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Legal Issues You Can’t Afford to Ignore When Starting Your Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Legal Issues|Legal Issues You Can't Afford to Ignore When Starting Your BusinessStarting a business can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider, and you want to ensure that everything is taken care of before you get started. One thing that often gets overlooked is legal issues.

Legal concerns can be hard to navigate, and not understanding your rights could lead to major financial losses down the road. In this blog post, you’ll learn some of the most common legal issues businesses face when starting up and their solutions!

Have a Business Name

If you don’t have a business name, it can be difficult to get bank accounts or file your LLC. You need both the entity and its operation name for this step!

Register Your Business

You also want to register with the IRS as soon as possible to comply with any tax laws. The faster you do this, the less likely you are to run into any legal issues.

Signing Employment Agreements

If you plan on hiring employees, it is important that they sign an employment agreement before starting work. Also, make sure not to discriminate in your company’s hiring policies!

On the other hand, it’s essential to have multiple Labor Law Posters within the office to actively educate your employees on the rules and regulations.

Have a Lawyer

It is advisable that every business have a lawyer to create their operating agreements because this sets up the rules for how the company will run.

Legal Operations Every Business Needs

It is vital to understand the legal issues and protections you need when starting a business. There are numerous laws for taxes, labor, environmental protection, zoning, and many more that may not be obvious but can impact your business significantly if you don’t take care of them upfront.

Some essential items include incorporation and registration, trademarking (trademarking can also take care of website domain name registration), intellectual property, licensing to conduct business, and others.

Incorporate Your Company

Incorporating your company will protect it from creditors and other debts after bankruptcy or dissolution. However, it’s important to note that a sole proprietorship is not an incorporated entity which means if you do not incorporate, then the risks are higher.

Labor law

If you have employees, it is essential to consider labor law which states that an employer must pay minimum wage and overtime as appropriate for hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. It’s also mandatory by law to put together and maintain a set of workplace rules.

Other laws may apply depending on the type of business.

Know Your Location

It’s important to know the zoning for your business location. Some areas may not allow certain types of businesses or could be subject to other limitations that you should consider when deciding on a space.

Trademarks

Trademarks can protect against infringement and also serve as an indicator in interstate commerce, which is why it’s so important that you trademark your business name and domain.

License

A license is required to operate various businesses in the U.S., including selling alcohol, using toxic materials, or handling animals. Licenses may be granted by federal agencies like the FDA but also at the state level for certain activities as well.

The number one thing you can do before starting a business is to gather the necessary legal documents and understand what’s required. This will help you save time, money, and headaches in the future.

To make sure that you don’t get in trouble with the law, take a look at this list of legal issues to watch out for when starting your business. Do some research into what these things are and how they can affect your company, so you know what to be on guard for. Don’t let ignorance or lack of information put you and your business in jeopardy!

How to Build Your First Balance Sheet as a Startup?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Balance Sheet|How to Build Your First Balance Sheet as a Startup?If there is one area of your startup that requires maximum attention to detail, it is the financial aspect. No successful business attained the height it has reached by neglecting the details of its financial activity.

Having a detailed financial system in place helps to increase transparency and accountability within the business environment. It also helps to know whether there is a loss or profit and the reasons for such. Most importantly, a detailed report of your startup’s financial activity over a definite period will come in handy when reaching out to investors.

One of three documents that your startup has to draw up every year is its balance sheet. Here, we shall be examining a balance sheet, what it includes, and how to build your first as a startup. Let’s start with what a balance sheet is and what it should include.

A balance sheet is an accounting document where both the credit and debit sides are balanced.

What Should Be On A Startup Balance Sheet

A balance sheet is a comprehensive financial document that examines all the assets, liabilities, and shareholder’s equity that belongs to a startup and how they were used within a financial period.

It provides an analysis of credits and debits and what every penny was used to achieve. If carefully drafted, it is expected that both ends of the balance sheet, which are the debit and credit sides, should be balanced after every calculation has been made.

From the above, you can see that there are three main components of a startup’s balance sheet, and they include:

Assets

Assets here can be current or non-current assets, and they include everything that the startup owns within a given period. Assets can be tangible, which refers to those assets that can be seen and touched like properties.

A startup can also have intangible assets that you cannot feel or touch, like goodwill. Every business should identify its assets and why these assets were obtained.

