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Fundamentals of Starting and Operating a Business

Kevin A. Mussmacher, P.E.

Course Outline

This webinar caters to the engineers, architects or other professionals who want to start their own business. It covers the important legal and financial aspects of establishing a successful business, and attempts to give guidance in seeking further help from various service professionals. It is an excellent first step in avoiding the pitfalls of starting, operating and managing a business.

This course is divided into sections each addressing one of the following topics:

Section 1 - Business Plan & Mission Statement
Section 2 - Form of Business Entity
Section 3 - Marketing
Section 4 - Accounting & Taxes
Section 5 - Establishing and Maintaining Corporate Identity
Section 6 - Financing
Section 7 - Human Resources
Section 8 - Insurance
Section 9 - Schedule of Services and Rates
Section 10- Quality Assurance
Section 11 - Contracts and Legal
Section 12 - Purchasing
Section 13 - Customer Service
Section 14 - References and Resources
Section 15 - Ethics

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

The objective of this course is to give the Engineer, Architect or other professional who wants to start a business an overview of the areas of concern that should be address to help achieve business success. This course is valuable to engineers, architects and other related professions.

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for Engineers, Architects, Land Surveyors and other technical professionals.

Course Introduction

Engineers, Architects, Land Surveyors and other technical professionals often have the desire or the need to "go out on their own" and start their own business. Despite years of technical training and experience, these professionals are usually ill equipped and ill informed as to what it takes to get going and staying going in their own business. They underestimate the time that must be devoted to getting clients, effectively serving clients and getting paid. Then there are the complexities of dealing with local and federal entities concerning taxes, OSHA regulations, personnel issues, health insurance, the American Disabilities Act and employee benefits. If you don't do the right things up front and establish the infrastructure to handle these issues, you will always be in a reactive mode and will have little or no time to actually perform any client assignments. This course will introduce the professional to the areas that need to be addressed to establish, operate and manage an effective and hopefully profitable business and still have time to serve clients.

Course Content

The following links contain the reference materials for this webinar:

Fundamentals of Starting and Operating a Business (PDF file, 29 pages, 1.2 MB)

Lecture Slides (PDF file, 12 pages, 1.2 MB)

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.


Before you attend the webinar, you need to print the quiz questions from your browser (to be used for the discussion during the webinar). At the end of the webinar, you need to complete the quiz and submit your answers to obtain the PDH credit.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.