Skip any of these considerations and you are doomed to repeat the entrepreneurial process over again. These steps are all about getting organized before it’s too late. Neglecting these areas only creates costly impediments to success.
This isn’t about having excessively formal policies and procedures. Instead, these measures are the essentials to succeeding in business. As your business grows, you’ll be glad you have control over every basic process.
1. Organize financial records. No business ever succeeded for long by lacking financial data or having poor financial information. You have to know how much money you spent and what you purchased. Fixed assets must be separated from other expenditures. Expenses must be allocated to categories. The source of funds is mandatory. No co-mingling of personal and corporation funds. A successful entrepreneur must control expenses and file an accurate tax return.
2. Design a billing and collection process. You’ll need to maintain details about your customers and records of their purchases. Determine the optimal system in terms of cost and convenience. You may have to hire someone part-time or use an outside service or just have the right software to do it yourself.
3. Implement a support network. For starters, you need a good IT person. If you can handle those duties, then there are certainly other operational matters that require outside parties. You probably need some simple sales agreements or maybe even detailed contracts. Unless you know a lot about the law, you should locate a trusted business attorney.
4. Create a business plan. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but the keys to success must be established early and in writing. Focus on a particular market, why the company’s product is valued, and how the selling process will function.
5. Maintain information about potential funding sources. You’ll need to access personal details about funding sources that you may have met months ago. Just keeping business cards is not enough. In the early stages of your business, you’ll be telling your story to everyone. Keep notes about who seems especially interested. You will eventually call upon bankers, angel investors, and acquaintances.
The key to each of these subjects is keeping the process simple. That way, none ever become a burden that ruin your day…or destroy your business.