You've decided you want to start a business.
Congratulations! Welcome aboard!
Keep your hands, arms, feet, legs, and head in the cart- and get ready for the ride of your life.
This is one of the most exciting commitments you'll ever make. You're taking your career into your own hands and going for your goals. You're in for the rollercoaster of your life! It'll be the best experience you've ever had, but don't go it alone. You'll need a team.
Whether you're a solopreneur or a one-woman show, you will need a team to get you through it. You know what they say "team work makes the dream work", and I completely agree!
I want to mention 5 people you need to know before starting your business. These are people who you'll want to have in your pocket, ready to call and ready to help when you need it. These are the people who are going to help you start, nurture, and build your business – the right way.
Cough cough. Just kidding. This isn't a self promotion. I truly believe that if you're about to take on this new adventure, you need someone to give you guidance along the way. In my opinion, use a mentor who has walked the path that you want to walk. Choose someone who has done what you want to do. There are millions of qualified business owners, coaches and teachers out there who can provide guidance, but make sure they have done what you're trying to do. You want someone who can empathize with you when things get tough.. A mentor can give you an outside perspective. As an entrepreneur, you're going to invest a lot of emotion into your business, a mentor can give you that logical, unbiased perspective when you need it.
2. CPA or Accountant
How much do you know about taxes, financial planning, budgeting, P&Ls, balance sheets, expense reports? Because when I started my business, and for most of you, these will probably be like learning a foreign language. Sure, maybe in the first couple years of business when things are slow, you can do your own bookkeeping. But I highly recommend having someone you can trust on to call. Money is a huge part of a successful business, imagine that! And if you don't quite know what you're doing, then invest in someone who does. These partnerships are investments. They will help you in business for the long haul. It might cost a pretty penny upfront, but I promise you, it'll start you off with a better foundation to build a more profitable business.
Do you need to register as an S-corp or an LLC? Will you have employees or contractors? Are your contracts bullet-proof? These are the questions that can make or break your company. Lawsuits are not fun and they are not cheap. Invest in a lawyer to ensure you are taking the right steps early on. Be proactive, not reactive. Lawyers can be hired by the hour. You don't necessarily need one on retainer out the gate. But definitely have one you can call who specializes in the field you're in.
You're the expert in your business. You will also be the best salesman for your business. But, you can only market and network so much when running a new business. I don't think you need to hire a marketing agency to be successful. But I do think you need to have a thorough plan for how to consistently grow your brand awareness. This can be through social media, events, sponsorships, and so many other ways. Take the time to have a consultation with a marketing expert. Establish the best way to market your business.
For example, Sally makes cakes. She makes the absolute best cakes in Plano. But how will anybody ever find out about Sally's cakes if she doesn't market herself? And Sally is in the kitchen making those cakes all day, so how will she have the time to go out and market herself? But if Sally doesn't market herself, she won't have anybody to make cakes for. It's a catch 22. Have a marketing plan so you can always have new, ongoing business coming through your door.
Like I said, whether you're a solopreneur or a one-woman band – you will need a team. You may not need a part time employee or a contractor or an intern right now, but you might soon! So have your requirements and standards set. We want to be proactive, not reactive. You don't want to wait until the day that you're drowning in 75 hours of work and you need help immediately, so you have to hire someone off the road. Have a plan for how much workload you can manage and what the tipping point will be for when you start looking to bring someone on. Have your requirements set so you can hire someone experienced, professional and ready to work. You want to work with someone who is going to contribute to your business, not take away from it.
This sounds like a lot of people. But I promise you, these are the people who want your business to thrive. They will help you build a solid foundation for a successful business. Be proactive, protect your business, protect your finances, and protect your time. This journey is a rollercoaster, but it's a lot more fun when you have a team!
If you're in the Dallas area, I can refer you to a handful of incredible women who work with new businesses. But if you're not in the Dallas area (or even if you are) I'd encourage you to join my Facebook Group called From Side Hustle to CEO. There are tons of incredible women who are on the journey, just like you. Who are definitely a team and provide so much support and encouragement to one another. It's fantastic- and we'd love to have you!