Chapter 9 – Before You Sell: Taking Care of Business
Like most new business owners, as soon as you open for business, you’re going to be focused on sales, costs and revenues.
So before you put away your rear-view mirror, do yourself a favor and take care of these big three responsibilities:
Get Licenses and Permits
Depending on your business, and what state you’re in, there are likely applicable licenses and permits to obtain. Know the laws pertaining to your business and set up your business legally. Selling cookies out of your kitchen? In some states, you’ll need a bakery license and health permits just to start.
For those of you starting a business online, such as an e-commerce site, understand that you need to be operating as a legal entity in the state the business is in, as well as states and countries you are doing business with, so check out shipping laws.
The insurance you need will depend on the type of business and industry, what your business does, and sells, and the location of your business. Don’t skimp on insurance; know the best practices for your business and industry.
As your business grows so will your insurance needs, so start a relationship with an insurance broker early on, even if you are only buying a small amount. In the long run you will want someone with the expert knowledge of your industry who is trustworthy.
Mind The Books
I’ve mentioned getting an accountant before and I will again. For those of you doing your own books, make sure you have the right software. For many businesses, Intuit’s QuickBooks and Freshbooks are popular choices.
Even if you do your own bookkeeping, consider getting help when it comes to filing taxes. It doesn’t hurt to have another pair of eyes on your work. Who knows, maybe their expertise might recognize another deduction you weren’t aware of. The laws are always changing so it’s difficult to be a full-time business owner and keep your own books. And when you do business across state lines, it gets even more complicated.
I call these the big three because when many people start a business, they don’t pay enough attention to these. I understand that many of us may not have the resources to do everything I mention, but we should want to know what to aim for.
One of the most important things to remember about any of this is that even a small effort each day toward your goal can help you immensely. So start small if you have to, but know where to go and how to grow.
As we said in the opening, you will be inclined to spend most of your time growing your business and that makes setting it up correctly all the more important.
Let’s talk about launching your business next time.
Part 1 – Launching You, Inc.
Part 2 – Get Direction
Part 3 – Is Your Idea Any Good?
Part 4 – Should I Have Them Sign an NDA
Part 5 – Make a Practical Business Plan
Part 6 – How Do You Know If Your Business Idea Stinks?
Part 7 – Should I Incorporate?
Part 8 – Marketing Your New Small Business
Jason Veduccio, author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.