If you are thinking of starting a business, you'll find all sorts of advice about how to go about getting your new venture off the ground. Indeed, there are entire websites devoted to the topic. Yet, with so much information out there, it's hard to know what you should heed and what you can ignore.
To make things simple, we've compiled a list of six essential strategies for getting your new business up and running with the least amount of hassle and risk.
1. Solve A Problem
One of the best ways to come up with a winning business idea is to design your product or service to solve a specific problem. By fixing a problem, you'll have a solid customer base right out of the gate, who won't need much selling, provided your solution actually works.
If possible, create your business around a problem you've faced yourself, so you thoroughly understand and trust the value your company offers. If your business truly helps improve people's lives, your success is virtually guaranteed.
2. Stop Waiting & Start Doing
While it may seem counterintuitive, it's often better to launch your business before you feel like your product is 100% perfect. Delaying your start is often an unconscious way of procrastinating, and besides, you'll probably never feel like your business concept is totally perfect.
Best to launch fast before anyone else beats you to the market—or before you second-guess yourself out of launching at all. From there, you can adapt and perfect your solution with a small group of paying customers, to whom you should give special attention in order to guarantee their happiness and loyalty. The most effective way to learn is to get your product into people's hands or your service into people's lives and see how they like it.
Just keep in mind, you should be prepared to fail, learn from your mistakes, and keep iterating until you get things right.
3. Keep It Simple
When you come up with a great business idea, it's tempting to imagine all of the possibilities of where it might go, and try to add all of those things into your launch. But you should narrow your focus and costs by making your solution as effective as possible, without getting too elaborate or complicated.
Consider the minimum viable product, or MVP, often talked about in the tech sector. What's the minimum you can offer and get the results you envision for the people you serve? Offer that first, and build upon it from there.
Once your company is up and running and you've got some income and customers, it will be much easier and more affordable to add additional features.
4. Be Passionate But Self-Aware
The most successful business ideas are ones that are near and dear to your heart. Focusing on something you're passionate about will help keep you motivated to do whatever it takes to succeed.
That said, just being passionate won't guarantee success. It takes a certain mindset to endure the rigors of entrepreneurship, so unless you're comfortable taking risks, learning from failure, and working harder than you ever have before, you might want to rethink things.
When things get challenging—and they definitely will—this mix of passion and fortitude will allow you to stay the course.
5. Cover Your Assets
Although a sole proprietorship is the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to structure your business, these entities provide zero protection for your personal assets. If your business is set up as a sole proprietorship and your company goes into serious debt or gets hit with a costly lawsuit, your home and life savings could be at risk. Rather than taking the easy route, invest the time and money to set your business up as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Both entities not only offer you liability protection for your personal assets, but they also come with significant tax-savings benefits as well.
6. Establish A Solid Foundation
Starting a business involves establishing the proper legal, insurance, financial, and tax foundation to support your vision and goals. At the very minimum, you need a legal entity (in the right state and of the right type), some basic legal agreements, and intellectual property protections like copyrights and trademarks. You also need basic insurance coverage, financial tracking and reporting systems, and tax planning.
You may be able to do some of this yourself, but to ensure you get things 100% correct, consult with us, your Family Business Lawyer™. We offer exactly this kind of support with our LIFT Start-Up Session. Whether you've yet to open your doors, have started a company but haven't set up your LIFT systems yet, or have some systems in place but you aren't sure they've been set up correctly, contact us to schedule your session.
Your Very Own In-House Legal Counsel
Most small business owners don't think they need to hire a lawyer, and perhaps this is why roughly half of all businesses fail within the first five years. On the other hand, the most successful companies wouldn't dream of not having a lawyer on their team.
These companies typically employ one or more in-house lawyers, who proactively identify missed opportunities for the company, spot potential risks, create plans to mitigate risks and build on opportunities. Even if you don't run a big company, your business still deserves—and frankly requires—this kind of relationship in order to reach its full potential. And by working with us, your local Family Business Lawyer™, you will have your very own in-house legal counsel to offer you this kind of trusted guidance.
Startups can be risky ventures, but with the proper planning and support, you can beat the odds. Contact us, your Family Business Lawyer™ today to get your new venture started off on the right track.
This article is a service of Res Nova Law, Family Business Lawyer™. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.