When I started thinking about opening my own firm, my initial priority was to decide what specific type of work I wanted to do, what tools I needed available to do the work, and I wondered if I could be financially successful enough to pay my bills. I also realized there was a bunch of stuff that I didn’t know about starting a business or really where even to begin. I was just like many of our clients, who, when we first meet, express their desire to start a business but aren’t sure where to start or what move to make first.
Starting a business can be overwhelming, and it’s completely normal to feel unsure of what to do or even to feel ashamed that you “don’t already know this stuff” when you feel like you should. You are not alone in this journey. Many small business owners have experienced the same feelings at some point. It’s perfectly normal that you don’t know and truthfully, you probably shouldn’t know. That’s why it’s important not to be afraid to ask questions. Whether it’s a team of advisors, a trusted mentor, or a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, find your experts and ask lots of questions. With the right resources and guidance, you can overcome any challenges and achieve success.
I don’t know what I don’t know so I look for direction from those who do. So, here are some tips to help you manage your back-office burden and focus on growing your business:
10 things you MUST do for your new business to succeed
- Get into the habit of saving: Set up two savings accounts – one for profit and one for taxes. Start by putting 1% of your sales into each account and make it a habit to move this money every other week. Your accounting partner can help you determine the right percentages for the long term.
- Complete your employee handbook: Clear expectations and guidelines will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Your payroll partner should provide onboarding tools to make this task easier, as well as provide access to an employee handbook builder.
- Set up a separate payroll account: This is for security purposes. A bank processing error or bookkeeping mistake could put your employees’ paychecks at risk. One way to reduce risk is to require everyone to be paid via direct deposit or pay card. Some states require you to offer paper checks, so check with your payroll partner for options.
- Secure your resale certificate: Set up your sales and use tax account to get your resale certificate. This will allow you to avoid paying sales tax on items you will resell and pay use tax on your initial equipment purchases. Your accounting partner can help you set up these accounts and determine what you need to pay and when.
- Choose your payroll partner wisely: A good partner can make your life and your employees’ lives much easier by ensuring timely payroll and providing electronic onboarding tools for easier HR management. They can also help you determine your pay frequency and schedule, set up your tax accounts, finalize your employee handbook, and make a great first impression with your employees.
- Set up all your state and local accounts: Between your payroll tax accounts, your sales and use tax accounts, and your local business license, there are a number of accounts to set up. Your accounting partner should help you establish and manage these accounts and prepare any initial filings.
- Get workers’ compensation insurance before you hire: Your local insurance agent or payroll partner can guide you through this process. Consider a pay-as-you-go policy to match your cash flow with your salaries and wages expenses as you add team members.
- Set short-term goals: In addition to your sales targets and financial statements, consider setting some simple, fun goals for the next 3-6 months. This can help you stay on track and pave the way for bigger goals as your business grows.
- Establish your back-office processes: Make sure you have a plan for managing receipts, secure communications, bill payments, financial statements, and tax compliance. Your accounting partner should provide the right information and insight to help you make informed decisions.
- Choose your accounting partner carefully: Your accounting partner should be knowledgeable, responsive, and proactive. They should also provide a secure online portal for easy access to your financial information and offer support and guidance as your business grows.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a winning start for your small business. Want more information? Download our free PDF, 10 Tips to Win for Opening Day, to learn more.