Whenever you start your very first business, the whole experience is an adventure. Much of what you will be doing is on a trial and error basis. Unfortunately, this can lead to some mishaps along the way, so why not prepare yourself before you begin? If you plan and prepare well, you just might avoid some common pitfalls of starting a business.
1. Stacks of Paperwork
One thing you really need to be ready for is all the paperwork that comes your way. Not only will you be dealing with customer files and daily sales logs, but there will be mail, correspondence, and a myriad of other paperwork to weed through day after day. Be ready to spend hours keeping those stacks in order!
2. Scheduling Your Time
Speaking of time, one of the biggest mistakes many new business owners make is in scheduling their time. Yes, it does take a lot of time getting a business off the ground. But you do need to save some time for yourself and your family. Working around the clock will quickly drain you of any energy reserves you may have left, so set aside a time to work and a time to play.
3. Accounting and Taxes
Many people who go into business find that a background in accounting helps them when it comes tax time. Whether you have a bachelors degree in accounting or a few basic accounting courses under your belt, you will eventually need to deal with the IRS. And they are about as unforgiving as it comes. If you don’t personally have time to learn the ropes, you could always let one of your key employees work towards an accounting degree online. Many small business owners find that this is cheaper in the long run than hiring a full-time accountant from the beginning. Startups usually have limited resources after all.
Never underestimate the importance of advertising. In the beginning, your accountant says this is money well spent. You will want to hit it hard so that people know you are there. If you are going to be operating a local business, a well-rounded strategy works best. Utilize online media as well as local advertising and you’ll capture the biggest audience possible. One thing to keep in mind when starting a business is that most people find new businesses online through a Google search. So do take advantage of Google local listings.
5. Building a Team
Even small businesses have a few employees on the books. Yes, you need help because you can’t do everything by yourself, but just make sure you surround yourself with team players. The people you choose to work with you should have the drive and ambition, but should also be willing to set the ego aside for the good of the team. If you find people you are comfortable with, your job will be that much easier. Take your time interviewing applicants. It pays in the long run and you’ll find that you’ll have a lower turnover rate if you hire wisely. Don’t forget the importance of an accountant you can work with. Keeping your ledgers is no easy task.
Starting a business can be fun and rewarding if you have prepared well and are ready for that occasional bump in the road. Keep these five things in mind and you’ll be off to a good start.