Last week we talked about the first few steps involved in opening your own business. Today we are going to talk about the last few steps to consider when taking this big first step.
The Finances and Legal Stuff
These can be both exciting and stressful. Knowing the financial health of your company can relieve your stress, even when they aren’t the best. This is the time to set up your bookkeeping methods, your accounting methods, and your tax records. Are you going to do it yourself or hire a professional? Most small business owners do a combination of both. You do the bookkeeping, but hire an Accountant for the big events (annual tax filings, etc.). There are all types of software out there to assist you with your bookkeeping and accounting. Take time and find one that works best for your business.
This is also the time to decide what type of business entity you will be. If you are the only owner, the most common entity is a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or Sole Proprietorship. If you have just one partner, perhaps a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is the right choice for you. Your attorney can help you decide which entity makes the most sense for you and offers the most protection of your personal assets. Your accountant can help you decide which one will give you the most tax breaks. The filings can be simple or complex depending on how your state has it set up and what entity you decide on. Generally you can go to the Secretary of State for your state and follow the directions on the filing. But your attorney can do this for you also.
The Daily To Do List
Yep, another list. Once your business is up and running, there will be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly tasks that need to be done. Now is a good time to sort those out and create the list. Find a quiet place and walk yourself through a day in your business once it’s open. Now a week, and so on. What will need to be accomplished every single day? Will you enter your receipts daily? Will you send them to your accountant weekly or monthly? How often will you blog? Post to Social Media? How often do you count inventory? When will payday be? What about preventative maintenance for any equipment?
The Daily To Do list will need to be a fluid task sheet. As your business grows and changes, so will the frequency of these items and the items themselves. Create it and post it where those responsible for the tasks will see it.
You’ve now got a solid blueprint for your business. You know what you need to do and when. You know how much it will cost to open your business and keep it running for a month, a year. You know how you’re going to market and to whom. Whew!! GREAT JOB!! You can’t stop now though!!
Now you need to plan out your future. The growth of your company. We’ve mentioned here and there about growing your company. Now you get to solidify those plans. What new items will you add to your inventory? What directions can you branch off to create new areas of interest? New demographics to target? Do you want to open multiple locations? Now is the time to dream up these ideas and put them to paper. Get them organized. By now, you’re an expert at organizing your ideas, right?
It’s important to have ideas on how you want your business to grow and where you want to go with it. These plans will guide the way you run your business from the beginning. For example, if you know you want to open multiple locations, you might focus closely on systems and procedures that can be easily duplicated to be successful in multiple locations. If you know you want to add one new item per month, you might focus on products that have add ons available, or have different applications in different fields.
There are so many aspects to creating and running a business. People that create and open small businesses describe it as giving birth and raising a child. As a small business owner myself, I can tell you that this is truly the case. You will become obsessed with making every part of it perfect. You will be emotionally attached to it. Starting a new business is an exciting and invigorating time with pieces of frustration and crazy added in. Enjoy every moment and keep learning from your mistakes. Yes, you will make mistakes. And on Opening Day, sit back and enjoy a glass of wine while you reflect on all your hard work that led to this very exciting day!!