Liabilities

While assets are those things a company owns, liabilities are those things a company owes. Liabilities can also be current or non-current liabilities. Startups need to know what they have as assets and what their liabilities include.

Shareholder’s equity

Shareholder’s equity refers to what is left when a company has paid off its liabilities. It is the remainder of assets after liabilities have been settled.

A well-drafted balance sheet should have these three concepts captured accurately in it.

When A Balance Sheet Is Not Balanced

The whole essence of a balance sheet is that the debit and credit sides should be balanced at the end of every calculation. However, there are instances where after all the entries, the balance sheet won’t be balanced.

You may notice an imbalance after every entry has been inputted, and you are wondering what is the cause.

Some of the factors that can be responsible for a balance sheet not being balanced include:

  • Incorrect or incomplete data
  • Wrongly entered details
  • Mistakes in exchange rates
  • Mistakes in inventory
  • Wrong calculations

After imputing the details, review the sheet again.

Building Your First Balance Sheet as a Startup

As a business owner, you don’t have to wait until you own a big business before building your balance sheet. Immediately after your startup launches, you should start putting steps in place to draw up a balance sheet.

Your first balance sheet may not be as perfect as subsequent ones. It is possible that, in the end, the balance sheet may not be balanced. Instead of getting worried, you can review it to check if any of the factors listed above are responsible for why it isn’t balanced.

To build a perfect first balance sheet as a startup, here are some vital steps to follow:

Set a report date and range

A balance sheet is not an indefinite document. Like every other accounting document, it is expected to cover a specific range. So, your first step to building a balance sheet for your startup is to set a report date and range.

Conventionally, a balance sheet is to be drawn up every year. However, some businesses have chosen to make theirs after every quarter or the first half of the year. Regardless of which of these options you are going for, setting a report date and range is necessary.

A good example of this is to have a balance sheet from 1st January 2021 to 30th June 2021.

Identify your assets and liabilities

After you have set a report date and range, the next step is to identify your assets and liabilities. It is impossible to build a balance sheet when you don’t have a comprehensive idea of what you own and owe.

Determine your shareholder’s equity

As earlier pointed out, your shareholder’s equity is what is left after you just have subtracted what you owe from what you own. If you can successfully identify your assets and liabilities, determining your shareholder’s equity will become easy.
Worthy of note is assets and liabilities identified, and shareholder’s equity determined must be within the range fixed when starting this process.

Carefully enter the details

All the steps that have been discussed above are geared towards ensuring you have the correct statistics. With all these statistics at your disposal, the next step is to enter the details into the sheet. In doing this, you have to ensure they are correctly entered.

Pay attention to all the data to be sure they are complete and reflect the current state of the startup. Avoid mistakes in exchange rates and inventories.

Conclusion

The process of building your first balance sheet as a startup is not as complicated as you might have thought it to be. Provided you understand a balance sheet, the purpose it serves and can follow through on the steps provided above, you can create one in no time.

However, where it appears that after several trials, you’re not getting the right results, you can seek the guidance of a financial expert to guide you through the process. You can also surf the internet for more information from professionals on building a balance sheet.

References
CFI: What is a Financial System?
HBS: HOW TO PREPARE A BALANCE SHEET: 5 STEPS FOR BEGINNERS
Wallstreet Mojo: Difference Between Current and Non-Current Assets
Dummies: Current and Noncurrent Liabilities on the Balance Sheet
Chron: How to Review an Unbalanced Balance Sheet

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How to Start Up Your Own Healthcare Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Healthcare Business|How to Start Up Your Own Healthcare BusinessIt can be easier said than done to start your own business; however, if you are interested in the healthcare sector, it could be a beneficial career option that you may never have thought about before. Healthcare is always in demand, especially in the current day and age, in which the ever-growing elderly population will need more medical services. With this in mind, it is certainly an avenue to consider for the long term. As with any business, doing your research will help iron out any obstacles initially and, hopefully, sets you up for success.

In this guide, we are going to look at how you can start your own healthcare business:

1. Choose your specialty

There are many different routes within healthcare; therefore, it is important to discover which most interests you and where your specialties lie. First, consider what you are most passionate about and can see yourself doing daily. From here, then you will need to contemplate whether or not you would prefer to start a business from scratch or own a franchise.

There are certainly pros and cons to both; therefore, it will be based on how much responsibility you would like and whether you would like to try a new idea or develop someone else’s brand.

