Posted by Pamela Swift in Starting Up
Article Contributed by Maria Foster
You’ve gone over every aspect of your business plan, have the capital in place and rented a space. Now all that’s left is to flip the “Open” sign and begin your dream of becoming a successful small business owner. Fast forward one year later and that initial enthusiasm has been replaced with apprehension, stress and an overwhelming urge to jump ship.
If this is your present dilemma, it’s important to realize that the majority of small businesses fail within the first few years; one of the main reasons is improper planning and follow through on the original goal. Here are a few of the steps several small business owners overlook, and why it’s critical to understand that when it comes to your money and future, every decision matters.
Deviating From Your Original Business Plan, and Budget
You spent months formulating a rock solid business plan, and determined the capital required to keep the doors of your business firmly opened for an entire year. As the months passed, and your business began to evolve, you decided to deviate from the original business model, and start shifting money around, or even spending more on certain areas. While it’s inevitable that your original model will require tweaking as your business begins to develop, it’s never a good idea to complete abandon your original goal. This includes the amount of money you allotted for marketing, employee wages, rental costs and the other dozen expenses you’ll pay each month. In the end, sticking to your original plan and keeping your finances in control, no matter if you’re earning more than you expected, will always help you achieve success.
Marketing Your Businesses
It’s not that the majority of small business owners completely overlook this step; it’s just that most go about it in the wrong way. For instance, you’ve spent a large chunk of your start-up costs creating a dynamic logo, designing an eye-catching press packet and thousands of business cards. Fast forward six months later and the business cards are obsolete because you’ve moved, the logo doesn’t fit with the direction of your company and those press packets were quickly thrown into the trash. Marketing your business is a constant process, so keep this in mind before investing too much of your capital into the initial push to promote your goods or services.
The Hiring Process
No matter if you’re hiring several hundred, full-time employees or two people to help with overnight stocking; there are several potentially costly legal ramifications if you don’t adhere to your state’s labor laws. If you’re unable to adequately meet the responsibilities of hiring employees, consider using independent contractors to fulfill your temporary or permanent staffing needs.
Credit Card Processing
As your company grows or you decide to venture into the world of online sales, you’ll eventually require the services of a reputable credit card processing company. Many small business owners don’t do their homework or realize they have options when it comes time to process their customer’s credit and debit card purchases. Before making any firm commitments, shop around for the best rates.
Overlooking the Benefit of a Great Accountant and Lawyer
Five years ago it would have been unthinkable to start a small business without the assistance of a lawyer and accountant to finalize any legal documents, and make sure your capital and profits were being handled correctly. The advent of user-friendly software has all but eliminated the need for these professionals, however, don’t discount their services. Starting your small business is a complex undertaking that involves ensuring your file the correct governmental documents, pay the correct taxes and even trademark your brand. A highly skilled lawyer will help ensure all of your Ts are crossed, I’s dotted and you’re able to legally begin offering goods and services to the public.
If you’re starting a small business, and aren’t sure which direction to take, it never hurts to seek counsel from a successful business owners in your area. He or she will help guide you in the right direction, and provide you with valuable, real world information that is only available for someone whose survived the pitfalls and perils of starting a business themselves.
About the Author: Maria Foster is a successful small business owner. She suggests to click here to explore some of your own small business options.