This is why it is so important that your business has a solid foundation. How can you make sure that this is the case with your business?
By honestly taking stock of how you have structured your company and making the necessary upgrades and adjustments so that you are operating like a well-oiled machine. Many times service professionals setup their business “flying by the seat of their pants” and figuring things out as they go along. The problem with this, just like with any constructed building, is that after a while, the cracks are going to show up. They’ll start out small and then gradually expand to large, messy and very expensive issues that can no longer be ignored. When this happens, it can affect one’s reputation, cash flow, marketing efforts and most certainly your mindset and the level of stress you deal with as an entrepreneur.
Whether you are a business newbie or an established entrepreneur, NOW is a great time to analyze your infrastructure to ensure that it is setup to support your long-term growth and success. Following are a few key areas to consider:
- Incorporation: Creating a corporation for your business will safeguard your personal assets in the event that you have a professional dispute with a client or vendor. While I am not at all predicting this be the case in your business, it’s a smart business decision to protective measures for your interests. After all, you’re putting a lot of time, energy and effort into growing your company! Why would you not take steps to protect your investment? Your business entity should be completely separate from your personal affairs. It is a protection for you, your company and your clients. By reviewing your options and setting things up properly, you will have a bedrock foundation because you have legitimized your company.
- Insurance: It will take diligent effort to find the right insurance for you and your household. Seek out insurance agents from people that you already know and trust. There are many insurance resources for entrepreneurs. It is important that you apply and qualify for and enroll in the insurance plans that are necessary for your family and your business to ensure that you personal and professional needs are cared for over the long-term.
- Operations: Systems are critical to the successful business. What processes will you have in place for enrolling new clients into your practice? How will they pay you? How do you delegate tasks? Handle your financial affairs? Having documented systems will save you time, money and energy (because you won’t find yourself re-inventing the wheel every time you sit down to deal with a task) and will allow you to consistently provide high quality service to your clients.
- Technology: No matter what type of service business you are starting, technology will likely play a large role. You must have reliable hardware and software. Trust me, you do not want to run a business using your neighbor’s WiFi! Some free services and tools may be handy. But when it comes to the day to day functioning of your business, you want the most reliable technology available and will need to know how to use it to best serve your clients.
- Financing: I am often asked, “Can I start a small business with no money?” My answer is, “Absolutely NOT.” The truth is that it takes money in order to make money. At a bare minimum, you need office supplies, software, hardware and savings for back up. I would never encourage an individual to start any sort of business with no mo.ney because I personally have no experience in that area. Even with a limited budget there are numerous ways to obtain the resources you need to grow. So instead of focusing on how little you may have, focus on making good use of it and HOW you can create or access the financial resources you need. Look for the opportunities and get creative! There is always a way to get what you need.
These are a few of the important aspects of setting up your business that will allow you to have a bedrock-like foundation. If you have already started your business, you can still implement these components to strengthen your business. Do not to become overwhelmed by the list above. No business is “perfect” and every entrepreneur needs these basic elements in place in order to grow and succeed. You may find that some aspects of your business foundation work very well while others need some attention. This is perfectly okay! This is part of the process of creating a successful, thriving company.
One thing is for sure, you do not want to construct a business on a sandy foundation. If you do, you will find that the tides of change and trouble will wash your business out to sea. Just like footsteps on a sandy shore are soon to disappear, without a bedrock foundation, your business will quickly fade. By implementing the points above, you will be sure to have a foundation that is built to last and on which you can build a successful, sustainable business.
If you’d like to learn my PROVEN 5-pillar system for building a successful professional services company, I invite you to join me for a free traning webinar on “How to Structure Your Business for Maximum Profits and Productivity” Get all the details at http://smartsimplemarketing.
YOUR TAKE ACTION PLAN FOR THIS WEEK:
- Review your business entity. If you’ve been running as a sole proprietor, look into incorporation and see if it’s the right fit for you. Doing so could likely be a protection for your personal assets, but may also save you money come tax time.
- Get quotes for insurance that will provide you with coverage similar to what you experienced as an employee. If you don’t know an insurance agent, ask friends and family members for recommendations.
- Review all of your systems. Take an afternoon to take stock of the various recurring tasks in your business. Start setting aside time each way to document your processes and procedures so that your business begins to run smoothly.
- Invest in technology that you need to run your business. Look for any areas where you’re lacking in technology and make purchases to support your business – or make plans to soon.
- If you need capital for systems, technology or creating a business entity, start looking into your financing options. There are many resources available to entrepreneurs.