2. Know which qualifications you need

When starting out in healthcare, you need to prove that you have the relevant knowledge under your belt to prove that you are a trustworthy and reliable professional. As healthcare is based on the wellbeing of others who may be putting their life in your hands, the relevant qualifications are essential. If, however, you do not have any practical experience, you could hire staff who do. This is particularly important if you are planning on running a franchise, as your responsibilities will be mainly management and administration-based instead of dealing with the public. On the other hand, if you are planning on running a business single-handedly, the relevant qualifications are typically vital in this industry.

3. Get the right funding

When it comes to running a healthcare business, it’s important to secure the right funding as a start-up company. This industry can be extremely costly when it comes to securing education, premises, equipment, marketing, and staff to keep up with the huge demands. Start-up loans would be the most advisable option as they are easier to secure as a brand-new business; however, you could even start a crowdfunding page that your friends, family, and acquaintances can donate.

Do be aware that you will not start earning much profit with any business immediately, so you may need a financial buffer to get you through the first couple of months. The Accounts Receivable component is an option to bridge the gap between each payment, so you have enough income to keep the business ticking over.

4. Do not forget about marketing

While healthcare is a field that is always in demand, it does not necessarily mean it is a given you’ll secure customers. Since individuals are placing their health and wellbeing in your hands, they need to ensure that it is a dependable company that has their best interests at heart. However, unless you have physically proven your skills, it is impossible to show potential customers exactly what to expect from you without marketing. Digital marketing now allows businesses to branch out to customers across the world almost instantly and creates a brand image that you are proud to show off to the world.

However, if you do not have a background in digital marketing, it can be hard to quickly get to grips with the various tools, platforms, and strategies required for the best chance of success. Check this Hip Agency’s blog content about dental marketing as an example to understand how to best market your healthcare business niche to your target audience.

5. Create a business plan

Before your idea of your business can become a reality, you will need to create a business plan. It is often the first starting point of any business that should indicate your plans and overall concept. Then, various steps need to be followed, and the document should include:

  • Executive summary – An explanation of the basic premise of your company.
  • Company description – The goals of your business and reasoning for starting up the company.
  • Services – A detailed list of the range of services on offer.
  • Marketing proposal – The strategies and methods that will be used to market your business and how your target audience will find you.
  • Management proposal – Describe the ownership and management of the business.
  • Operational proposal – Explain the operations of the business (either run as a physical business or online), the employees working for you, and your role within the company.
  • Financial proposal – The funding methods used to finance your business and break down the individual costs.
  • Long-term plan – Hoe you expect your business to grow in the next 5-10 years.

6. Register with the state

Healthcare is one of the few businesses that require you to register with the state. Your business will need to meet the exact state requirements and legalities before you can begin trading. There may be different rules and regulations in place depending on which state you live in; therefore, you may need to carry out in-depth research to discover what is expected and the laws that need to be abided by.

7. Hire great staff

If you believe you are going to need a team of staff to help conduct your business, you must take the time to employ staff that will give your business the best chance of success. Ultimately, your employees are the face of your brand and will reflect your business’ public persona, so you must select candidates wisely.

During the hiring process, ensure you thoroughly read through resumes and conduct background checks on each individual. This may mean scrolling through their social media platforms and ensuring they do not have a criminal record. This should help prevent legal action should an employee cause a serious unlawful issue while on duty.

These Tips will Help you to Start your Own Restaurant

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Start a Restaurant|These Tips will Help you to Start your Own RestaurantIf you want to take the plunge and start your own restaurant, then you are certainly not alone. So many people want to take things to that next level, but at the end of the day, you also need to face the facts. Only one out of three businesses make it past their first birthday, but there are things that you can do to ensure that your restaurant business is a success in every way.

Don’t Do it for Vanity

You probably wouldn’t choose to buy a football club because you love the game. Why would you do the same for your business? Make sure that you have a genuine desire when it comes to starting your own restaurant and also make sure that you love what you do. If you can do this, then you’ll soon find that you are able to have the best time in your business venture.

Do your Homework

Everyone knows that the secret to running a great restaurant is understanding your customers. You need to make sure that you do your research and that you also make sure that the location is good too. Would you feel more comfortable running a fine-dining establishment or would you much prefer to keep it casual? You also need to make sure that you understand your strengths and weaknesses too. Having a plan is crucial if you want your business to stand out from the rest.

