (07:15):
So I think, I think, um, one of the things I think you, you hit it, hit it on the head is, you know, first find something you're passionate about. Um, and then if, if you're passionate about something that's not in demand, maybe really, uh, come up with a plan on predicting whether it will be in demand
James White (07:30):
And in the future, or we create the demand. Right? So one of the things that I've done in my past is, you know, we, we haven't had demand for some of our, you know, I've launched a couple of products and there's like, no demand. I thought, oh my God, I'm going to go bankrupt doing this thing. And then I just started creating what we call an integrated model. I said, well, uh, just like Elon Musk, actually, speaking of that, let's lose Elon Musk as an example, because that's probably a better example than mine. Um, you know, he started with the Tesla, Tesla cars. Nobody really knew what electric cars were at the time. People were very hesitant. There weren't many charging stations. So what Elan must do, he gave his IP away for free to all the other car companies and said, you can use my, I own the IP still, but you can use all the patents to start developing your network.
James White (08:08):
So he realized very early on, maybe five years ago that, Hey, um, you know, in order for my company to be successful, I have to help everybody else become successful. And then I can actually compete and do what I'm good at. Um, so, so w like to answer the question, what services do you think, like if you were starting a business today, what con what's the first thing comes to mind, whether it's, uh, Facebook's new metaverse, uh, where you can digitally shop now that's, to me, that's like alien to me, so I won't get too far deep into that. Um, but, you know, for instance, with COVID and these other pandemics that are supposedly coming around, um, what do you think virtual services are good? Like what kind of virtual services, if any.
Andrew Easler (08:47):
Yeah, I think you've got a lot of, um, you know, uh, opportunities in the gig economy, uh, which is basically of these, these odd jobs, um, that, that you might see throughout, uh, doing contracting work. It also depends on what skills you have, you know, anybody can drive a car. So Uber, Lyft, you know, uh, all of these, these grocery delivery services, these kinds of things were over w walking, other people's dogs. That's something you can, you can get started with for, for very little money. Uh, just need a vehicle, uh, essentially.
James White (09:18):
And that's like a micro-business though, right? That's not a small business. So, you know, micro businesses. I think that, I mean, they're good to start off with, maybe get some experience and, you know, going back to Ethan's point, you know, maybe if you're fresh out of college or you don't have a lot of business experience, maybe like drew was saying, we start with like Rover the dog walking app, um, or Uber, just so you kind of understand the deductions, how to follow your business taxes and stuff. Um, just like everybody has to do their hard time when they start a small business. Maybe that's how you start a small business and you kind of work your way into it. If you're scared to, to start. Um, now me going back to me again, um, I'm not scared really to do anything because money for me, I think a lot of the mistakes that people make are they're afraid of losing what they've saved.
James White (09:58):
They're afraid of losing their hard work and efforts, et cetera, and going broke, especially if, if a wife and kids that's very scary. Um, now for me, I don't have any kids, don't have a wife. Um, so I can pretty much invest, you know, a hundred percent of my capital into these crazy projects and fail and still come out, you know, pretty intact. But I, I understand a lot of people can't, um, for, for my opinion, as far as what services or what businesses will probably be in the band, definitely tech, some sort of, you know, service tech, uh, I think we'll be in demand. So I think a lot of the, uh, older generations, what they wanted to do, my opinion was they were outsourcing all their call centers like India and Pakistan, and they kind of pigeonholed everybody to not getting service. They basically been training us in our minds, uh, to expect less and pay more.
James White (10:44):
That's really what, you know, uh, these guys have done. So I think what it's going to depend on is can swing the other way and people are going to want more to, and paying less, so better service, you know, uh, better quality goods, uh, you know, just more holistic approach to everything. So I think as far as, you know, service-based businesses, I think will be big in the future. Um, and you're seeing that now a lot of just shortages because there's nobody in a service-based, uh, businesses, but I think any service really will be good. Uh, we're talking about trades earlier in our pre-show, uh, talk. So what do you think about trade? Do you think, like AC roofing?
Andrew Easler (11:19):
Yeah, I think right now we know that there is a major skills gap. There's a high demand for certain skilled jobs that are not college, uh, academic college degree oriented, you know, plumbers, electricians, air conditioning. Um, you know, most of these people in these fields are making more than, than a four-year bachelor of arts graduates.
James White (11:40):
Yeah. I know the plumber. I was talking to the plumber, Ethan, um, you know, that's what we're working on. One of our properties right now and the, and the guy made, you know, $200,000 plus last year. And that's not, that's what a two, I don't know what a plumbing degree is. What is a two years or something six months. I mean, it's not, it's not like a seven year law degree where you have to go to school and, and hustle for seven years and exhaust yourself, you know, reading all these documents, you know, so yeah, I think that starting a trade business is probably going to pay off. Um, and then I suppose starting a trade business is you can go get a job as an employee for a few years, understand the business a little bit, understand the industry, um, and then start your own business and probably be pretty busy, pretty quickly with very little marketing.
James White (12:20):
Um, they make it so easy now to start a business. You know, when I started mine, it was like we had to do direct mail. We did do the old school, yellow pages. I don't know if people remember that or not, but there's like this big yellow book that was like, you know, a foot high and you had to pay like $30,000 for an ad for the year. Right. So now to start a business, you can be super target and you can actually make quite a bit of money with very little inputs. Um, you know, so it puts means money in, uh, by the way, if people don't know what that means. So yeah, you can make a lot of money right now. You can do a quick, uh, you know, I wouldn't advertise on Facebook. I think Google is obviously good for that, but we'll go into that later on. Um, so how much money, I guess, um, can a business make? I mean, that's a very loaded question, right? Yeah,
Andrew Easler (13:00):
Yeah, absolutely. I think, um, you know, we get these kinds of questions, you know, Hey, I'm looking at starting, you know, this kind of business or that kind of business, I'm starting up a SAS program. What do you think I could make doing this? Uh, and you know, in the United States, I think the world is your oyster. Uh, when it comes to choosing a business that could make be profitable. But as James mentioned earlier, you know, the number one question you should be asking is whether or not you're passionate about it. The number two question is whether there's actually going to be a demand for it. And then maybe number three or four or five you should be looking at, okay, well, how much money am I going to be able to make? I think the money will come, come later. I think that the biggest thing is that you're motivated to do it, that you have a good understanding of the business you're going to be getting into, and that there's ultimately going to be a demand for it in the marketplace.
