New business considerations
Going into business for yourself may seem like an overwhelming task. However, millions of others have done it. There are no guarantees, but here are some of the issues you should consider before moving forward.
Do you have the psychological make-up to handle a start-up?
The process of starting, growing, and managing a business is hard work. It can be somewhat frightening. There are always unexpected issues and concerns that arise. Most successful entrepreneurs have an ability to accept and manage risks. They also usually exhibit a passion that provides the incentive to go the extra mile.
You should also consider the affect that starting a business may have on your lifestyle and your family. Long hours, constant distractions, and sacrifices can put strains on you and those around you.
What type of business makes sense?
Hundreds of thousands of ventures are started each year in all lines of business. Starting a business from scratch, buying an existing business, or entering into a franchise arrangement all present opportunities and potential pitfalls. Be sure to do your homework. Consider the current and potential markets for whatever business you are considering. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of competitors. There are some great resources available to you that provide valuable information. Some examples include www.sba.gov and www.score.org. You may be surprised what you can find readily available.
Find a line of business that matches your skills, experience and interests. If you are considering starting a personal service business, it helps if you can start off with at least one existing customer. Whatever type of business it is, be sure you like it. If you are successful, you may spend many years or several decades in that business.
If you are looking at an existing business or franchise, investigate them thoroughly. Have a professional look at the financial statements and any contracts you may be signing.
Are you going alone or should you have a partner?
This can be one of the most challenging issues you face. Running the business yourself gives you the opportunity to make all the decisions, but you must live with the results. A partner can bring skills, experience and capital, however you should be confident that you can work with that person for an extended period of time.
If you choose to have a partner, you may also want to discuss how your partnership can be ended. While everyone has good intentions at the beginning, things can and often do change. Having a buy/sell agreement or a contractual agreement may avoid difficulties and hard feelings later.
Where will you get the financing you need?
Starting and growing a business takes money. Consider the funds you may need for office space, equipment, inventory, marketing and working capital. You should also remember that not all customers pay quickly. One of the most common causes of business failures is inadequate capital.
Accumulating needed capital should be undertaken early in the start-up process. Once the business is operational, you will want to focus on running it and not have to constantly be looking for funds. Learn about the loan options we offer.
The final observation on needed capital is to consider setting a limit on how much you are willing to risk or lose before shutting the business down and accepting failure. While this may be difficult to consider when starting out, having a contingency plan for failure is a must.
What are some of the other legal, financial and tax issues to be considered?
After addressing all the other aspects, these will probably seem easy. You need to choose a business form (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, sub-chapter S corporation, limited liability company). While this may sound complicated, it is much easier to decide upon than the issues discussed above. Each business form has attractions and drawbacks. An attorney can be very helpful in evaluating the options and drafting any documents you need.
Your personal financial and tax situations may also change when you become a business owner. You may lose the predictability of a monthly paycheck and the other benefits found with a larger company. You will also have to pay for your own medical insurance and fund your retirement account.
As you consider your future, remember that being in business for yourself may be risky, but it can also be very rewarding. Taking key steps early in the process can make all the difference.
We can help
Visit one of our branches or call us at 1-800-288-3425 to learn about how we can help get your business up and running.