Choose the Right Chef

If you cannot cook, or if you do not want to be working behind the scenes then you need to make sure that you choose the right chef. Your best investment will always be in your chef, so if you are yet to get this asset sorted, then make sure that you take the time to do this. You need to find someone who can bring someone back time and time again, not to mention that you also need to choose someone who cares as much about your business as you do.

Put Someone in Charge

You have to trust in your brigade. After all, you’re paying them, so you need them to develop and then evolve into staff who are going to keep on pushing your restaurant forward. You also need to be the boss and you need to take responsibility where possible. You have to know what’s happening in every single area of your business too. Sure, you don’t want to be a control freak, and you also need to try and listen to the opinions of your staff. This will help you to act accordingly and it will make you a better leader.

Communication is Key

The key to starting a restaurant that’s successful also comes down to communication. You have to make sure that your management are talking to your head chefs, and that they are passing on the message well. That being said, it doesn’t stop there. You also need to make sure that your staff are working as a team with the customers. They are the ones who are paying your wages, so make sure that you do your part and that you treat them well. If you can, look into the SCHADS industry award too, if you‘re hiring a team.

Get your Menu Right

Long menus tend to lead to a lot of confusion. They will have your chefs running around, not knowing what to do as well. To make things even worse, you may find that you have customers walking in or walking out. Start with a simple menu if you can, and also make sure that the produce you are dealing with is high in quality to begin with.

Quality Control

Quality is essential, and so is consistency. You need to make sure that everything that goes out, is the best it can be. There’s absolutely no excuse for having sloppy plates of food lying around in your kitchen. If you know that it is not good enough, then don’t even think about serving it. If you do, then you may find that you end up ruining your reputation, and this is the last thing that you need.

Clean and Organised

You have to make sure that you keep your restaurant clean and organised. If you don’t run an organised kitchen then you may find that things become much more difficult. You have to make sure that there is a place for everything and that you put in the work to ensure that you monitor the process you have. As things expand, you may need to tweak things to keep everything nice and organised.

15 Essentials for Your Startup to Succeed

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Startup|15 Essentials for Your Startup to SucceedBuilding your startup is life-changing and can enable you to fulfill your dreams. It can free you from an unfulfilling job and give you more flexibility in life both at work and with your family. However, it is no walk in the park. Starting a business and growing it is even more challenging. You need the courage, determination, and enthusiasm to overcome obstacles, persevere during hard times, and stick it out in the long run. The following essentials can help you drive your startup to success.

Be committed

If you’re a jack of all trades, you will be a master of none, and you are likely to set yourself out for failure. For your startup to be successful in the long term, it needs your undivided attention. You can start other businesses in your lifetime, but do it one at a time. Prepare to sacrifice a lot of your time, money, and energy for the success of your business. Choose a business idea that you’re ready to devote your time to.

Join organizations

Starting a business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of isolating yourself, join the right organizations and associations in your industry. Here, you can make new connections and partnerships with like-minded business people through networking. The right organizations aim at empowering entrepreneurs like you by giving you skills that provide a stable footing in the business world. Be sure to attend seminars, conferences, networking events, and workshops. Since there are many organizations out there, choose the best fit that will be beneficial to you.

Create an outstanding team

No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to build a successful business alone. Consider working with friends and family for a start as you increase capital to invest in a professional team. Employees bring something new to the table, like their skills and ideas, which are essential to the success of your startup. They also take a lot of work off your hands, giving you ample time to concentrate on core business functions. Consider outsourcing for repetitive tasks, form a board of directors to advise you, and create a remote team if you don’t have enough office space.

Set up a professional website

Having an engaging online presence is one of the business’s unspoken rites of passage today. Research shows that most consumers first go online searching for the products/services they need before purchasing offline. Work with a professional web design company to create a user-friendly business website. Ensure you include the necessary information to attract the right customers and ultimately boost conversion rates. Additionally, create optimized content that engages with your target audience and helps them find you easily. A highly-rated website signals to consumers that you are trustworthy and builds confidence in your brand.

Timing is everything

Timing is essential when picking the optimal moment to launch your startup and deciding to make exceptional moves such as expansion. Determine when it’s best to launch your start-up by looking into what’s going on in your personal life; if you’re going to move places or get a baby, it might not be the best time. Ensure you understand the flows and ebbs of your industry and determine if the odds are to your advantage with things like competition and demand for your product.

