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Starting Your Own Laboratory Informatics Business

January 20, 2010

Each New Year, a number of people will contact me to see what it’s like to start their own business. It could be part of their efforts to start something new, to find something that fits their own goals, or to create their own empire. Knowing that I’ve been running GeoMetrick Enterprises since 1996, there are always those that are interested to hear what it’s going to take. Since I now have the blog and since the year is still kind of “new,” I’ll just post some thoughts, here, and then those of you that are wondering about this will have something to start you off. Some of my comments apply to any business in our industry, but all of them apply to the services end of the business.

M & A (Marketing & Advertising)

The most common question I get is, “How do you find business?” The answer is, “Marketing.” Various people have told me that anyone with their own business has to constantly think about how to market their business. I think they’re right. Few customers will spontaneously discover you exist if you don’t make your presence known, in the first place. You will spend more of your job thinking about how best to approach this than you expect.

As for advertising, as a rule of thumb, most small businesses avoid paying for advertising. It’s expensive and seldom gets results that justify the cost. You really have to know what you’re doing if you’re going to go this route.

Other Business Aspects

Regardless what parts of the business you handle, yourself, and it should start out that you’re doing most of it, but you need a good accountant and lawyer, both focused on servicing small businesses that provide whatever it is that you plan to provide (services or products).

Never, ever go around asking various people what business form you should take, which one will protect your assets, what deductions you can take. You will not believe the truly wrong and dangerous answers other people will give. Just know that laws and tax codes vary not only between countries, but between states, as well (if you’re in the US, that is).

At the least (in the US), get a business license. They’re usually cheap to get. Go to your local public library to find out how to start a small business in your state, as it will vary based on the state or municipality you live in.

Competition

Unless what you’re providing is truly unique and you can illustrate that to people in a manner where they can see what you mean, you’ll be in-competition with all the big-league players. It’s their business to get all the business they can, just as that will have to be your business. I don’t mean that you should do or say absolutely anything to get business, I just mean that it’s a business and you have to think about how to succeed rather than just hoping that the others competiting against you are having an off-day. Recently, I saw a presentation advertised, entitled, “Hope is Not a Marketing Strategy.” This is the best piece of advice you can get.

If You Still Have Questions

If you want to ask me specific questions about this, I’m always open to answering questions or suggesting places you can get your questions answered. But I’d just ask that you ask them as a comment to this blog so that everyone can see them.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises
http://www.GeoMetrick.com/

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