You’ve finally decided! You’re ready to turn your dream into a reality. Having your own business is exciting, empowering and sometimes scary too. We’re here to help you by sharing some tips and information that will help you get all your ducks in a row before the launch. Educating yourself now can save you money, time and headaches in the long run. Here are 7 things you should know about when you start your new company.
- Rules and Regulations – Every industry has a governing body. Cities and states have rules and licensing requirements. There may be forms to file, permits or other licenses needed before you open your doors to the public. Insurance is needed as well. Do your homework for your state,county and city to make sure you are in compliance with the rules. Don’t risk getting shut down over something small that can be avoided with some planning and research. If you’re not sure where to go for this information, engage the services of a business consultant. Expect there to be fees and budget for this in the beginning.
- Taxes – If you’ve never run a business before you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. There are different tax requirements on business than on individuals. Consider the tax liability for sole proprietorships, LLP’s LLC’s and other types of incorporation. Use a tax professional who knows the ins and outs of the system so you don’t end up paying more than you ought. Tax breaks are available for many small businesses, so make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunities to pay less.
- Marketing/Branding – You want your company to have a recognizable brand, logo and tagline for advertising purposes. A great deal of research is needed to come up with a unique name that’s not already copyrighted elsewhere. Make sure you have all the social media outlets available, advertising and exposure. Learn how to get our name out there and build your brand with the public. Set yourself up for success by engaging a marketing professional or educate yourself on marketing strategy. This can literally make or break your company’s future success.
- Supply Chain – If you produce a product, you have to have a way to get it to the consumer. Set up your supply chain and get those merchants on board in advance so that you can predict your production requirements and begin to sell as soon as you’re in business.. If you’re providing a service, do your homework and learn where your services will be needed most and target those needs first. You will be making adjustments and learning best practices in the beginning. Starting out with just a few contracts is a great way to launch your new company and it gives you a leg to stand on when shopping your service to other potential clients.
- Competition – All good strategic business planning includes looking at your competition. Even if you have a unique product or service, there will always be competition. Find out the percentage of the market that they impact, what they do right, and what they do wrong. Find out about their pricing structure and P & L. Consider joining a professional association or guild. Learning from your competition can save you a lot of trial and error and help you be successful in the long run.
- Staffing Issues – Make room in your strategic business planning for employee staffing. No man (or woman) is an island, and as your business grows, you will need to hire staff to help you run it. This brings with it all sorts of issues such as taxes, benefits, OSHA requirements, scheduling and more. Consider hiring an executive assistant that is also a human resources expert. This will allow you to delegate some of these issues with confidence. Treat your employees well, and they will help you succeed.
- Financial Planning – Keeping a new business afloat requires intelligent financial planning. Many new companies operate at a loss. Once you begin to make a profit, you have a lot of decision to make about how to handle that profit. The amount of financial planning you do in the beginning will determine how smoothly your finances run. Consider taxes, employee benefits, real estate costs, company vehicles and reinvestment of capital. Get a CPA on board to consult for payroll issues and tax questions, and look at how you can best invest in your company’s future.
Smart planning in the beginning will allow you to avoid many of the pitfalls that cause new startups to fail. The statistics can seem daunting. Set yourself up for success by planning ahead.