Here are a few key concepts that could make or break your start-up:
You’re going to devote a lot of time and energy to starting your business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it’s really important that you truly enjoy what you do. Very few have achieved success if the passion for the business wasn’t there. Whether it’s an accounting service, landscaping, interior design or whatever…if your heart isn’t fully ‘in it’, you’re likely to falter at the first sign of the serious challenges that nearly all new businesses face.
The reason for doing a business plan first is because when you’re preparing to start a business, reducing the plan to writing will help you avoid sinking your time and money into something that cannot possibly succeed. Considering things like finances, timelines and competition will help you to see the many challenges new businesses face much more clearly. Having a solid plan will give you a much better chance at a successful first year, which is when most new businesses fail. Your plan doesn’t have to be overly fancy or detailed at first, but just a general game plan that considers all of the factors that will weigh for and against you and will keep you thinking clearly. And this will sound totally cliche’, but a few of the best businesses we’ve ever been involved with were started on the back of a restaurant napkin.
You’ll do a lot of research writing a business plan, but that’s just the start. As part of your preparation to start a business, you need to become an expert on your industry, your products and/or services. Joining industry associations and reading trade publications while you’re still in the planning phase will serve you well in the long run.
Save if you have to. Borrow if you need to. Figure our your financial fall-back plan and make sure you have enough cash to float your new business until you have customers paying your bills. Don’t expect to start a business and be profitable next month. If that happens, kudos to you. But when it doesn’t, you need to be able to carry the company until it generates enough profit to start carrying you.
It’s much more difficult and expensive to clean up a tax or legal mess afterwards. Does your business need to be registered? Will you have to charge sales tax? Will you need to have Workers’ Compensation insurance or deal with payroll taxes? How will the legal entity you choose to form the business affect your taxable income? These concerns must be sorted out before you start your business to avoid huge headaches later on.
Everything about the way you do business should let people know that they can trust your products, services and brand. If you’re seeing clients personally, get an office that shows you are serious about what you do. If you go to see them, dress professionally and always arrive on time and prepared to do business. If you’re home-based, treat your home office like a professional workplace by getting up and getting dressed before you sit down for a day’s work.
Just because you’re going to start a business doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on all aspects before you move forward. If you’re not an accountant or bookkeeper, hire one. If you need to write up a contract and you’re not a lawyer, hire one. And if you’re not an experienced, accomplished CEO with years of prior business success, definitely consult with one. You will waste precious time and money trying to do things yourself that you are not yet qualified to do.
Our business Launch Plan covers all of the issues you see here, as well as everything else you’ll need to consider to make your start up a success. We’ll meet with you twice a week to work on planning, development and execution of your start up, finance, marketing and operating plans to ensure that all bases are covered and everything is in place. Decades of experience in every industry you can think of will be available to assist you. And while the consulting is comprehensive, the plan can be tailored to meet the needs of any type of business and any size budget. When the term of the Launch Plan consulting agreement is finished, you will be well on your way to growing the successful business you envisioned.