The Only Small Business Essentials Checklist You’ll Ever Need
Ready to quit your nine-to-five and leave the desk-bound life behind? There’s a lot of reasons to stretch out into the world and start your own small business. After all, small business owners are consistently found to be some of the most satisfied people around.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, and there certainly is a large learning curve if you haven’t ventured into the world of small business before. Luckily, there are a few basic small business essentials that you can learn about that will really help to set your new enterprise off on the proper foot.
What are some of the most important? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Craft a Business Plan
Before you take any sort of concrete actions, you’ll need to have as solid of a plan as possible in place. Proper planning can lead to a well-executed vision, and a lack of planning can lead to a rocky launch and an even rockier final outcome.
That’s why taking the time to craft a professional-grade business plan can make all the difference when it comes to the outcome of your amazing new business enterprise.
A business plan is a document that outlines various elements of your proposed business in an easy-to-read and understand form.
What’s In a Business Plan?
A business plan should lay out exactly how your future business will function, breaking it all down into numbers and potential profits.
You should be able to lay out your goals for your business over the next few months and years. You should be able to arc out and predict how your business might grow and what the best-case scenario might look like.
You can and should break down the aesthetics of your business and highlight how it will stand out from other similar services in the same community. How are you going to stand out from the crowd? What makes your company different? Your business plan should clearly communicate this.
You should also be able to break down the major risks to success and how you plan to mitigate these risks. Sometimes, planning for what could go wrong is far more important than planning for what might go right.
Last but not least, you’ll want to plan out what kind of efforts you might undertake to get the word out about your business to your target audience. Of course, in order to do that, you’ll need to have formed a solid understanding of who that target audience is – more detailed information to include in your overall plan.
Does that sound quite comprehensive? That’s because it is. However, if you’re hoping to launch a business and make it a success, you’ll want your plan going in to be as involved and comprehensive as possible. Do this work and you’ll be well on your way to entrepreneurial success.
Get Your Business License
Have a solid plan laid out? You’ll need to make sure you’re all registered in the eyes of the law before you can really get into business. This can be a longer process than many people expect, so it’s important to get as much of a headstart on all the legalities as possible.
First, you’ll need to land upon the official name you hope to do business under. You can’t do much else without first landing upon this name. As this name will also impact your marketing, branding, and essentially everything you do going forward? You’ll not want to rush it, so start thinking of the perfect name early.
Once you have that company name on lock, you can apply for a business license in the state in which you reside and intend to work.
You will need to have a business license in hand if you hope to get any kind of work done. Without a license, you have a very good chance of getting shut down by the state government.
It’s advisable to retain the services of a business lawyer when you are first establishing your business so as to obtain proper legal counsel. The paperwork you’ll need to file can be complicated, as well as some of the decisions you’ll need to make.
You’ll need to decide which can of business organization to file as, and these different options come with various pros and cons. You’ll want that extra bit of legal advice to ensure you’re making the proper decision – and that this paperwork gets turned in accurately and on time.
Get Your Bookkeeping In Order
A lot of money moves in and out of a functioning business, even a small one. As such, you’ll want to do the necessary work up front to ensure that keeping track of all these expenses will come naturally to you.
The first and most important step is likely going to be to open a business banking account. This is an account where the money for your business can reside that remains completely separate from the one where you hold your personal funds.
Using your personal funds to perform business activities isn’t illegal, but it is not advisable either. When it comes to tax time, mixing and matching the personal and business expenses in your life is going to create chaos.
The more you can keep what belongs in your world of business separate, the easier time you’ll have when it comes to reporting and all the assorted paperwork.
It will also be easier for you to track how your business is doing and where you’re at. Put systems in place to keep an eye on the money that goes in and out of your business. Craft a system that will be followed in terms of how you payout to vendors and on what kind of timeline.
The more you can organize, automate, and implement an organized bookkeeping system early on, the better your business is likely to run day to day.
There are many bookkeeping programs and systems you can invest in as well if it is too difficult to come up with your own. You will just need the right computing software, which you can read more info on if it’s something you think you might need for your own business.
Plan For Growth
There’s a lot that can go awry with any new business. You likely realized this as you worked through your business plan, but there is a whole lot of risk you take on when you decide to open a business.
However, you should take time to remember that many businesses go south not because they didn’t plan for what could go wrong, but they didn’t plan enough for what might go right!
Businesses that don’t plan for success and growth tend to fall under a trap that doesn’t allow them to innovate, grow, and take advantage of new opportunities. If you put yourself in a position where you can’t move forward from, there will be no direction in which to move in except down.
In order to prepare, it’s important to play a game of positive prediction. What would you do if your customer base doubled – would you be able to meet their demands? Would you have the cash flow needed to open a new location, purchase the necessary materials, hire additional labor?
It’s important to think about your existing business model and how you might be able to scale up once things start to get moving well.
Always Keep Learning
The final but all-important takeaway you should always keep on your smart business checklist? Never get complacent. The world of business is always changing, and you will never have the time or space to know everything.
Consider every day of business an opportunity to hone your skills, perfect your product, and determine new ways to make your customers and community happy. Business ownership, at the end of the day, is an art and not a science.
Anyone that wants to tell you that they know it all, or that there’s only one way to do things, is likely not to be trusted.
With this in mind, always look for opportunities to keep learning, whether they be on the job, or via trade conventions and other such opportunities.
Understanding Small Business Essentials
If you’re looking to launch a new enterprise and a new phase of your life, you have a lot of work ahead of you. It’s an exciting time, if a potentially frightening one. The above small business essentials will be important to keep in mind as you chart forward your course to eventual success.
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