Starting and running a business can be very exciting yet also nerve-racking. Trust me, I know! The nervousness comes from not being 100% sure as to what you should do and how you should do it. But, there are some essentials that can make your launch process smoother. Here are 4 things every entrepreneur should do:
1. Create a business entity.
Creating a business entity will allow you and your business to exist separately. What I mean is, the business will be its own entity. The most important aspect of creating a business entity is the liability protection. Generally, by creating an entity separate from yourself, you are shielding yourself from being personally liable for the business. This includes debts and lawsuits. This is HUGE! If a client/customer is unhappy and files a lawsuit against your business, without a separate business entity your personal assets could be at stake! We definitely don't want that! Protect yourself personally by creating a business entity and keeping business matters separate. Open a business checking account, get a business credit card, make the business entity a party to your contracts, etc. Let your business run your business!
2. Contract your services or products.
Written contracts are the BEST way to definitively lay out terms, fees and products/services. Contracts are a legally binding agreement that you will be able to fall back on if the other party fails to meet their obligations. Yes, oral agreements are legally enforceable but who else was present? Who can testify that they heard all the terms of the agreement? Without a written contract, it's he/said she/said and we all know how that works out! With a written agreement you can agree to who, what, when and where. It's always best to eliminate any questions by clearly defining terms, fees and conditions in a written contract.
3. Build your Brand.
A brand refers to a business and marketing concept that helps people identify a particular company, product, or individual. What is your brand? How do you want customers to view your services or your product? Spending some time to flesh out exactly how you want to brand your business is worthwhile because you can build upon that brand over time and create an expectation for your products or services (good or bad). I'm sure you want the expectation to be good! The way to create a solid brand is to be consistent. Consistently providing quality products/services will allow customers to associate your brand with a certain (high) standard.
4. Lastly, Do not Give Up!
I know it can be frustrating and nerve-wracking, but it can also be exhilarating and fun. You have a product or a service that you believe you can offer the world so stay steadfast in that belief! Congratulations on starting your business (or taking the steps to start)!