From Worker (or Union Worker) to Business Owner:
A Mentorship Program

From Worker (or Union Worker) to Business Owner membership program was designed by the Chamber’s CEO, Brian Figeroux, Esq., a former Union Shop Steward, and current workers’ advocate to assist the many workers in New York City and beyond, who wish to start a business. Without the qualified worker force we have in the United States, the United States could not be the prosperous business nation it is today. Many workers have already made the successful transformation to business owner like myself, now the Chamber under our leadership and the respective Unions we hope to partner with, will work with you the Worker (or Union Worker), to become a successful Business Owner.

Become a Member of the From Worker (or Union Worker) to Business Owner Mentorship Program

The first step in our From Worker (or Union Worker) to Business Owner mentorship program is becoming a member of the Chamber. Not a member, click here.

Once you have become a member, please register for our Small Business Boot Camp (SBBC). After completion, schedule a free consultation under the Small Business Solutions Program; this is one of your annual membership benefits. At this free consultation, bring your business plan (no business plan, that’s ok) and your tax returns for three years (business and individual). Please prepare a list of questions that you will like answered at the consultation; these questions can be business, legal, accounting and financial. If you have a business partner, please have that partner join you. If you have a pension plan and would like to fund your business through your pension plan, then read about Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) below. To schedule your free Small Business Solutions consultation, call 718-722-9217. If you are starting a new business and you are struggling with concepts in developing your business strategy, Mr. Figeroux can assist with the brainstorming

Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP)

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is an employee benefit plan that offers advantages to business owners, their companies, and their employees. The infographic highlights some of the key elements and benefits of an ESOP.

The Economic Power of Employee Ownership:  Employee ownership keeps businesses and jobs in the state. Employee-owners were 4 times less likely to be laid off during the recent recession. Employees at ESOP companies have a 2.5 times greater retirement accounts.  Employee ownership builds community wealth.  Employees at employee-owned companies receive 5%-12% more in wages.  Employee ownership improves business performance.  Productivity improves by 4%-5% on average in the year if an ESOP is adopted. Over a 10-year period, ESOPs have 25% higher job growth than comparable companies without an ESOP.  ESOP companies see average yearly post-ESOP improvement in Return on Assets of +2.7%.  To schedule a consultation on funding your business, purchasing a business with the use of your pension plan, without or with limited tax consequences, call 718-722-9217 and leave a message.

Eleven things to consider when making the transition from Worker to Business Owner

1. Determine what you’d like to do and decide. Brainstorm your idea.
Ideas, ideas, ideas! Brainstorming with an experienced business strategist is a great way to get those ideas out and developed. Whether it’s an idea you have for a marketing campaign, a new venture, or just because you want to pick another business owner’s brain, the Chamber’s Small Business Boot Camp is perfect way to get clarity. It’s true! At every level, business ownership is a challenge. At the Chamber, we partner with you to take an honest look at your business issues, develop solutions and processes to address them, and keep you on track to effectively implement the plan for growth your business needs. So, register for our Small Business Boot Camp now.

2. Market research. Think about what others will pay for.
You’ve got a great product or service. You’ve got all the processes in place to able to service your clients; you just have to let them know you’re out there! That’s where the marketing, communications and networking of the Chamber comes in. Our creative team stands is here to make sure your story and messaging are told exactly how you want them, target the right people, and then implement concerted marketing plans that make sense and get the ROI that you want. Got a business idea? Here’s how to see if it’s sustainable, through marketing.

3.  More market research. Interview your ideal customers. Develop and refine your research skills through the Chamber’s Paralegal Program.
Find a few people that you think would be your ideal clients. Ask them about their biggest needs, fears and aspirations related to the business idea you plan to pursue. Are the benefits of your product or service in line with their real needs? Also, make a note of the words they use, as this will contribute to making your marketing more authentic.

4.  Design your marketing and business plans with an expert.
Today’s marketing involves content creation, social media, email outreach and more. Make sure you know how you’ll approach each of these alternatives to introduce your idea to customers. At the same time, lay out a business plan that details how you intend your business to function. It doesn’t need to be super formal, but it does need to cover your operating structure, product, delivery systems and expansion plans.

5. Assemble a team. How is equity allocated? Is it a Partnership Agreement or a Shareholders Agreement?
If your idea seems viable, determine who you’ll want on your business leadership team when you eventually launch full time. Depending on your personal experience, you may need help in areas such as finance, marketing, customer service and production.

6. Set up the structure of your company: C-Corporation, S-Corporation, LLC, DBA, partnership. You also need to understand the liability, tax and accounting implications of the structure you decide on.
At the same time, you’ll also want to decide what kind of company structure to register. Do you want to incorporate, form an LLC or create a partnership? Get this taken care of legally and carefully define the roles and investment of each of your leadership team members.

7. Secure financing. How will you get money for your business: Is it a loan, crowdfunding? pension, savings or home equity?
For a small venture, this might mean saving up some money to get through the first few months or taking cash from your 401(k) and or a home equity line of credit or loan. If your aspirations are a bit larger, you may need to think about how to procure venture capital or other outside investment.

8. Set up your business on a small scale or go big?
If you can, test your company idea by launching on a small scale on the side, while still working your day job. This gives you a no-risk opportunity to test your ideas, get your first clients and see if the business will hold up over time before you leave the security of your current position.

9. Assess feedback and adjust.
Running a small-scale operation will help you determine which parts of your idea are great and which ones need adjusting. Take customer feedback seriously and make any necessary changes before you begin scaling up.

10. When do you leave your job?
When you’re ready, leave your day job. This may feel like an amazing relief after all the work you already put in, but trust me, more work awaits. Although it may be tempting, be sure not to burn any bridges as you leave ─you never know when you’ll encounter former bosses and colleagues again, and you may need to work with them in the future.

11. Congrats on your new Business. Now schedule a brainstorming session.
Congrats on starting your own business! Business ownership is exciting….and hard! How you set up your business from the start can determine the trajectory of both your short-term and long-term growth. It’s a good idea to sit down with an expert, set goals, map out a plan, determine processes and get some accountability to stay on track. At the Chamber, we also recognize that new business budgets are tight, but we also believe that the first year or two of business is the most critical time to have the right guidance. That’s why we’ve have instituted our Small Business Solutions Program (SBSP); so schedule an affordable brainstorming session.

The brainstorming session includes:

• New business review

• SBSP description and goal setting

• General business plan analysis

• Marketing analysis and recommendations

• Business processes review and recommendations

• Accountability check-ins to keep you on track through your tax and accounting systems

• Hiring? Health insurance, workers’ compensation and other payroll expenses

• Marketing communications through expert website development and a focused social media strategy

• Plan for your retirement

As you can see, becoming a business owner requires a lot of work before you even consider quitting your day job. However, if you follow each of the steps listed above and your idea still seems viable, you can leave your life as a worker and become a business owner instead. There are still many challenges you’ll face, but for most business owners, the benefits of meaningful work and self-direction are much more important.

Let’s discuss taking your business from IDEA to SUCCESS! Join the Chamber and make the transition From Worker to Business Owner. Join by clicking here.

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