Starting a new business is a thrilling experience. It is a chance to be your own boss and create your own path.
For many people, coming up with a killer idea and delivering it are the most enjoyable parts of running a business. However, a lot of behind-the-scenes activities also need to happen to get a company off the ground, from writing a business plan to taking a close look at your credit score before seeking financing.
Mastering the following aspects of starting a business will help you to find success.
1. Get Good at Presenting Your Idea
Whether you are pitching to investors, trying to get a loan, or lining up a new strategic partner, you need to be able to explain your business succinctly and persuasively.
Often, this means having a fine-tuned elevator pitch, a description of your business that is short enough that you could deliver it during an elevator ride.
It is helpful to practice your pitch in the real world early and often. Try attending networking events, and closely watch the reactions of people you explain your business to. When possible, pitch to potential investors.
This also means coming up with engaging, consistent branding and marketing efforts for your business. While you may want to head up design efforts, consider working with a marketing specialist to design a compelling digital strategy that draws immediate attention. You can provide a vision, and they can bring it to life.
2. Use Online Legal Services (But Know When to Hire a Lawyer)
Online legal services can help you with everything from developing a business plan to forming a limited liability company to creating an operating agreement to registering for taxation.
This can save you money over going to a lawyer for every little thing. However, it is also important to realize when you need counsel. If you are working on a big or complex deal, get a legal professional in your corner.
3. Get Your Records Organized Early
Recordkeeping is a crucial part of running a business. It can be tempting to just jump into running your company and leave getting organized until later. However, this is a mistake. Start on the right foot early with good bookkeeping and other proper recordkeeping practices.
If you have a home-based business, this can be a challenge in a busy household. Many entrepreneurs find a garage or basement conversion to be an ideal solution to have a space dedicated to business functions.
Dedicate a block of time every week to ensure that your records are in order. Additionally, look for automated systems to make these processes more efficient, such as integrating your point of sale system with your accounting software.
4. Outsource Administrative Work
Hiring professional services can help you to run many of your administrative functions more easily. For example, you probably don’t want to take on payroll yourself as there are many errors you can make in the process.
Managing payroll can end up being incredibly complex. Instead, look for an online payroll service that offers the features you need.
Many payroll services will allow you to set up automated payments for your employees. They will also track the time your employees worked, so you don’t have to spend copious amounts of time calculating your employees’ hours.
The best payroll services will even provide automated tax forms and tax penalty protection. Using a payroll service will keep you from missing any important payment or tax deadlines.
Another task that should be outsourced is web development. Practically, every business needs a website now, and you should enlist the help of professionals to ensure yours gets up right from the beginning and offers the functionality you need.
5. Always Assume You’ll Underperform Financially
Many entrepreneurs run into trouble because they assume their sales projections will live up to their expectations. However, this is rarely the case.
In fact, many businesses take significantly longer than expected to break even. Get in the habit of tempering your financial projections.
There is no simple way to get projections right every time, especially when you are just starting. However, one rule of thumb is to decrease your sales projections by half in your first year. Try to budget so that you always have a buffer to underperform.
Starting a new business can be a wonderful experience that can change your life. However, it is important to understand the ins and outs of running a company and be ready to take on these key tasks to ensure your future success.