Starting your own business is one of life’s most exciting and harrowing experiences. Good planning is essential to helping you stay on course and deal with unexpected hurdles. Research is the first step in the planning process and you don’t have to go it alone.
While you should be an expert on your industry, products and services, there is no way that you could be an expert on everything that running a successful business requires, particularly the financial, legal and tax requirements. You may waste precious resources – your time, energy and possibly money- in the long run trying to do things yourself that you are not qualified to do.
Outside experts can include bookkeepers/accountants, lawyers, web designers and business coaches. Too often, we think we have all the answers and are the only people who can really get things done. The reality is that we are in danger of stretching ourselves too thin, and can risk the potential success of our business by not utilizing outside expertise. Consider hiring on a consulting basis to keep costs low until your revenues start growing. Look to your industry for references – the ideal professionals are those who have specialized in yours.
Unless you are a numbers whiz or have a degree in accounting, it is advisable to get a professional to set up your accounting system. Each start-up is unique but generally most start ups can begin with a bookkeeper. The bookkeeper will help start you off with a good record keeping system, handle financial transactions, and produce financial statements. An accountant will cost more, especially if you plan to aggressively grow. To keep costs down, you can use an accountant for year-end tax planning; the right accountant will not only help you with tax returns, but also with longer term tax planning and networking.
Good legal advice is worth its weight in gold; bad advice can destroy your business. A good business lawyer will provide vital assistance in almost every aspect of your business, from basic zoning compliance, copyright and trademark advice, to formal business incorporation, lawsuits and liability.
Hire a web designer who can design both your logo and website. You want a website focused solely on your company that is easy to navigate and full of useful information. Before the designer gets started, think about exactly what you want someone to do and how they should feel logging onto your site.
Get a coach. Even if at first you don’t get a business coach to help you and guide you in your planning and operation, get someone who is objective and outside of your business whom you can rely on for nitty-gritty business advice and to hold you accountable for getting results. Another set of eyes can work wonders for how you operate both for you and your business. An outsider can also make sure you are getting the numbers you need both on the top line and the bottom line to survive.
Working with these professionals from the start will not only increase your business success factor, but also free you to thrive in doing what you do best – your business! Remember no successful business owner is an island; plan to utilize financial, legal, technical and marketing professionals from the beginning.
Have a question about business planning, products, or services? Contact Business Development or leave a comment below.