Have a clean budget

One of the common mistakes that could set you up for failure real quick is failing to plan for your capital. Even though you have a lot of savings and additional funds from financial institutions, the expenses of a startup can drain them fast. Create a detailed budget that ensures your capital is sustainable until your startup is stable and bringing in a substantial profit. Remember that you have personal needs that need to be taken care of other than the startup. Keep aside funds for your basic needs and an emergency fund in case of unexpected business expenses.

Know your competition

Every type of business has competition, and you need to launch your startup knowing how to satisfy your consumers’ needs. Understanding how your competitors operate can help you create a more competitive business by filling a niche and coming up with better strategies. If you don’t have competition, then the business idea may not be a real need in the market. Research on your competition even as you grow your business to stay ahead in the industry.

Business plan

A business is not only essential when you’re seeking investors, but also gives you a blueprint of your goals, strategies, and destination. A business plan is the one thing you shouldn’t miss when building a startup; it’s where you go back to measure your progress and compare your outcomes with initial goals. When you don’t meet those goals, you can determine where there’s a problem and change strategies. It also motivates and keeps you and your team on the same page by specifying objectives and timelines to achieve particular goals.

Be curious and creative

When you’re an entrepreneur, curiosity and creativity are as essential as intelligence. Curiosity enables you to discover niches in the market that aren’t being satisfied and consumers’ sentiments regarding changes they’d like and their thoughts on particular products. Curiosity also enables you to learn from your competition and be better. Creativity helps you develop ideas that can provide solutions to problems in the market and boost success for your startup.

Effective communication

Without effective communication, your startup can’t be successful; a communication breakdown can cause your business to go under. As an entrepreneur, you have a responsibility to communicate clearly and effectively with employees, investors, potential, and existing customers. However, if one side isn’t listening or loses interest, this is the beginning of failure.

Communicate in a way that makes the other party listen by being confident, informative, and attentive. Effective communication, apart from motivating employees, can earn you long-term connections with the networks you build.

Have a daring vision

A vision gives you the much-needed energy you need to embark on your entrepreneurship journey. Not everyone who builds a startup becomes successful, but defining and selling your business’s vision can get you there. The same way you present other ideas is the same way you should share your vision. Be daring, realistic, and enthusiastic about it. A daring vision signals your passion for what you do and pushes you to explore, challenge, insist, and have the willpower to succeed even when the road gets bumpy.

Flexibility

One problem that many entrepreneurs face when launching a startup is the lack of flexibility to modify or rebuild the entire business plan. When you’ve been consistent, put in a lot of effort, and time into your startup, it can be challenging to accept that your idea just isn’t working, and it’s time to make changes.

As you begin this venture, keep an eye out for processes such as marketing, production, operations, and branding that need tweaks and alterations to make your business successful. It’s okay to immerse your energy in one business model, but be flexible enough to make changes in the strategies and methods you use to achieve success.

Be resilient

Even with a well-thought-out business plan, research, capital, creativity, and capital, a startup will fail if you aren’t resilient in the face of adversity. Be ready to put in the work, do the heavy lifting, and get your hands dirty instead of waiting on employees to do it for you. Every business experiences setbacks. But to be successful, you must adapt, pick yourself up, and dust off the frustration. Build resilience by staying calm when there are unforeseen challenges, treating yourself kindly, and seeing this as an opportunity for growth.

Be knowledgeable about the law

One of the things that can lead to failure or immediate closure of your business startup is going contrary to the law. Even while working with a lawyer or attorney, make a point of researching laws that affect your business. Avoid lawsuits that can cost your livelihood by keeping up with taxes, insurance, business registrations, permits, and inspections. Take care of your customers by giving quality service and legit products. Remember to treat your employees as assets to the business; ensure their safety by securing the place and insure them in case of any accidents.

Exercise discipline

Being disciplined isn’t all about using funds as you should. Exercising discipline has to do with many parts of your business, such as being timely and following through with plans that propel you to success. Being an entrepreneur comes with freedom from strict deadlines from bosses; you can clock in and leave as you please or consume products meant for sale. However, failure to exercise discipline is setting yourself up on a fast road to failure. Be an example to your employees to run a successful startup.

Bottom line

Launching your startup can be full of exciting highs and frustrating lows, but you need to be resilient and follow through with your business plan. However, avoid startup failure by being flexible enough to make necessary changes when necessary. Go into this venture with enough information from research, know your competition, and stay committed to your goals. Build an effective team, know the laws in business, exercise discipline, and most importantly, have a daring vision.