So, you’re thinking about switching careers. You want to leave the 9-5 life behind and venture into the challenging yet rewarding labyrinth that is entrepreneurship. You’ve got dreams, ideas, and plans, but you’ve also got to get started. Starting your own business is equal parts exciting and equal parts scary, with a fair share of hurdles that might leave you disheartened — and understandably so, as there’s a lot you’ll want to consider before taking the leap. But like most things, with the right amount of effort and preparation, you’ll be thankful that you embarked on the entrepreneurship journey. Before you dive in headfirst, here are a few things you will want to make sure you’ve got covered to steady your ship:
Before you begin, you need to first decide what kind of business entity you’re opting for. To make your decision, you have to consider three factors: record-keeping, taxation, and, of course, liability. There are several kinds of business structures out there — from sole proprietorship and corporations to partnerships and limited liability companies (LLC). Each structure has its own pros and cons, so be sure to do your research and get expert advice before choosing one.
Several new businesses are pushing traditional structures aside and opting for an LLC option. LLC’s present entrepreneurs with the dual benefit of acting like a partnership and a corporation at the same time. In this structure personal liability remains limited from the owners, but profits or losses go directly to them, instead of the overarching business entity.
No business can be successful without advertising. You need to get the word out about your business as much as possible, and advertising is the way to do so. However, not everyone has huge ad budgets when they start out. Thankfully, there are many ways to get around the lack of capital when it comes to advertising. One of the benefits of digitization is the ability to easily use social media to reach millions of consumers across the globe, for a minimal amount of money. Consider educating yourself about social media marketing and search engine optimization. You can do so through numerous online courses, a lot of which are free.
Other strategies include “group advertising”, an arrangement that allows “local businesses to collectively leverage the advertising efforts in markets where media like TV and radio are typically very expensive. By pooling resources, group advertising solutions allow individual businesses to access the budget necessary to make the necessary impact to attract new customers.” Alternative advertising strategies are becoming more common today, and will help you maximize the value you get from a limited ad budget.
A lot of entrepreneurs dream of taking their business overseas and penetrating global markets. Doing so is no easy feat, and requires a lot of preparation. When it comes to big moves like this one, it helps to do your homework way in advance. Things you need to consider include researching what jurisdiction your business fall sunder in an international market, legal regulations you will have to comply with, and even seemingly simpler things like work permits, visas, and visa waivers.
A Contingency Plan
As an entrepreneur, you need to think about every possibility if you want your business to succeed. You should be prepared — even over-prepared — for anything. This includes the possibility of something happening to you.
While “what if’s” and “what then’s” can be daunting, a contingency plan will help your business weather any unforeseeable storms the future could bring, including what happens to your business should something happen to you. Be sure to consider safe estate-planning guidelines like meeting lawyers regularly, avoiding making amendments at home, and never using the internet for actual legal advice.
This is only the beginning of a very long list of things you need to consider as an aspiring entrepreneur. But it’s also the beginning of one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Being thoroughly prepared is the best thing you can do to protect your business from any liability, security or monetary issues. As a female entrepreneur (read: girl boss!), you will face many unexpected obstacles on your path. However, with adequate planning and hard work, there’s no doubt you will overcome them.
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.