James White (13:50):
Let me just do it and then figure it out as you go along. And that's how I think I've been successful. Honestly, I'd be right. You know, like we, we, you know, uh, for the viewers that don't mean Andrew co-founded, uh, work training.com, formerly drug testing, courses.com. And we knew nothing about drug testing. When we first got into it. Andrew was a teacher and instructional designer at UCF, or I think he went to school for education, English education. Yep. And he, and he did instructional design on the side, kind of as a side hustle. And then I said, Hey, Andrew, you know, you're only making like 40 grand a year or 38 grand a year, but you're putting on like 120 hours a week. And because he worked for virtual school, um, you know, I remember him getting calls like one o'clock in the morning when we were just like on a Friday night we're playing cards or something or games.
James White (14:30):
I'm like, what, what are these people doing? This is crazy. Um, so, you know, we started a work training.com and then we've done a lot of other ventures in between that. So, um, th I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when they're thinking about starting their own business is they think they're gonna make a lot of money. Um, you know, so if you're out there and you think I'm going to, I'm making 50 grand a year or 40 grand a year, and I'm gonna start a small business and double my income, uh, it's probably not going to happen for the first five, 10 years. And in fact, most small businesses, uh, Ethan and Andrew, as Andrew knows, um, you know, most small business owners make very little, their employees make way more than them for the first several years and sometimes forever. Um, you know, there's the old term that says you're buying a job, right?
James White (15:11):
So that's one of the things when I do business consulting, or when we have clients come in the law firm and they don't need legal advice, need business, like just business marketing or consulting advice. Uh, Andrew brings me into the consults. And the first thing I say to people is, you know, don't go buy, buy a job, right? So there's lots of, there's lots of ways you can start a small business. Um, buying a job is almost like multi-level marketers, right? That's buying a job, you pay a couple hundred dollars. You get, and I'm not saying they're bad. I'm just saying that, you know, it's a, it's a glorified salesperson job. You're not starting a business. You're not becoming an entrepreneur. You know, being an entrepreneur is actually creating, finding a problem in the market and trying to come up with solutions to solve it.
James White (15:47):
And whether that's, you know, at disruption at a disruptive business, which is like Google or one of these ride sharing apps, or, you know, uh, just locally, you know, coming up with like a, you know, a food supply business for older people, if your population is older, you can start like a food prep business and deliver meals to them every day or every week. So there's lots of opportunities in different cities and they're different in different places, too. Um, what might work in Melbourne, Florida we're at may not work in New York state, uh, because the cultures are different. The laws are different. The way people think is different. Uh, being a good example of that as target going into Canada, they spent four or $5 billion and they ended up going broke now four or $5 billion in a country of like 33 or 35 million people. I mean, that's a significant amount of money per person to fail.
James White (16:32):
Um, so why do you think they, they ended up failing? Uh, it was the culture. I think, you know, it was the culture. People are especially I'm from Canada, by the way. So I can say this, uh, but Canadians are very socialist, right? I mean, they are, no, I mean, it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just that, you know, they, they just don't understand entrepreneurs or they don't appreciate as much as America. And that's why I came to America was because, you know, even, even people that don't understand business understand that, you know, you're, you're giving a lot to make the community better. Uh, I want to talking about trillion dollar business here. I'm not talking about, you know, apple with their market cap of over trillion or Tesla or these other ones. Those guys are, you know, they're, they're in a whole league of their own or Amazon, for instance. Um, we're talking about small businesses here, people that make the community better, that solve problems that give back to communities most importantly, and support them. So, and they're also the
Andrew Easler (17:16):
Number one employer in the United States.
James White (17:19):
Yeah, I think, I think small businesses count for two thirds of like the, the employees in the United States. So new jobs create hard
Andrew Easler (17:26):
Two-thirds of it. I think a is a roundabout figure of, of all the jobs new
James White (17:31):
Created every year. So I want to make that distinction though, between really super big businesses and small businesses, because I think small businesses, you know, and they asked me to finds that under 10 mill, I believe it's under $10 million. And I still think that's a pretty big business in my opinion. But you know, a small business to me is under, you know, a million dollars a year, I think. Um, but a lot of people, these people paid the same brush. They picked small businesses with the big business brush. And what they don't realize is, you know, the small business people are in your community. They, they, you know, if you don't show up to work or you quit because you think they're a big business, you're doing your community a disservice and effectively, you're just hurting it longterm. Um, you know, in Europe experience true. Um, or Andrew, how much does it cost to start a business? I mean, I've had everything from like $200 up to, you know, several million. Um, you know, what's a good budget, I guess if you're looking at starting your own business, what would be a good budget to allocate for that?
Andrew Easler (18:23):
Yeah, I think, um, we've touched a little bit on this a little bit earlier, but what you really need to do is plan for the future. And one of the things that you're going to have to plan for is not just your startup costs, but recognize that your income is not going to not going to even come into play until after what we call the valley of death. And the valley of death is that first period of time where the, the money, uh, sorry, the business is losing money. Uh, now for some businesses that's, as quick as three months, uh, and other businesses, it takes five 60
James White (18:56):
And some other businesses never go through the valley of death. They start making money right away. That's the biggest misconception right now, the bigger business you're planning on starting, you know, the more people you need, the more capital expenditures you have. Um, obviously that valley of death may happen sooner than later. Um, and that's, you're right. That's where most small businesses fail. Right. And, you know, I want the listeners to think about a small businesses. This think about yourself, sitting on a plane. Um, you're on the tarmac for years and years and years. And you're like, oh my God, I just want to get home and fly. And all of a sudden, one day the play motors start and you start taking off. And that's where the valley of death is. When you start taking off, when your plane starts leaving the runway and you got to make sure you have enough fuel in that jet to make sure you can make it to your destination.
James White (19:35):
And that's where a lot of small businesses fail is they don't plan accordingly as far as the expenditures, which is why I think it's so important. You know, I'm not a big believer in like doing business plans. I'm just not, I just think you should just do it. Um, but I am a big believer in doing some sort of cost analysis to break even right, where you figure, okay, what software systems do I need? What employees do I need? What do I need, period, what are going to be my monthly costs generally within a 20 to 30% range. And I'm always more con uh, more liberal when it comes to the cost. I make sure I add more, um, because I want to make sure that I'm not going to fail in the valley of death. And I have failed in the valley desk a couple of times.
