Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Get Your Finances in Order

Alright, so it seems like the research in opening a business is endless...that's because it is. Research is a never ending educational journey in which you can keep improving your business. But in the middle of researching your market, competition, and location...you need to start researching something additional. This should not take as much time or effort as the rest but it is just as important.

Financial research includes finding yourself an accountant who will help you keep your finances in order. In my initial search I asked an accountant I had heard good things about to sit and talk to show him what I would need. In our first meeting I had five basic questions that I wanted to know about his business. I found that he kept insisting that we would have to book an hour consultation that he would charge me $60.00 for because he can't just "give this stuff away for free." I was almost insulted. I was trying to find out if I could bring him business and he wanted to charge me for just that.

So instead, I called around and found the name of another accountant that was well known and gave him a call. Over the phone he was more than willing to answer all of my questions and also give me advice on some software and accounting books I should be looking at. I ended up going with him. His willingness to share his knowledge without knowing if I would be a regular customer was encouraging. He ended up getting all of my business and still does. He is my go-to accountant and I recommend him to everyone. In the end he will end up making money on my loyalty due to the fact that he did not try to get money out of me before I knew if we would make a good team.

You can also do this by asking local businesses who they use or could recommend for accountants. If they seem willing to work with you and answer some of your questions then give them a try. One important thing about accountants is the ability to trust them. If you feel comfortable with them then it's good to go with that. Also, look at how many local clients they have.

Some great recommendations he gave me were...
Accounting Books: Dome brand accounting books available at Staples (He also took the time to show me how to keep good track inside of the book and answer my questions...ask your accountant to do the same.)
Accounting Software: Quickbooks...it's fairly easy to use and can keep track of so many things for you.

Until next time...I'll be Designer Dreaming.


  1. Hi there!

    I am looking at opening a small boutique here in Houston. Like you, I am young, barely out of school. I really appreciate you opening up on what it takes to do this. I had a question that I hope you wouldn't mind answering. For now, this is just a pipe dream for me almost, but I've been doing some very preliminary research on the subject and trying to figure out start up costs. I've seen figures like 80k and 100k. Is that really how much it takes to open and run a boutique for a couple of seasons? I would personally prefer to lease btw.

  2. The figures are really not that daunting! I can tell you I opened my boutique with much less than that. The best way to see what things are going to cost you is to really start writing down expenses as you look them up. Contacting places that are potential leases is great and then looking at average rent for a year. I budgeted for three years rent. You could do it for less than that if you wanted.
    Also, register for a business name and tax exempt number so that you can start registering for stores online that sell to retailers. You can get a good idea of the cost of inventory. It seems over whelming but in the end it pays off.
    There are places online that sell boutique fixtures but I found most of mine by finding a business that was going out and buying their fixtures. They had been a clothing boutique and had just what I needed. Keep and eye out because I have seen many of these businesses listed because they are looking to unload their fixtures fast. I really hope you continue to pursue this dream it is amazing. As you can see it's a big deal to take on but in the end it's all fun if you love it. Please let me know if you need help with anything else. I have tons of websites and sources that have been helpful to me that I would love to share with you.