The time has come where you’ve decided to take one of your many brilliant ideas and run with it to create a business. There will be days where it feels like an uphill battle, and others, where everything will just click. To have more days where things click, consider taking heed of some or all of the following advice.
This list has been compiled from entrepreneurs in various industries and covers everything from managing finances to finding time for yourself as a business owner.
Let’s dive into the good stuff!
•Separate personal and business accounts: No matter how small or large your business may get, you should start by separating your personal and business accounts. If you’ve opened a business entity like a LLC or S corp, then you probably have this on your list of next steps. However, some freelancers tend to stick to mixing their business and personal accounts from the get go. Down the line, when it comes to tax season and keeping track of accounts, it becomes clear why having two separate accounts proves to be helpful. Not only will you be able to have a clearer view of what your income and expenses are, but you’ll also be able to easily prepare documents for your accountant whenever needed.
•Use accounting software: It’s all too common for new businesses to focus on keeping low overhead costs. And, that’s a great strategy! But, your accounting software should not be overlooked. There are many free or low-fee options on the market that can automate your accounting processes and help you produce professional invoices.
•Pay taxes quarterly: When it comes time to file your taxes, you may run into paying fees for having not paid quarterly tax minimums on time. Your accountant can advise you on what these payments may be so that you can prepare to pay them on time.
•Earn while you grow: Before you quit your day job to start your own business, begin it as a side hustle. Most businesses fail within their first five years of operation, and this statistic isn’t meant to dissuade you from starting your business. Instead, it’s just to take heed of the fact that you’ll want to deal with details in the beginning and prove your minimum viable product. As you find and grow your market, you will be able to rely on the income from your part-time or full-time job until you’re making enough income from your passion project to make it your full-time job.
•Speak up: Have confidence to speak up about your business and idea to everyone and anyone willing to listen. The people you talk to can potentially become your future customers. And, even if that’s not what happens, they may provide you with valuable insight, ideas or connections that will help your business grow.
•Practice the 80/20 rule: The 80/20 rule is also known as the Pareto Principle. The gist is this: 80% of your outputs should derive from 20% of your inputs. You can apply this to how you spend your time and also your clientele. Applying this rule in practice helps you to achieve efficiency and limit waste (in terms or both tangible resources and your time). If you have a customer who brings only 20% of value (revenue) to your business but is taking up 80% of your time, then you are going to operate towards a loss overall. Keep this principle in mind when you allocate your time, budget and people to projects.
•Solve a problem: Good ideas are essentially limitless. However, not every good idea solves a problem or need. If you can focus your business toward solving a problem, then you can easily target your audience to those who need that problem solved. It’s not about reaching the masses from the get go – it’s about serving a niche market and watching that expand with a good quality product or service.
•Keep costs low: This one is pretty obvious for anyone running a business. The lower your costs, the higher your profit. But, when you’re getting started, how do you know what’s worth investing in or waiting on? If you can run your business from a home office without employees, then that’s the best way to get started. Hire people on a project basis when you need expertise in certain areas. Invest in marketing and growing your business naturally. When you have enough income, you can expand and scale the business to hire employees and move into an office space (or co-working space) if need be.
•Get funding: You’ll likely need capital to get going on your idea. Capital funding can come in various forms, from bank loans and bank credit cards to merchant cash advances. For a business idea that will likely bring in credit card sales in the near future, a merchant cash advance could be a smart option for funding. This method works by giving you cash upfront that will then be paid back from a portion of credit card sales each month. Unlike a loan, you won’t need so many requirements to apply for a merchant cash advance. Many new businesses are denied for loans because they don’t have enough income or high enough credit history. Merchant cash advances can help small businesses get up and running in no time.
•Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let’s say that one again – don’t be afraid to ask for help. Starting a business can be stressful and challenging. But, if you remain persistent and have conviction, you can do it. Be open to asking people you know for help when you need it. Whether it’s a mentor, professional, friend or family member, there are people who want to see you succeed!
Regardless of where you are in your small business journey, these tips have been practiced by those who have made it in business. Always remember why you got started in the first place. If you can continue to apply your knowledge, skills and allocate funding wisely, then you will be able to build your business with each day!