~by Haley Lynn Gray~
I have a tiny confession to make. I’m a belt and suspenders kind of girl, especially when it comes to business. That means that I’m a huge fan of getting your ducks in a row before you start getting clients so that you can protect your family if something goes south. It is also easier to put some of these things in place than to go back later and correct them.
So with that said, what things should you do when you start a business?
1. Incorporation and Operating Agreements. If you are going into business with a partner, you need to have a document which says how you will get back out of business together, in the event that is necessary. Incorporation can also provide some legal and financial protection in case something happens with your business. I’m not an attorney, but I strongly suggest that you find a good, local business attorney, and ask them for their recommendations on this matter. States and regions have different rules around incorporation, so you’ll need to make sure you use someone local.
2. Bank Accounts. Separate your personal finances from your business if at all possible. That will also provide you some protection in your business. The further apart you can keep them, the better. It also makes tracking income and expenses much easier.
3. Insurance. Depending on what your business is, you may need various types of insurance. For example, if you use your car for any kind of business uses, you need insurance for that. Your personal auto owners insurance policy is unlikely to cover you if you get in an accident while using your car for business. You may also need professional and business insurance. And consider an umbrella policy for protection, as people often see business owners as a fount of money, even if they aren’t.
4. Business Plan. A business plan is a great idea. You should have some idea of the costs that you will incur in your business, as well as the possible range of what you could make, and how much each widget you sell will cost and make for you. You should know where your break-even points are so that you can figure out if it’s worth pursuing the business or not.
5. Cash. You should plan to have several months of expenses set aside for the beginning stages of your business. At this stage, many people continue to work their existing job, or keep a part time job, so they have some sort of cash flow coming in to support themselves.
Once you have the legal information together, you can start with the fun part – selling your products or services. You will want to consider a variety of ways to get your business seen and noticed by your target audience. In this day and age, you need to have an online presence whether you want to have one or not, so you should at the very minimum create a Facebook page and a Google business location for your business. You can decide if you want to register your business in Yellow Pages or other directories. There are lots of ways you can go with this marketing and selling your business, and you can dictate what you decide to spend, and where.
The reality is that a lot of people will try to sell you things you don’t need for your business, and many things that you do need. There are almost always more expensive and less expensive ways to finance things, and you have to decide which way you want to go with them.
Whichever way you decide to go, make sure that you set up the foundations first, and set a budget for the rest.
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
Connect with Haley:
- Work with Haley: https://leadershipgirl.com/work-with-haley/
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Leadershipgirl
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/haleygray