James White (20:09):
So just FYI, I'm not perfect. Um, but that's, I would rather look at the cost and anything else. Cause I th I think as a small business that you're doing a business plan, um, although it's good to think about certain things and that's really what a business plan is. It forces you to think about certain, uh, issues within your industry, that target that you're starting. Um, but again, as a small business, things change very rapidly. So that's a good blueprint. You have to make sure that you're the architect of your business, that you can change rapidly. Um, like Martha Stewart, I don't think she ever had a business plan. If I remember correctly when she did her interview.
Andrew Easler (20:40):
No, I don't think, I don't think she was a huge believer, but she also, you know, looked at the risks. She understood her market. Uh, I don't know that a lot of people know this, but before she became Martha Stewart, the public figure, she was actually a secure, she worked in securities, uh, and she worked on the trading floor and she was one of the only female.
James White (20:59):
I think she's one of the only females. And I use her as an example because she, I remember watching an interview with her a long time ago saying she never had a business plan. She just kind of anyone, if somebody wanted somebody to just did it. Um, and I think, I think, uh, you know, the biggest thing from a small business perspective is give your customers or clients what they demand. Don't try and shovey around pack into a square hole as if I'm correct. When it's saying that, um, a lot of businesses are very rigid in what they offer their customers and the client experience, the most important Reno people want experiences. So you have to make sure you, you find the market that you want to, you want to, you know, uh, navigate or start something in and just make it better. Don't reinvent the wheel.
James White (21:38):
You know, I've made this mistake a lot of the times, you know, people come to me all the time with these ideas to invest in them. And we, I have invested in lots of businesses, both Andrew and I have invested in a lot of startups in the past, but people come to us and they, you know, and they don't understand what they're, you know, what they're getting themselves into and what problem they're actually solving. So don't just get into something for getting into it. But, you know, don't reinvent the wheel either because as a small business, that costs a lot of money and I'm not saying reinventing the wheel is bad. I'm just saying that, you know, for most people that is going to be a challenge in a trial of a lifetime to try and make it out and make it out of
Ethan Hunt (22:10):
What are some of the, uh, biggest pitfalls you have seen from people that start a business or like have a startup, or, you know, are just getting started. What are some of the common denominators you've seen with some of the failures?
James White (22:21):
They don't understand how much work it is. They don't want to put the time and effort in, um, you know, I've had a situation where I felt, so he started business and I sent them a customer at 11:00 AM and they're in the gym pumping up the muscle muscly, like I'm like, I can't work with you. So I actually, you know, fire them as a client because I can't work with you for that. If you're gonna, if you're going actually, if, see, if you're serious about starting a business, you have to be willing to do what it takes to make it successful. And I think the biggest one that I've seen is, um, as people, just their stomachs work, it is to start a business, how much hassle it is. Um, especially people that are in government positions or that have been employees, a lot of their lifetime.
James White (22:54):
They think they can come to work from nine to five and leave and be done and be successful. Ain't going to happen unless you have a specific business and specific industry and, you know, the times have changed, but you know, you, you do have some, some oddities out there where people can become successful being like, acting like an employee. But it's very, very rare in my experience. Um, the other, uh, the other common pitfall I find is people don't have the skills, um, that they can't find the people with the skills, or they don't have it themselves. Uh, for instance, starting a law firm, each law, I mean, that was a challenge. I mean, there's so many little laws and rules and regulations. Like for instance, if we want to do an advertisement, we have to get the ad approved before we used to do direct mail.
James White (23:32):
And that's like, and they charge you, like, I think 150 bucks or something now for any other business, I can just do it and send it out. No problems. I have, you know, uh, some, some laws to follow as far as misleading advertising and whatnot, but generally you're not going to get to any problems with the law firm. That's a niche industry. You have to be, you have to know what you're doing when you're starting that law for a mop. So I think people just don't realize what they're getting themselves into. And then all the, I think the third one is although capital, by the way, the biggest misconception about people starting businesses. If I can just get a hundred thousand dollars, if I could just get the capital, what people don't understand is if you have a good product and you actually are good at what you do, the capital will come.
James White (24:08):
You know, I didn't understand this, to be honest with you until I was probably 30 years old, I was like, oh, if I can just get the cap like everybody else. And then one day we started a project and people started calling me saying, can I invest in your project? And now I have people literally begging me to invest in our projects and I keep declining them because I personally don't want shareholders. Um, you know, I'm not against the shareholders. I mean, they do have the time and place, but as far as, uh, my point in life, I don't want any shareholders they complicate, and that's a whole other topic to later on.
Andrew Easler (24:35):
I think you're absolutely right when you have a really good foundation for a business, uh, the rest will come, right? Exactly. If you build it, they will come. If you've got the skills, uh, you've got the passion, you've got, maybe the people that you need in place. Um, you know, all of those things are really the most important finding the capital. Um, I think is, is even though most people believe that's the number one problem or number one challenge. Uh, I think that's one of the near the end near the end because the rest will fall into place after, um, to answer your other question, Ethan, I think, uh, on top of what everything, uh, James has said, and I think those are probably my top, uh, concerns or challenges that people face are, but also getting into a business where, uh, where they, they don't have control over important, uh, and critical aspects of the business.
James White (25:23):
Yeah. I mean, we had a, we had a fingerprinting business. Um, the people that know us know that we were one of the first people in Florida to do live scan fingerprinting. Uh, but we did it really well with that business. But one of the, the reason why we started getting out of that business was because like drew said, we didn't have a control over the process. We were, we were the front facing of the customers with the clients. Um, so we'd fingerprint them and we would, you know, send their fingerprints. They have daily, so they could get their license here in the state of Florida. But what we didn't realize was the fact that you, you went through a vendor, then you had to go through the software, they'd go through the FTLE, then you'd do this and that. And so when something went wrong, then we were calling government officials or government offices who, you know, everybody's anybody that's worked with.
