4 Things to Consider As You Start Up Your Startup

Starting a new business can be very exciting. Plenty of firsts. Plenty of learning. Plenty of unknowns, too. 

If you have a solid business plan, don’t let analysis paralysis stop you from giving it your best shot. That said, there are some things that can help you minimize wasted time and money. Here are four things to consider as you begin your new venture. 

1. Pay Attention to the Paperwork

While the creative part of starting a new business is exciting, there’s a lot of paperwork as well. Whether you’re registering your business as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company, filing the right papers is a crucial first step. You may need licenses and permits from the city and state from where you operate. 

Some entrepreneurs get too invested in the grand opening or the aesthetics of their new venture. They may put important paperwork on the backburner. That could result in missing important deadlines and incurring late fees. You could also be making a bad impression with vendors and city officials. 

Documentation and contracts don’t need to be tedious and overly time-consuming if you have a system in place. One way to streamline contracting is to implement contract management software. This way all your paperwork gets to the relevant stakeholders in a systematic way. Contracts are saved securely online and are easily accessible when needed. You can customize templates and have contracts signed electronically, which saves time — and the planet. 

2. Do Bookkeeping in Real Time 

Once your initial paperwork is taken care of, it’s time to open shop. A small business may not need to hire a full-time accountant right away. However, it’s crucial to stay on top of your books. At any given time, an entrepreneur should know how much they are spending in each budget category. In this digital age, no one should be fumbling through manila folders and shoe boxes of receipts at tax time. 

Choose any online accounting platform that fits your needs and your budget. Each day, enter all the sales and purchases. Every coffee you had with prospective clients should be accounted for. Some bookkeeping tools allow you to just upload photos of receipts, and they record expenses for you. 

This practice can give you a snapshot of how your business is faring at any moment. You might need to cut down in some categories when business is slow. Or you may be able to boost your marketing or client-wooing budget when things are humming. Either way, keeping real-time tabs on your books is vital. That way there are no surprises when you show your profit and loss statements at tax time or when applying for a loan. 

3. Maintain a Great Website

The first thing a loan officer or investor will look at — even before meeting you — is your website. Any business today needs a home on the web. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it should get your message across in the best way possible. Even brick-and-mortar stores need a website. 

A website is a permanent address for your venture. It’s a place where anyone can find out the why, who, where, and what of your business. Your customer should be able to reach you in the fewest steps possible. They should not have to sign up for something or have a Twitter account to know about your products or services. 

Not only does a website make your business look professional, but it also gives you control over the medium. Social media platforms are great, but they are always changing their algorithm. With a website, you’re not at the mercy of a social media site that could one day ban or suspend your account. 

4. Value Key Players

A startup may not be able to afford full-time employees for marketing, accounts, graphic design, sales, and the like. However, entrepreneurs should know which areas they excel in and what they need to outsource. One person cannot be an expert in every facet of the business. Even if you have general business know-how, outsourcing some work may be more time- and cost-efficient. 

A startup should always be on the lookout for great freelancers. They often are more specialized and have greater flexibility than full-time hires. If someone builds you a fabulous website or designs stellar brochures, value their talent. Pay them on time, give them referrals, and treat them like part of the team. Then you will see how they will go over and above to retain your business. 

As your startup grows, you might find you want to hire these freelancers on a full-time basis. Onboarding freelancers you know will save you time over vetting total strangers and figuring out their strengths and weaknesses. Your existing freelancers may decide they like the stability that comes with a regular paycheck from a firm they already trust. 

Don’t Overthink 

There is never one magic moment in which to start a new business. A junior employee may make good side money selling handcrafted jewelry. A retired professional may want a post-corporate gig to keep busy. Any time could be a good — if not perfect — time to start. 

So do some homework and take the leap of faith. Always keep the legalities in mind and leverage good tools and talent. Just don’t let overthinking stop you from pursuing your dream idea. 

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