When you get ready to start a business, it’s important to check out some business tips. Advice from someone who has been in your shoes in the past is extremely valuable because it can help you avoid major problems and ensure that you’re building your business on the right foundation and growing it in the right direction.
Here are a few small business tips to help you get started on your dream of running your own business.
Probably the most important piece of small business advice you could ever receive is to make sure that you have your paperwork in order. Many people run businesses out of their homes without filing any paperwork. Not only is this against the law, but it could cause you anything from minor headaches to tax evasion charges, in addition to a possible loss of all the time, efforts and hard work you put into your business.
Every area has different rules for the type of paperwork you need. In most cases a sole proprietorship doesn’t need any official paperwork other than a license for the city they work in. It doesn’t hurt to get a fictitious business name or “doing business as” name in your county if you want to make sure no one else uses your business name.
You may want to consider forming an LLC at the state level however, especially if you work in a type of business that could carry some legal risks for you. That LLC, or limited liability company, designation could protect your personal possessions from any lawsuits a client may file against you for any reason.
No matter which level of paperwork you decide to file in terms of creating your business, it’s essential that you keep good records of your income and expenses. Use a spreadsheet program on your computer, keep receipts of everything you purchase, and keep accurate records of how much money you earn. Uncle Sam will hold you accountable for every penny.
At the top of the list of home based business tips is making sure that you create a space to work in and set regular hours. Don’t feel like you have to be chained to your desk at all times, but teach your family to respect your business hours. Also don’t forget to write off anything that can be written off, whether it’s a new printer or a new hard drive for your computer.
Make sure that you measure your home office space accurately and then write off a percentage of your utilities on your taxes as a business expense. The percentage is calculated by what percentage of your home’s square footage is your office. Consult with a tax expert to learn exactly what you need to do in this regard.
If you’re looking for tips for your internet business, probably the most important thing you can do is make sure that your customers can find you. Keep in mind that websites that have been up longer will rank higher in the search engines (assuming that these sites have something of value to add to their consumers), so you won’t get traffic overnight. It takes time to build up traffic.
Spend some time (and money depending on your strategy) on marketing your site (products and/or services) to help your customers find you. This could include both offline and online marketing approaches, such as search engine optimization and just plain word of mouth. But don’t forget about social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, among other platforms. These social media sites could bring traffic to your site in ways you could probably never reach otherwise.
If all or most of these tips sound too overwhelming to you, understand that you can outsource almost anything for a reasonably low price. Especially the tasks that you’re not good at or the ones you just don’t have time for. For instance, Elance.com is one good example of a “business tool” you could use to find someone to perform almost any business related task you could think of. This outsourcing (not necessarily offshoring) will certainly help you save your valuable time, which will allow you to focus on what you do best to build and grow your business.
If you follow these business tips and other bits of business help, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful business.