Startup Growing Pains and Working on my Google-fu

Feb 16, 2016
Jennifer Bennett

You see in the news all the time “Startup acquired in $$$$ deal” or “Local Startup hires 2983742742 new employees”. But how do those companies get to that point? Growth is hard guys. Can’t we just work in our own little bubbles?

When starting LunarLincoln, we knew some of the basic things we needed, and we knew we wanted to be one of those companies in the news with fantastic results, but connecting the dots from point A to point B – well, we weren’t so sure about how that worked.

How do you get from the beginning to the end?

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Things we knew to do:

  • Register a company
  • Pick a name
  • Build a website
  • Get some clients through word of mouth or past contacts
  • Promote on the interwebs
  • Go to events/meetups
  • DO GREAT WORK

But doing the work is the easy part. We knew how to do that, whether it was code or design.

But how do you do all that other stuff that gets in the way of work?

Things we had to google in the past year during super-growth-time (and are still not sure we did it the “best” way).

  • How to rent commercial office space
    • What’s a CAM?
    • Why are there no office/commercial spaces that are small/medium sizes and NOT in a coworking space?
    • What are some commercial real estate sites that AREN’t horrible to use?
    • What do you mean we have to build the office after we rent it?
    • Where do you buy office furniture? Should we even buy “office” furniture?
  • How to properly interview developers
    • Average salaries for developers in the southeast
    • Good interview questions
    • How to fire an employee
  • How to write an employee handbook, offer letter, contract, etc
  • How to find a lawyer
    • How to negotiate contracts
    • How to leverage your legal team when problems arise (Why can’t you pay on time!!!)
  • How to find an accountant
    • How to use Quickbooks
    • Why is Quickbooks the devil?
    • Alternatives to Quickbooks
  • Do we charge sales tax in Tennessee for development?
    • Why do we have to pay tax on our stuff (I’m looking at you Schedule B)?
    • Payroll taxes, sales tax, federal tax, unemployment tax – why so many taxes?
    • How to not miss a random tax payment
  • How to buy small business and health insurance
    • Tech insurance
    • Dental & vision insurance
    • Rental insurance
    • ALL the stupid insurance (I left out workers comp, short term disability, & long term disability ugh)
  • How to set up a company 401k
    • Why are 401ks so expensive?
    • What is a simple IRA?

That list above – there was hardly ever a simple google answer. The internet always had 200 different ways to do each task. What was right for us? What was right for Nashville? What was right for a tech-services company?

Late at night after sifting through the conflicting advice and moaning “whyyyy, whyyy” at the wall about the most recent puzzling question, we would joke that there had to be some sort of AA meeting for startups.

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So, my lovely internet peoples. I would welcome with open arms any of the following:

  • Not a tech mentor, not a design mentor, but a small business mentor. A fairy godmother of answers. A veritable Ask Jeeves
  • Some sort of “How do you do this business thing?” Question-Time Meet-up
  • A wonderously detailed forum or QA series on a local tech site so I can quit trawling page three of the Google search results
Maybe these things already exist…
…but, I’m just too tired to google them right now.

I just want to get back to the work part of work.