James White (26:01):
The government knows how slow and methodical and mundane some of these agencies can be. Um, and then we ended up taking a lot of the blow back because customers get upset. And I said to Jerry, one day, I said, or I think maybe drew said to me, you know, we can't keep, or Andrew said, we can't keep doing this. I mean, we're not going to be able to scale a business if we have to go through all these gatekeepers. Um, so I think, I think you're right. Drew is you don't want, you want to be in a business where you can control the outcomes. Um,
Andrew Easler (26:29):
I, the critical parts of it, I think that's the best way, like program your own software, for instance, like we're, we programmed our own learning management system
James White (26:29):
We spent several hundred thousand dollars on it because we were like, here's an example. And this is just an example. Um, we worked with third-party software companies and there's all these rules and regulations that are just now that we've programmed around. We know that they were kind of garbage anyways. Right. It was, they were just there to get extort more money out of you. And that's why you need to program your own software specifically, because, you know, I don't want to get into politics, but with, with, with a lot of the wokeness happening, if you, if you build your whole business on somebody else's platform like AWS, or, you know, one of these other,
Andrew Easler (27:05):
Yeah. We've seen a cancel culture, really destroy businesses,
James White (27:09):
Just shut you down. They take your hosting away and your servers and you have no choice. You can't even defend yourself. So that's why I think it's really important now to be self-sufficient. So like, again, have your own servers, if you can't afford it, if not, you can start with one of these other companies I'm sure most of the time people will be okay. Um, but that's something you have to think about as far as being shut down by one of these biggies. Uh, what I call biggies, um, is they don't care about your a hundred thousand a year business. If they think you're for any reason, they can just, you know, they can cancel you for any reason or no reason at all. And that's the risk I have today in society. And I think that's, what's disenfranchising a lot of people from starting their own businesses and, you know, growing is, they just, they're scared that if they invest a bunch of money into some third-party software and they built their whole business around the software, that eventually they're not going to have a business because their software is gonna go broke or they're gonna be, they're going to raise the prices too high or something like that.
James White (27:58):
So control you're right. Controlling the outcomes is probably probably the most significant, um, thing that we do. See. I forgot to mention that.
Andrew Easler (28:06):
Actually. I think that, I think, um, you know, uh, that was an excellent point and a great example, um, with, with the government interference or government control over, over things, regulations and licensing. One of the other, um, aspects of control is if you're a product-based business or even a service-based business that relies on products, you are dependent upon the supply chain. But, um, I think we should go ahead and jump into the supply chain, uh, concern after our
James White (28:32):
Let's get, yeah, let's do, we've got a break here Ethan.
We're going to go ahead and take a quick break. We'll be right back. Welcome back to learning legal. I'm Ethan Hunt alongside Andrew Eastler and guest James White. We're going to go ahead and, and touch on supply chain and how it pertains to a small business. Uh, and so how important is the supply chain for a small business?
James White (28:53):
I think it's critical. Um, I think a lot of people are relying on these foreign entities or foreign countries to, for their products and materials and goods, especially like, uh, Andrew's mentioned during the break, the raw materials. Right, right. Um, you know,
Andrew Easler (29:06):
We brought up a target going into Canada and obviously, you know, part of the problem was the Canadian culture, but one of the other problems that, that, uh, that they encountered was getting the distributors to work with them, obviously in, in Canada, there's there's larger companies and, and, uh, that have a concentrated, uh, power at the top rather than here in the United States where we have, um, still slightly a point where we, we, we do encourage a lot more small businesses and a lot more competition. So, um, you know, I think, I think the problems that they ran into in Canada, hopefully we don't have this a lot of the same issues, but, you know, I think right now you're seeing that our supply chain is extremely vulnerable.
James White (29:48):
Yeah. I, I think, I think that's what you're witnessing now. Um, you know, these, you know, especially with this trade war, uh, with people not wanting to work, because for whatever reason we can go to multiple reasons, but yeah, I think you have to have control of your supply chain. Um, that's why I'm not really, I'm not really positive on my consumer type good businesses right now, especially if you're relying on like China or India or one of these other countries to deliver your products or goods, because I think there's just too many things changing right now. Um, I think that if you start manufacturing, you have to source your raw material in the United States. I know that's very difficult for some businesses, um, but I would try and source as much of the stuff as I can, especially the critical infrastructure stuff that you need for your products or services, um, in the United States, I would, I wouldn't, I I'd be less dependent on foreign countries to deliver that then ever before.
James White (30:37):
Um, I just think it's gonna, you know, I think you're seeing a lot of countries realize that the idea of like a OneWorld supply chain, um, although I think the DMA had been okay. Um, I think they realized that you can't change cultures overnight. It takes thousands of years to change people's ideas the way they think, um, and their opinions and impressions of, of other cultures. So I think that it's going to take a long time before you see like a OneWorld type supply chain. And I think you're seeing like the blow back now from that, especially if you have governments that, that cheat, right. That don't follow the rules, because again, how do you enforce the rules? If a government cheat, you have to go to war and nobody wants to go to war anymore. So, you know, there's really no accountability for other governments to, to not do some of the unfair trade, trade practices and whatnot. And that's what, like, for instance, China has a bad reputation for that. They're just, they're very, you know, they're, they're, I guess they're smart business people, maybe.
Andrew Easler (31:30):
Well, I think, I don't think they necessarily even have to, to cheat to have a major impact on our economy. You know, you can look at small businesses, let's say, you know, you own a, uh, a relatively small construction company and you bid on a, on a contract to build a home. And, um, back when China was building the largest dam in the world, they were using all of the concrete in the world. And guess what happened, uh, to the prices of that, that contractor who was building that house dependent upon all of that concrete, the prices went up, it went through the roof. It's difficult to, for him to acquire the concrete. Now you've got delays in construction. Now you've got increased costs. And now you've got an unhappy customer who doesn't have the house because they're dependent upon something that happened way off and across the other side of the globe. Sure.
James White (32:16):
And people have to realize too, America was really the preeminent, you know, a buyer of a lot of these products, uh, from any country. And now that you see the rise of Asia, you see a lot of people like, like people that had no money before they're starting to become wealthier like America now. So as you start to see that balance kind of equal out where these countries will have a fairly standard, same standard of living you, China has a billion, 3 billion, two people, India has 1.2 billion people. America really only had up until recently, maybe two, 300 million people. So 300 or 350 million people consuming proximate on the world that's sustainable, but really what's not sustainable is when you have 9 billion people now eating the starved or drinking Starbucks plastic that you add to Starbucks, you know, plastic cups, or, you know, some of these non, you know, degradable, uh, things, right.
James White (33:06):
Which is why, you know, supply chain is so important, but that's all they're showing itself. We'll talk about later. Um, you know, so I'm starting my own business. Uh, you know, what are ways we can finance? Now? I know Drew's a securities attorney does a lot of corporate finance stuff for bigger companies, but from a smaller perspective, I know the sec has had new regulations in the last few years that have helped small businesses get access to capital. Um, but you know, my, my four or five or six things that I would say for small business to, to basically finance their stop, that, you know, obviously these personal savings, um, I try my personal opinion is I would try personally not to go into too much debt when I start a business only because you really don't know what your sales are coming from. So I'm a big believer in what the businesses that mean.
