So you’ve decided it’s time to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur! Launching a solo venture is an exciting undertaking that has the potential to lead to significant personal and professional fulfillment, but it’s not a course of action to be taken on without considerable preplanning. Taking time to chart out a plan of action can help you position yourself and your burgeoning business for long-term success. Read on for advice from Klashtech.
Are You Ready?
Before you quit your day job, make sure you’re mentally and financially prepared to become an entrepreneur. Take into consideration your skill sets, your capacity for effectively juggling multiple competing priorities, and your knowledge about the basic operational functions of business management.
Even if you plan on hiring experts like accountants and developers, it helps to have a basic understanding of what they do. Finding accounting software that works for you is a good way to know if you’re ready to make the leap or not.
You’ll also want to think about your ability to effectively manage your time, tolerate and handle stress, and deliver exceptional customer service — a necessity for a successful start-up venture. This is the time to be honest with yourself and give thoughtful consideration to what elements of the start-up you can handle on your own and where you might need to hire outside help
What Business Structure Makes Sense?
Many entrepreneurs initially consider establishing themselves as sole proprietors, but unfortunately, that form of business structure doesn’t protect against personal liability in the way a limited liability company (LLC) can. Per MacDowell Law Group, an LLC also provides tax advantages, along with flexibility and less paperwork than other filing structures.
Once you’ve formed your LLC, get an IRS business number also known as an employer ID number (EIN). Doing so will allow you to open a bank account, hire employees, and protect your personal assets. And remember, it’s absolutely imperative that you keep up with the filing deadlines associated with your LLC; otherwise, you could lose the protections it offers. So, once you’ve filed your LLC initially, mark your calendar for submitting your annual report.
Where Will You Operate?
Many entrepreneurs start out as home-based businesses. If you’re starting from home, carve out dedicated office space and set firm boundaries between your work and home lives to maintain a sense of professionalism and help you stay focused.
If you’re looking for an office or storefront, consider utilizing a commercial real estate agent to help you explore options in your area and price range. With both approaches, you’ll need to budget for office necessities, including a computer printer, scanner, desk, and chair. If you have a physical location, you may also need basic supplies, office furniture for clients and guests, and conference or demo space, if applicable.
How Will You Finance Operations?
All start-up ventures come with a price tag. To be savvy with your finances, draw up a business plan that details anticipated expenditures and revenue streams, as well as timetables for when the business is likely to become self-sufficient. If you’re hiring staff, purchasing large volumes of inventory or leasing space, you may want to apply for a small business loan.
Depending on your industry, you might also be able to attract angel investors or even bootstrap your operation if you have resources at hand. You’ll want to ensure you have enough cash reserves or access to resources to get you through the lean start-up months when you’re seeing more money leaving your operation than coming into it.
Where Will You Find Staff?
If you need to hire staff, you can opt for full-time employees or freelancers. Many entrepreneurs go with freelancers to start because they don’t have to pay unemployment insurance, taxes, or benefits, and they can often work on an as-needed basis. On the other hand, having dedicated staff can help you chart long-term goals, and full-timers are less likely to have competing priorities. You can ask colleagues for referrals, post ads on online job boards, or utilize a staffing agency to help you find candidates.
One of the benefits of a staffing agency is that you can take the guesswork and time commitment out of the process as an agency typically recruits and screens candidates in advance, so you’re more likely to fund a good fit. Startups.com says interview questions that help you get to know candidates as people will help you determine how they’d fit into your plan
Long Term Planning
There’s so much that goes into funding and running a successful business that no matter how much experience you have, there’s always more to learn. Some great ways to expand your business include critically examining your own mistakes, as well as checking out what works for your competition. Launching a start-up is an exciting event and mapping out your organizational and operational structures can help you get off to a good start.
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