So your New Year’s resolution is to start your own business? Congratulations, you’re in good company. More than 6 million men and women joined the ranks of entrepreneurs and started their own businesses last year.
Business ownership can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You have the chance to make a product or offer a service that can change the world. As a tech guy, I’ve been thrilled to watch new opportunities explode over the past decade. Let’s take a look back at 2006. Just a decade ago, there was no such thing as tablet computers, iPhones, or Uber. Hardly anyone bought shoes or clothes online, Amazon was virtually unknown, and I’ll bet you had never heard of social media.
The good news is that we can expect even more opportunity in the next decade. But unfortunately, more than 80 percent of new businesses that start this year won’t live to see their fifth anniversary. Let’s talk about a few steps you can follow to increase your chances of survival.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH A GOOD ATTORNEY
Structuring your business correctly from the beginning can save you tons of headaches down the road. A reputable attorney can help you complete and file all of the necessary paperwork to get your new business started on the right foot.
BE NICE TO YOUR ACCOUNTANT
Do you have to collect sales tax? How often and on what days should you pay your employees? Should you give credit to your new clients? These questions and many more can be answered by your CPA. Personally, some of my favorite meetings each year are with my accountant (I know, I’m a nerd). I strongly suggest that you make friends with your accountant and put them on speed dial while you’re in the start-up phase of your business.
GET HELP WITH EQUIPMENT
As a technology service provider, I recommend finding a good IT company to help you choose the right software and equipment to get your business off the ground. More often than not, I’ve seen businesses spend their precious start-up capital on equipment that wouldn’t serve their needs or grow with them.
INCUBATORS ARE VERY VALUABLE
My final tip is a secret that many startups don’t know about. This tip is so important that I credit it with much of my company’s early success. Check out your local small business incubator. In addition to the tangible benefits of office space and furniture, the mentorship of the incubator’s staff and access to local business leaders were even more beneficial.