There is no assurance for a successful business. It is always a risk. There is no guaranteed formula for it. However, there is always one thing you can and should do: PREPARE.
In life, you have to be prepared to get a better outcome. Say in school, you have to study for an exam if you don’t want to flunk. There is no guarantee that you will get a perfect score—because you wouldn’t know what the test questions are until you actually see the paper. But if you studied, you could at least answer some of the questions. If you studied really hard, then you will get a passing score or even better. And in some cases, you may get a perfect score!
So when is the best time to start a business? The answer is: when you are prepared! And here are some tips on how to prepare to start your business.
Prepare a business plan
A business plan encompasses a lot of things that will prepare you for business. It will give you an outline of the things you need to accomplish to start a business. A business plan starts with an executive summary and business description. The former will explain what the business is about while the latter expounds on the product or service that you want to provide. A business plan also includes market strategies and competitive analysis. Both are important because these will enumerate how you will succeed in business.
See, a business plan is not just a piece of paper or document, its preparation includes a detailed study of the market and your competitors so that you can craft an intelligent plan to be successful. The other equally important components of a business plan are design and development plan, operations and management plan, and financial factors.
It doesn’t end with the business plan. The business will not take off without a capital. But this business plan is integral in getting the capital. A business plan is a requirement if you want financial institutions to take an interest in funding you. In fact, even if you just want to ask a family member to fund your business, more often than not, they will still ask for a business plan. They, at least, want to hear that you did not just pluck the business idea out of thin air.
Be financially prepared
All businesses—even those without overhead costs (i.e. online businesses)—need capital. Here are some business requirements that need money:
- Licenses and permits
- Office space
- Equipment and supplies
- Operating expenses (electricity, internet, landline, coffee, etc.)
- Employees or freelancers
And you have to keep in mind that, in most cases, businesses do not take off in a month or two. So if you have to keep the business afloat, you have to prepare for some months without seeing profit. This is why you have to be financially prepared.
You can get some tips on how to spend less but earn more money from your business.
Determine the business structure
There are different kinds of business. Most startup companies usually apply for sole proprietorship or partnership. But here are the different business structures:
- Sole Proprietorship
- S Corporation
- Limited Liability Company
Either way, you have to determine what the structure is for legal documentation and federal tax obligations.
You have to register your business so its operations will be recognized legally. You also have to register the business for local and state taxes. Registration would mean having a tax identification number for the business and the people involved in the business: employer and employees.
Every employer should know his responsibilities over its people—both legal and personal. There are legal steps in hiring employees, according to the US Small Business Administration:
- Obtain an employer identification number.
- Set up records for withholding taxes.
- Employee eligibility verification.
- Register with the state’s new hire reporting program.
- Obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
- Post required notices.
- File your taxes.
- Get organized and keep yourself informed.
- Set up record-keeping.
Then, of course, you also have to set up a personal relationship with your employees. But personal doesn’t mean you have to go drinking or share your secrets with each other. However, it really helps that you know your employees personally—if they are married or not, if they have children or not. This way, you can be more understanding about how they work—not to cuddle them but just to have a sense of their personal loads.
In the case of the employees, you should also be able to arm them with the technical aspects of the job. It is advantageous to provide them proper training. But of course, that would mean extra financial burden on the business. Don’t fret! You can think of it as an investment because if the employees know how to do their job right. They will be more prepared and are inclined to be more productive, which means more money for the business.
Now that you are armed with the appropriate business technicalities, you need to arm yourself with the right attitude to start your business: passion, discipline, hard work, perseverance and practicality.
You have to be passionate about your business. Being passionate is to believe in its success. And when you do believe, you will do everything for the business—except anything illegal—to succeed. This is where perseverance comes in. Starting a business will never be easy, so you need to push the business forward. There is no time to sulk over bad decisions and mishaps. The only thing you can do is persevere to cover up the bad decisions with the good ones and the mishaps with solutions.
In life, hard work will always be rewarded. If you work hard to prepare yourself so that failing will never be an option, then you are definitely ready to take the leap! But hard work should go hand in hand with discipline. Wake up early so you can be the first one to check in at work and prepare the necessary stuff to open your office for business. Stick to the plan and stick to the goal. But if you have to deviate, make sure to think about what’s practical.
Starting a business is a mix of intellectual, physical and emotional stamina. You will experience a lot of downs that will drain you physically, hurt you emotionally and hit you intellectually. But with the right business knowledge and character, you can survive and even succeed in business. You just need to be prepared.