So, you’re starting your own business. Congratulations. You, hopefully, have an elastic, well thought out business plan. However, there are a few essential steps that you need to complete first before you hang out your proverbial shingle.
1. Find a business lawyer that you trust. Are you an LLC or S-Corp? Have you registered everything with the government? If not, you will have issues later. In addition, there are a plethora of issues that arise with any business that will make a trusted business lawyer a necessary best friend.
2. Have you checked to see if your proposed business name is being used by another company? If you start selling Chazzano toilet supplies, you do know that my business lawyer (above) is coming to see you today. Use that business lawyer to help you protect the name of your business.
3. Find a great graphic designer. Please don’t do your graphic design by yourself. Even if you are a graphic designer, let some one else design your business cards, flyers, and menus. Above all, have them create a logo for you! For credibility and visibility sake, you need a logo to bring
4. Find a respected business insurance agent who asks a lot of questions. Don’t cause all of your hard work to be destroyed by a lack of proper business insurance.
5. Do you have enough money in the tank to survive the first few months of slow business? Very few people know that you exist and even if they do they’re waiting for their friends to give them a beginning report. I have seen many of my coffee customers build beautiful cafes, purchase all of the latest coffee equipment, and then close six months after they open. They just didn’t have enough money for the slow times. Payroll, cost of goods, utilities, and insurance can eat up most of your profits during the first year. If you spent $150K for the build out, make sure that you have another $50K just sitting in the bank for an emergency fund.
6. Be prepared to be at your business all of the time during the first year. You need to model the kind of customer service and conversation that your business requires. How do you want employees to answer the phone? How do you want them to speak with customers? Even long time employees need to be gently instructed in the goals and tactics of the business.
7. Smile often even if you’re are constantly worried that the sky is falling. The sky is falling, but it won’t be forever. Just keep smiling.
If you would like to meet with me about your new business, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!