There are many steps to be ready for your business’ ribbon cutting and becoming your own boss. But getting starting the right direction will be something you will never regret. Let me share with you some more of what I feel are the most important steps in pursuing this adventure.
Develop a business plan.
- A strong business plan should include the following:
- An executive summary – a basic snapshot…a simple profile and goals.
- Organization and management – how will you be legally structured and managed? In this step it is very important to include obtaining the correct licenses, permits, IRS documents and state registrations.
- Financial plan – create a realistic budget, breakeven analysis and projects to determine if you will need and loan or investors. Findlaw.com is a great tool.
- Company description – provide information on what you do, what makes you different and the market/demographic that you serve.
- Service or product line – what do you sell? What is the product lifecycle?
- Market analysis – Show your research for your industry and competitors.
- Marketing and sales plan – explain your strategy, costs and expected results
- Appendix – any additional information and statistics that are relevant to the start and planning of your business
Document, document, document.
- Outsourcing your bookkeeping often pays for itself and should be considered from the very beginning of your business planning. The little time or money that it takes to keep up with bookkeeping is so valuable and yet can be costly if neglected.
- The ability to secure financing will require you to turn in financial records.
- Knowing your profit margins, the current aging on your receivables and the cost of goods sold should be understood and review regularly.
- Having the right CPA that understands your objectives will help come tax time, but remember, they are only as good as the information you provide them.
- Having a good payroll partner will also come in handy. This will ensure that all taxes and IRS requirements for your employees are being met. It’s also good to have the proper insurance and employment policies established.
Remember, there are many steps to starting your business, but fear not, there are lots of resources available to you. Templates for just about anything can be found online, some at no cost, and it will help your business in the long run.