Starting a business seems simple enough. All you need is an idea, a dream and a dollar, right? Well, partially right. The reality of the market is slightly more complicated than that. You do need all those things, but they alone will not lead you to immediate, overwhelming entrepreneurial success, especially in a business climate as competitive as the one found in Tacoma, Washington.
Here are a few tips to help you maximize your chances of making your business successful:
If You Are Going to Have Business Partners, Make Sure They Are All People You Trust and Respect
If you have a large enough amount of start-up capital, know-how and professional connections to start your business all by yourself, good for you. Many first-time entrepreneurs lack one or the other, though, and need at least one business partner who can provide funding, knowledge, connections or some combination of the three.
If you fall into the latter category, make sure any partners you choose are trustworthy and have your best interest in mind. Choosing to partner up with the wrong people can doom your business right off the bat, so be sure you do your homework and choose wisely.
Maintain Detailed Records of Everything You Do from the Start
You need to keep detailed written records of everything having to do with your business’ finances, policies and procedures, personnel decisions and bylaws. Not only will making sure these documents are easily accessible be handy for internal purposes, but you may be required to retain them for legal and regulatory purposes as well.
If the regulators come knocking at your door, or if you need to produce a third-party audit of your financial statements to one of your clients, you will need them. Be prepared for something like that to happen and get out in front of it.
Get Your Operation Organized Right Away
Organization is one of the biggest keys to your business’ success. Having all your important documents is one thing, but being able to find them when you need them is what should really matter to you. If you have them, but you are not able to find them when you need them, having them does not do you any amount of good.
Make it a point to have a specific place for each category of documentation–finance and accounting, legal, human resources, information technology, information security, and so on–you need to retain.
Know Your Market and All of Your Competitors
No matter how great your business’ products and services may be, you will be out of business in a hurry if you are not able to generate enough revenue to stay afloat. Without knowing the ins and outs of your market, you will have a difficult time keeping up with–let alone surpassing–your competitors in the battle for market share.
You should become familiar with all the rules and regulations governing your product or service so you can outmaneuver all of your competitors. Additionally, you need to do extensive research on your business’ niche market, determine how your business fits into it, determine where the inefficiencies are and do your best to exploit them.
Get Advice from an Attorney Who Has Business Law Experience
You can do quite a bit of the work involved in starting your business without soliciting any external professional advice. However, there is no getting around the fact that some of the decisions you need to make should be made carefully and only after consulting an experienced attorney for guidance.
A reputable Tacoma business attorney recommends that you decide on and formalize all of your business’ organizing documents, bylaws, policies and procedures, records retention schedule and standard contracts very carefully.
You also need to memorialize ownership interests in the business, choose the entity classification that best fits your needs and register your business in the state where you want it to be based. If you need any special licenses to sell your products or provide your services, you will have to secure those too.
Choose the Best Entity Classification for Your Venture
There are so many ways to classify your business that the possibilities can appear to be endless. Depending on the state in which your entity will be based, you could make it a corporation, a partnership, a limited liability company, a limited partnership, a limited liability partnership, a professional corporation, a sole proprietorship, a professional limited liability company or a professional limited liability partnership.
This is one of the decisions you should make with input from an experienced business law attorney who can tell you the potential benefits and potential drawbacks of each classification. Which classification you choose will determine how your company is structured and how it is taxed at the local, state and federal levels. Your choice will have long-term implications, so it is not one to be made lightly.
Be Willing to Invest Yourself in the Business and Make Some Sacrifices, Especially at the Outset
Some things that are worth doing are easy, but most of them are not. If you want your business to succeed, you must be willing to invest large amounts of time, money and brain power in it. If you cannot or are not able to do that, you will have a great deal of difficulty getting your operation off the ground.
If your heart and your head are not completely in it, but you still expect success, you could be in for a rude awakening. You need to commit yourself completely. But if you know what you are getting yourself into and you remain undeterred when the going gets tough, then will be able to go forth and prosper.
Business success is attainable if you are capable of focusing your energy and resources into your operation. Do not get discouraged if success does not come immediately. It rarely does. Judge yourself by your processes, not by your results. Keep refining your business’ internal processes to make it as efficient as you can.
Good results can be a fluke, but good processes almost always eventually lead to good results. Stay the course and keep your head held high through the tough times. You will be happy you did.