James White (33:46):
Drew start Ethan, for instance, um, we generally use our cash flow to grow the business right at the businesses and cash flowing within, you know, I say six months, if you're not able to break even, or I, I get some businesses take a lot longer because of equipment startup costs, et cetera, but from a service-based business, if you can't break, even within the first 6, 7, 8 months, you might want to take the, you know, yourself to the back of the shed and shut it down, but, you know, just reevaluate your business. Right. And mom, I would say that for everybody, every, every situation is unique, especially in this time and place. Um, it's very, very unique. Uh, she could use personal savings, you can lose loans from relatives or family or friends. Uh, you can do, you know, credit cards, you know, like, you know, this is a joke.
James White (34:29):
This is a real story. By the way. I remember when I first moved to Florida, I bought my first condo for $38,000. I used my, I used a cash advance check for my credit card. I paid the 3% fee and they literally, I renewed that cash advance. I refinanced my cash advance like nine times in 10 years. Um, so basically I had a 4% mortgage unsecured on a property. I bought that now is worth like $140,000. So sometimes you have to have some, some tenacity. Sometimes you ha you can't be scared. You just have to do it. You know, I am a big believer in real estate, as long as they keep printing money. I think real estate will continue to go up and thus rents will continue to increase as real estate prices increase. So those cap rates remain kind of what they are.
James White (35:09):
And let's just be clear. We're not recommending that anybody go out and buy real estate with no charge. No, no, no, no. You've got to be careful that I can handle failure. Um, you know, I failed once in a couple of times in my life. So, you know, when you go through a big failures, these little failures, you know, don't really affect you as much as fairly for the first time. Right. Anything for the first time. It's very scary. So, um, another thing too, you can do traditional loans, new government loans. There is what we call venture capital, which w you know, drew or Andrew does a lot of, uh, he does S registration statements offering memorandum, subscriber agreements as a securities attorney. So you want to tap into that a little bit and you know, how do we yeah.
Andrew Easler (35:46):
The capital. Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, uh, right now, uh, as an alternative to your own funding or, uh, your relatives, uh, giving you a loan, or even the bank giving you a loan, uh, you can raise money from, uh, from people who are going to purchase equity or even, uh, debt from your company. When we say equity, we mean, uh, ownership interests in your company, whether that's, uh, as a sole proprietor, which I don't recommend a partnership, a limited liability company, or even a corporation, uh, these kinds of things. Uh, if you're, if you're, uh, if you're raising money from, from family, friends, and business associates, there are certain exemptions, uh, but generally you, you will need to do a prospectus, a memorandum, um, give people an overview of your business, which is basically a new way of looking at your business model with even more scary eyes, uh, as you go forward and say, Hey, you know, what are the pitfalls that I can possibly encounter? And then reveal that to those people you're looking to ask money for, uh, another recent advent for, for money raising is crowdfunding. Um, there's some new regulations on crowdfunding
James White (36:52):
Offerings. Yup, yup. Or reggae
Andrew Easler (36:55):
Plus. Yep. So, uh, crowdsourcing funds even. So that's that basically getting smaller amounts of, uh, of money from investors, um, from a large amount of investors, rather than a large amount of money from a few investors.
James White (37:06):
I don't know this, actually, this just came to my mind is maybe that's how crypto started maybe because of crowdfunding started. And that kind of made people think, well, I can get, if I create my own blockchain technology where I can manage all these people, you know, when people sell and stuff like that, um, let's create our own crypto blockchain. I mean, that's how it started. Right? Um, some, some entrepreneurial probably realized they, they want a different way of doing things for people like their own, almost like their own, uh, decentralized stock market, right. Major. We're talking about this creating like a stock market, like a deck stock market, which DX stands for decentralized exchange in the crypto world. One of the,
Ethan Hunt (37:40):
Uh, most interesting things I've seen is, uh, video games. Actually, you talk about crowdfunding and what's interesting is with these games, people donate millions of dollars collectively just to play a game that they'll think would be a cool concept. And it just shows, I think just how far people will go for an idea,
James White (38:00):
If you have a good idea and people want it and you, you, you market it appropriately. Um, yeah. The money will come to you. That's I know when people say to me, I say, when I go into somebody's business or, you know, drew banged it in to consult because it's not legal, it's not illegal. It's like maybe a marketing question or something. And I say to these people, you know, what is your number one challenge you have? And if they tell me raising capital or financing their deal, they're not, they're not thinking correctly. It's the talent. If you get the talent there's like in the movie business, um, you know, the reason why these, these movies do is pay these actors. Like, you know, whether it's Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks or whoever, the reason why these guys can make, you know, or these gals can make, you know, 25, $30 million a movie is because they attract a crowd, right.
James White (38:42):
And the more eyes are on your movie, the more people buy tickets, the more you make. And that's kind of the same concept, right? You have to understand your market and you really have to, you know, uh, have something people want, because there are so many products out there like it's like developing your own app. You know, we're Ethan, we're in Nashville. And in some oil Wells, remember that, and the guy has a plane. He's like, I'm gonna invent this app and it's gonna take Tinder and Bumble and all these other apps that are gonna kill them. I'm like, okay, whatever, you know, and it's not saying you can't do it. I'm just saying that when you, when you're trying to compete with some of these big people, especially in a saturated market, like the app place or everything's saturated now, uh, that's why I said Ethan all the time. I'm happy on my age because you know, you know, older people and people like plus 30 plus it really got a lot of the opportunity for Ethan. How do you know, 20,
The three just graduated school, uh, the job market, especially in the field that I'm in, uh, to give some people's background, I'm a videographer, which is a very, very saturated field. A lot of different people want to do that. And so what's so interesting is, again, my friends who've, um, all graduated and are struggling to find, you know, adequate jobs in the field that they want to get into. Uh, it's a really tough market. And like you said, micro businesses, I have a friend who, um, like does yard signs for people like happy birthday, happy anniversary. That's what her side hustle is. I think our main hustle actually now. Um, but yeah, it's, it's, I don't see a lot of my friends starting businesses could just be my friends, but it's a very tough market. Um, and yeah, so we're, we're going to go ahead and take a quick little break and we will be right back. Okay.
