The following checklist was compiled by Patty Magalnick,
CMP, president of Perfect Meetings and Conventions Inc., 13336
Sunkiss Loop, Windermere, Fla., 34786;www.perfectmeetingsandconventions.com
Self-AssessmentAre you a self-starter?Do you work well independently? Can you communicate clearly and smoothly with various types of
personalities?Are you financially equipped to invest in a business while
still maintaining control over personal expenses?Have you considered the effect owning a business will have on
your family life?Are you ready to handle all aspects of running a business,
i.e., accounting, sales and marketing, and IT issues, as well as
planning meetings?Do you have the know-how to work with production, graphics and
printing companies? Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a
business?Have you taken time to understand why you want to go into
business in the first place?
Before you take the plunge into the choppy waters of
entrepreneurism, consider the following questions.
First StepsDevelop a business plan including both short-term and long-term
goals. Enlist an attorney.Decide whether your business should file as an S-corporation
(limited to 100 stockholders and requiring annual stockholder
meetings, in exchange for lighter tax obligations) or an LLC (no
stockholder cap but various requirements for Social Security and
Medicare payments).Work with your attorney to draft a client contract, employment
contract, etc. Research liability insurance options.File all necessary forms for federal, state and local
agencies.Hire an accountant.Establish business credit and set up bank accounts.Invest in an accounting software system.Register an e-mail domain name.Research online registration systems.Identify the most cost-efficient and reliable overnight carrier
service for your needs.Procure and install all necessary office equipment (telephone,
fax machine, computer, furniture).Consider enrolling in classes at a local small business
association or community college on topics such as business
planning, accounting and marketing.
Setting the AgendaDetermine what type of meeting planning services you will
provide. Consider whether you have added-value skills that you can
offer your clients as well.Set your costs, break-even point and profit margin.Create a pricing structure for all your services.Determine your internal staffing needs. Establish staff procedures such as pay scale and benefits.
NETWORKING AND MARKETINGIdentify your market niche.Compile a list of potential clients for solicitation. Cultivate and preserve a network of hotels, companies and
vendors with whom you work well. Join your local chamber of commerce. Become a member of at least one professional
organization. Invest in listings in directories such as the Yellow
Pages. Develop a complete sales and marketing plan. Create a professional, high-quality company logo, brochure,
business cards, letterhead and other collateral material. Consider learning web design or hiring an outside source to
create a website for your business.