Are you ready to take the plunge into starting your own company? This decision is only the beginning. There are still several steps between making the decision and launching, and skipping any of them can reduce the likelihood of your success. By organizing your finances, writing a business plan, and working with the right professionals, you will be better positioned to deal with anything unexpected that arises and outlast your competition.
Get Your Personal Finances in Order
First, you need to organize your personal finances. This will help ensure that you do not mix your business and personal accounts. It can also help you be clear about what you need to be able to pay yourself as a salary for the company to be viable. You should have a good sense of your personal spending and a budget, and you should try to pay down your debt right away. There are a number of strategies for reducing your debt even if you can’t entirely pay it off. For example, you can take out a personal loan to pay off credit card debt. The advantage of doing this is that the interest rates are often much lower for a personal loan than for your credit card. It only takes about a minute to see your different loan options.
Write a Business Plan
You need a business plan if you are going to seek investors or loans, but even if you are not, a plan can give you clarity as well as showing you where there could be gaps in your thinking that you need to shore up. There is no single way to write a plan, but there are certain issues everyone should address. You need to be able to write a clear mission statement and think about what you need to get started, including how much money you need. An operating budget should include what equipment you will need and whether you should to hire any staff or contract out some types of work. One of the most important elements is thinking about your marketing, both who your audience is and how you will reach them. You may want to do some surveys online and research your competition for this section of your plan.
It’s important that you establish yourself as the appropriate type of entity. This affects your taxes and a number of other things, so you may want to start by visiting an attorney to discuss whether you should be a limited liability company, an S-corp or another type of business. Creating a relationship with an attorney also means you have someone to turn to when you have questions about contracts, zoning or other issues. Even if you are a partnership or a sole proprietor, you may want to consider hiring a bookkeeper and working with professionals in marketing and IT. Finally, you should look into the types of insurance you need to get, including protection in case of equipment damage or having to close your company for a period of time.