James White (40:12):
Uh, that was good. Uh, that was good. Ethan, thank you for explaining that. Cause that's a big problem that people have now, especially younger people, they don't know what they're going to do, and they're very disenfranchised. And I think that's why we have a lot of the social problems we have in our, in our world right now is because people are just tired of not getting opportunity because you have these large companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, whoever they are just eating up the market and people aren't staying in their lane. Like I have a friend Luther, um, who will be on the podcast, maybe eventually, um, he's a pretty smart guy he's out of Miami or I think Boca Raton or something like that. Um, and he, and like he says, you know, we're turning into a third world country. This is what third world countries do.
James White (40:46):
And I think he's from Haiti. If I remember correctly, he said, everybody does gigs, right? They do Uber. They do pizza delivery. They do dog walking and just to make a living. Whereas because what's happened is a lot of these bigger companies, because there's not really a lot of business out there anymore for these bigger companies to continually grow. They're starting to come into other people's lanes. Like for instance, Zillow, Zillow was the primary source of leads for a lot of real estate agents or real estate professionals. Um, now they buy their own houses, you know, they, they do or say that they offer you money for your house. So now it puts the Mar puts the flippers out of business. It puts the rehabbers out of business that support the local economy. And now realtors have no way of getting leads because it was basically taken over the market.
James White (41:23):
And that's what you're seeing. So there is a social responsibility of some of these big companies to say, Hey, you know, and the only one that I think is actually decent about it is the Elon Musk. He's like, AI is evil, it's bad. It's going to over the world. And so what happens when none of us have jobs, which is why I think Facebook is getting to the metaverse because I think eventually what they want us to do is basically put on these goggles and go into some dreamland and have like a feeding tube in our arm or something. I don't know. It's really strange, but anyway, it's getting back to capital. I, you know, I get off topic sometimes. Um, I hope that you find it interesting. Um, so another thing you do is get government grants, although they're rare, I just want to quickly touch on this.
James White (41:57):
Um, most government grants are only there for available for limited and specific enterprises. Uh, but check it out at your local community or business development center. Um, the SBA probably has a lot sba.gov, uh, probably has a ton of resources. And if you are going to pursue that, definitely talk to a grant writer, these people are professionals and they know what they're doing. You just tell him what you want and they'll start finding grants. Uh, another question I, Andrew, this is for you because you do a lot of licensing. Um, the law practice is, you know, how often is a license or permit needed to start a company? I would assume like pretty much 90% of the time, right? Yeah.
Andrew Easler (42:29):
I mean, if you have a physical location, you're going to have to have an occupancy permit, um, 99% of the time, depending on where you're located. So that, that itself is going to be a license. Then a above that there may be county licensing. There may be city licensing, there may be state licensing or licensing or even federal licensing. Absolutely. So it depends on how regulated, uh, an industry you end up getting in. Uh, one of the, the, the, uh, interesting, uh, interrelationships that we look at in businesses is, um, what is the difficulty or barrier to entry. And typically when the barrier to entry is high, uh, then the, the margins are typically also higher, uh, the lower, the barrier to entry, the more people are in it. And then, um, the lower them are.
James White (43:15):
Yeah. And that's what I said to at, at D'Andre this year. I said, you know, I'm no longer getting these low barrier entry businesses. We're going to, we're going to do stuff in the future. We're going to do stuff that requires a lot of capital, a lot of licensing, a lot of regulation because that's where you make the real money. Um, you know, as if you're in an unregulated business, um, unless you're in crypto, that's not really a business, uh, per se. Um, but if you're in an unregulated industry yeah, you're you're over time, the margins will decrease over time. We've found that with the live scan business in Florida is when we first started, we were making, I mean, really good money. I mean, really, really good money. And then over time it started to, to, to, to decrease instead of increase, even though we were spending more money on marketing, we were doing whatever we could. Cause we realized that when there's the relation, everybody they're docking it into it. And we have everybody in their dog into it, prices start decreasing cause supply and demand effect. Right. Um, so you know, if you're going to do a business, you know, think about something that you can do that not everybody else can do. That's something to be successful, especially from a small perspective, make yourself stand out, um,
If I wanna start a business in a specific area. How do you even know where to look for those regulations or what your state or federal regulations say about what you can and cannot?
Andrew Easler (44:20):
Yeah, that's, that's literally part of my job is making sure that you're not running a foul of any kind of regulations. Now, that being said, if you're still in the very beginning stages, you can do some Googling. Uh, you can look at, um, other competitors in a similar field as you, and then see if they've got any licenses as well. So that, that, that can be a preliminary step, but definitely don't recommend, uh, going out there and starting whatever services or products you're doing
James White (44:45):
When you're saying, you know, basically what you're saying is seek expert advice, right? So you need an attorney. I mean, that's definitely a start for the attorney. Talk to them about a corporate structure. Um, is that an LLC or Inc if you're playing, you're raising capital, you definitely need an Inc uh, LLCs, I think can raise capital, but it gets a little dicey, especially from a tax perspective. Um, so we need an attorney. Um, I think you'd want an accountant, right? Like a CPA. And, you know, I know I'm going to make a lot of bookkeepers upset, but remember we talked about barrier to entry, don't hire a layman bookkeeper, right? Hire somebody with credentials, like a CPA. I made this mistake all the time. Um, we want a small business banker. Um, I highly do not recommend, uh, some of these other banks, uh, work with a local credit union or somebody that actually has your best interests in mind.
James White (45:29):
Some of these big banks don't care about you or your business, and they just care about getting fees out of you. Uh, we want an insurance agent or broker, make sure you're writing this down. So we want an accountant and attorney small business banker. I think you'd want to get an insurance agent or a broker as well to help you kind of mitigate risks. And then the consultants like marketing sales, et cetera. Um, so I think that's kind of the, for the, for the experts to, before we get started. So make sure you hire those experts. Um, some, some CPAs or attorneys may be able to offer more than just attorney services. They might help you kind of with marketing advice and kind of refining your idea. Um, but I think that if you had to choose one of them, I think already a couple of them I'd say attorney and accountant would probably the best. Yeah.
Andrew Easler (46:06):
Yeah. And I think, I think that's a really great place to start because it, um, a lot of, a lot of us who are really passionate about what we do will also have connections for the other ones, uh, to make sure that you get connected with the right and quality people who are going to give you the right kind of advice.
