Research Your Business Name
You likely have the ideal name for your business in mind at this point, but, have you researched it? Have you checked its availability as a trademark? Is a domain name available? Is the name available to use as a corporation or LLC? Do some research first before spending valuable resources promoting a business name that you may end up having to change in the future because you did not do your due diligence before printing up those business cards.
Learn the Requirements, Rules and Legalities Related to Your Chosen Business Entity Form
Did you decide to organize your business as a corporation? Were you sold on the entity form because you were told that you could best protect yourself against personal liability by incorporating your business? Yes to both? Congratulations, you are on your way, but there are requirements that you must comply with to maintain that limited liability protection. Have you filed your statement of information with the state? Will you remember to hold the required meetings? Did you set up separate bank accounts and are you prepared to keep your funds and accounting separate? These are all necessary formalities that must be adhered to if you are to benefit from the limited liability advantages that are offered by the corporate form. If not followed, your expected liability protection could be at risk. Corporations, and LLCs, have certain requisite structural rules that must be followed. Before you start operating, you should know them.
Know What Will Happen When You Make a Sale - Be Prepared for Success
If you received an order for your new product tomorrow, would you be able to fulfill it? Would you be able to collect payment? Do you know how you will ship it, and how much shipping will cost? If you received an inquiry from a potential customer, do you have the information ready to send to them or your pitch ready to tell them? If not, you need to get organized. Figure out the process from A to Z, and write it down. Why write it down? Because, even if you know it in your head, and you are the only employee of your company right now, what will happen if things take off and the orders start flowing in? Hiring an employee (or 10) will be the result of success, and you will not have the time to sit down with each new employee and explain every step in the order fulfillment process. But, if your employee is not properly trained and does not know each step, that could cost you. Clear and concise written instructions for your employees to follow (even if you do not have any employees just yet) can save you a lot of headaches and time, and ultimately gain you customers. Be prepared for success and success is more likely to find you.
Prepare a Written Business Plan
Few people start a business wanting only a short period of success. But, a lot of start-ups jump in without having a business plan in place; and more do so without a written one. To start with, think of a business plan as a map. If you've never been somewhere before, having a map help you navigate your way is helpful, if not necessary. In addition to being a map, a business plan is also a guide to use once you arrive. The map will tell you how to get there, and the guide will give you some information about your destination so that once you arrive you will know what to do. A business plan is a map and guide to your business’ success.
Be Prepared to Hire Your First Employee
As stated above, hiring employees is a very likely consequence of success. However, not knowing what laws and rules apply to your employees could quickly and easily derail your success train. Hiring your first employee can be an exciting time, and it should be something that you prepare for from the beginning. To help assure a productive and lasting relationship, you should prepare your business and be ready to comply with your state's employment law rules and regulations. One way to do this is to have templates of necessary employment documents and packets prepared in advance to give to newly hired employees and to have policies in place that can be communicated from the beginning to set a tone from day one. This will save you, as the boss and business owner, anxiety and stress in the future, will lessen the possibility of litigation and disputes, and will exhibit an organized and professional business setting to your employees once hired.