James White (46:20):
And then, okay. So a couple other topics I want to go over before our show ends. Cause we have, I think a few minutes left is we'll touch briefly on this and then maybe do another episode because I think it's really important is, uh, you know, some people say, I don't want to start a business from scratch, even though it could be more rewarding, they start want to start a franchise. Um, so people call franchise brokers, by the way, when your franchise consultant calls you, I don't know if you know this, but generally most of the time they get, make like a 50% commission on the franchise fee that you pay. So you may be able to get a reduced rate on the franchise fee, just a little tip for all those people, looking at buying a franchise. If you tell your broker, I'm going to buy it, but I need you to rebate, you know, 10% of the price. And they'll generally negotiate with you on that for initial franchise fee, FYI. Yeah.
Andrew Easler (47:00):
I'm sure those franchise brokers are absolutely loving that part of our
James White (47:03):
Show. I don't think so. Um, so, okay. We got it. So you can either start your business from scratch. Here's a couple options for all those out there that want to start a business through, right. We start there from scratch.
Andrew Easler (47:14):
Yep. You started from scratch and that's basically our DIY version of it. Um, obviously we still recommend that you work with professionals and that that'll help guide you in the right direction and help you get a plan together, uh, and recognize risks that you may not even be aware of. And then option two is franchising. That's basically, uh, going to somebody who's, who's already proven the model, hopefully. Right. Um, you have to look at their franchise documents and see if it's really working. But, uh, the idea is that they've proven the model. They've already thought about all the risks they've, they've, uh, come up with a PR process and procedure for, for how somebody can be successful in that industry. And, uh, they'll help you get there for a price.
James White (47:51):
Sure. And then you can buy an existing business right now. I'm not a big believer in this, to be honest with you. I just F they, they, the only one I bought two businesses in my lifetime, existing businesses, private. Um, the first one was out of Texas. It was a credit repair business. I was in Canada. I didn't realize what the credit repair business was like here. I realized it was scammy. I wasted 50 grand on that. That was a mistake that I made. That was the, you know, whatever. Um, I regret that. And the other, uh, business I bought was one of the biggest learning lessons of my life realized about a business. I was like 21, I think 20 at the time, I don't know how old I was. Uh, as you get older, everything kind of blurs together, bylaws, several million dollars in that deal.
James White (48:28):
Uh, didn't realize didn't, you know, we did, I thought we did proper due diligence. We'll need to find out my account at the time was on the other side's team and decided to wire a bunch of money out of their accounts and move to wherever he moved to. Um, so that was, that's why I'm a big believer in starting a business from scratch, or maybe in limited circumstances, franchising, although a franchise and can be good for some people because they need that support. If you don't have a good support system, that could be good. Um, now if you don't use a franchise and you want to start from scratch, um, choosing name, I want it, I've got a few other things I wanted to talk about, you know, what is a good name? Like I see all of these crazy names out there and naming your business, whether it's a domain.com name, like we own work training, uh, we own opinion letters.com, business, help.com, et cetera. Um, you know, choosing a name is very important because if you choose the wrong name, you nobody's gonna know what you do. So what is your advice on choosing a name, uh, from a legal perspective, and then I can kind of dabble into kind of what you should
Andrew Easler (49:22):
A company. Yeah. So the first thing is, uh, obviously if you have an idea for a name and you've, um, you've kind of, uh, counted on it or said, it's all right. I I've, I, I like this name a lot. Uh, I think the first thing you want to do is see if anybody else is already using it. Um, you can start by Googling, but, um, you know, we also have, uh, you know, federal and state registries where people have registered their names, uh, typically tests, uh, which is the trademark database, T E S S a you can search there and see if, if somebody has already had
James White (49:53):
The trademark databases, right. When we do that. And you know, I don't want to say, keep saying Google's we said it like multiple times. Let's just say web search search. I can search it. Yeah. You so you can use there's multiple searches. There's one there's duck, duck go, or there's, you know, bang. There's Google, obviously. let me make a lot of money that then lots of business with longevity, right? Think about that. The subscription reoccurring model, if you're gonna do any business, I think would be a reoccurring model, um, where every month it just renews and you get that money in every month, because it's almost like predictable cashflow. You can actually apply in your business. Yeah.
Ethan Hunt (50:27):
One of the interesting things, when I was in Chicago, Panera, did that. They actually had a, uh, a pay a month. You could pay a monthly fee for coffee. You just pay a subscription service, which I thought was insane.
James White (50:37):
It was smart because what does it cost to make coffee? Like a penny, a coffee, or something like that, especially the volume. They probably, maybe more
Andrew Easler (50:43):
You, how many people actually take advantage of it regularly.
James White (50:46):
So the name should give, uh, the idea of the nature of your business to the general public. And it should project the image that you want. Right. So you don't want to do anything derogatory in your name, unless that's the market you're appealing to you write something that's
Andrew Easler (50:58):
Really difficult for people to pronounce.
James White (51:00):
Like, yeah. Don't, if your last name's hard to pronounce, don't call your company by your last name, you know, work training.com. I use that as an example of law, because, you know, we were drug testing courses.com, even though we offer different training services and people always thought we were drug testing courses, they realized we did other occupational training, safety trainings, et cetera. And that's why we rebranded it because I said, okay, well, we're really big in the drug testing space. Um, we're not the number one training company there, but you know, how can we grow our model? Otherwise we're going to, we're going to tap out on our growth expectations. Right. So just make sure, you know, you have the name that describes your business, like landscaping in there, if you're a landscaper or plumbing, plumbing, et cetera. Um, one other thing, I got two things here before we finish up.
James White (51:40):
Um, let's talk about finding a good location, right? Location is probably one of the most important aspects, I think, besides everything else we've talked about, there's a lot of important things. Um, you know, I think people should consider the following facts, uh, drew when there are Andrew, when they're, when they're, uh, final location, um, make sure it meets the specific needs for your business, right? Your, for instance, like space, special installations, you know, build outs, et cetera, uh, make sure the zoning is proper. You know, we've seen this mistake as I'm a real estate broker. Um, I just buy and sell from myself and we own a bunch of commercial property here in central Florida. Um, zoning, I see a lot of tenants wanting to come in and lease a building from us and, you know, the zoning is not there and they say, well, that's fine.
James White (52:18):
I don't need the zoning while you do, because if you sign that, lease with that tenant, um, and they can't do what they want to do, they're not going to have to pay their rent. Um, make sure the appearance of the area is safe. Obviously you don't want to be in the middle of a, an area where you're going to lose all your product or inventory. Um, so make sure that there's safety involved. You find a safe location, um, make sure there's the customer base near you, right? Make sure you have the density, make sure you have the type of business that you're offering your service, that you're offering a product that there's actually people that want to buy. That we were talking about that earlier. Um, figure out your competition, make sure there's not like it's not as saturated like Ethan was talking about with videography and editing. And I mean, it's a very saturated market, everybody and their dog now is a videographer, especially with smartphones. So make sure you don't have a lot of competition. You should survive. Make sure the cost of the lease is going to be affordable for your business. Make sure you negotiate lease terms. This is important one, um, on a big believer and I don't want to over-talk Andrew here, but make sure you talk to a real estate attorney with your lease. We've deal with leases all the time, right? Andrew.
Andrew Easler (53:15):
Yeah. Right now, because for some reason the market is crazy. Um, and a lot of these landlords have drafted leases that are, um, ridiculously, um, one-sided and you know, if you blindly sign into those leases, you may be, uh, exposing yourself to a lot of liability and more, more money than you can, then you can afford. So we highly recommend that you get the assistance of a real estate attorney in order to negotiate those, those leases. One of the other things I want to talk about with location is in the age of COVID, there's a lot of more home-based businesses, but what, what are people needing to know and understand about their location when it comes to a home-based business? James? Um,
James White (53:59):
Well, you could do a lot of different things in the home-based business, right? Um, generally you need an occupancy permit now I'm, I've, I've made the mistake and maybe it was intentional of not getting a home occupancy permit when I started a home business, because nobody would really know, but if you're doing like a, some online virtual business, I don't think you have to worry about that stuff personally. But from a legal perspective, I would probably, you know, think about doing it. Um, but like I said, just start and go, but you could do lots of different things. It's the home base you could do, SEO, you could do marketing, we could do bookkeeping. You could do.
Andrew Easler (54:28):
And we were talking about CERN's with your home-based business or, you know, looking at, um, you know, what are the distractions? What are the things that are going to impact your ability to do your business? Well, if you're a home-based business and you are on virtual meetings all the time and you have dogs,
James White (54:44):
Andrew, Nathan asking me to get them food all the time and distracting me and then I have to run out and stop. I'm doing, yeah, there's lots of distractions. You got to make sure you have a quiet work environment. If you don't work from home. And one of the biggest things that gets me is professionalism, right? If you're gonna work from home, be professional, you know, have a proper connection to the internet. So you have fast internet, have your software up and running. You know, don't have kids screaming or dogs barking in the background. You know, if you want to turn customers off, um, you know, it may not be it's, it's becoming less and less of a big deal now because the COVID people are starting to realize that, but that's wrong. Nothing should be always gone to the lowest common denominator, like, like TV, right.
James White (55:20):
TV bothers me sometimes because it's always the lowest. It always has made for the lowest common denominator it's not made for people that actually want to learn something or intellectuals it's made to just be blah. Um, so just make sure that you, um, you have no distractions, you can actually focus and you can be professional and set boundaries. So I guess that's kind of the end. I think those are all the questions I have. I just wanted to recap, um, you know, before you're starting a business, make sure you have the skillset to actually do that business, you know, and answer these questions. You can ask yourself these questions and I'll give you a 10 seconds to grab a pen and you're writing this down or feel free to rewind or pit the back button or whatever you want to do on this podcast. Um, so here's our questions.
James White (55:56):
Ask you when you're starting your business. Yeah. Um, are you a leader? Um, can you actually lead a team? Can you actually make decisions and not be scared? Um, do you like to make your own decisions? If yes, a small business may be right for you, um, do others, uh, turn to, for help in making decisions and that's sometimes a good way of saying, Hey, if people are asking me questions about my thoughts and opinions, then maybe I should start a business. Um, do you enjoy competition? That's a big one. You're gonna have lots of a small business. Um, do you have the willpower? And self-discipline, that's a big one, you know, getting up on time, uh, showing up to meetings on time, working late hours, et cetera, or use your wife and kids. If you have a partner or wife, you know, husband, whatever are they going to be okay with it?
James White (56:38):
Um, do you plan ahead? Do you like people, if you don't like people while maybe be a programmer that might be a good business for you. Um, and do you get along well with others? Um, another big thing is before we go as can, if you're starting your own business, you have to be able to handle them, the physical, emotional, and financial stressors. Um, you know, there's been plenty of times. I don't know why people think I'm I have lots of money. Um, I do. Okay. I'm a, you know, a billionaire or anything like that, but you know, starting a small business or a new product in your small business creates a lot of financial stressors. So make sure you have the capital to do it, make sure you can handle the physical, emotional ties or a situation with that business. Especially if you go broke, there's gonna be a lot of emotional issues. Wife's husband's kids, et cetera. Um, and then again, starting your own business, there's a couple of different options. You can start from scratch. You can buy an already existing business, which I wouldn't suggest doing, but you can. I mean, it's, if there are a good businesses out there that
Andrew Easler (57:26):
Yeah. When it comes to buying an existing business, I think some of the most successful people who do buy existing businesses are those who have worked, um, in the business for several years before.
James White (57:35):
So they understand what the businesses. Yeah. So if you're going to buy a small business work for the company for a few years, and again, you can always buy a franchise. Now the last two caveats I want to put on there, if you're buying a small business, uh, you know, I highly recommend men just buying the assets and taking the other Goodwill, I E customers and intellectual property don't buy the shares of a small business because you're inheriting somebody else's problems again, buy a franchise that's self-explanatory and I think we're good. I think those are all the questions I had. We can kind of recap. Um, so, uh, one tip that you could give the listeners today, um, they, you know, as an attorney, uh, what tip would you give them? The number one golden nugget tip
Andrew Easler (58:13):
When it comes to starting a business? Yes. Okay. So, uh, that is a very loaded question because, uh, I can spend probably six hours, uh, giving tips to clients on, on what to avoid and what to do and what not to do. But I think, I think the number one thing I would, I would suggest is, um, first really make the commitment. I think that's probably the, the biggest problem, uh, that small business owners fail have is they, they didn't make a full 100% commitment to the see-through the success of the business.
Ethan Hunt (58:45):
I think that's a great place to leave off. We are hitting the time, but I really appreciate you coming in today, James and sharing your experiences and insight. We're gonna go ahead and leave it there. James, we'll be back next week. Talk about raising capital, which we're very excited about. Uh, thank you for your time, James and Drew. Thank you as always, uh, you all have a great rest of your week.
James White (59:05):
Thanks. Thank you so much. It was great being here. And one other thing before I go is my number one tip would be to hire an attorney ciao.