You're just starting a new business. Besides the actual work, there is a whole infrastructure you need to build. This is the stuff that most folks don't think of when they have the moment of entrepreneurial inspiration. However, it is often this very infrastructure that can either get you started off on the right foot... or sink you before you've even started to swim.
While every situation is different, here are a few pieces of small business infrastructure that you should have in place from the get-go...
- Accounting. (Bet you didn't see that coming!) All self-serving purposes aside, accounting is your business' lifeblood. Ignore it out of the gate and you'll be sorry. Maybe not now, maybe not next month, but rest assured, if you neglect to put a good accounting process—and good accounting software—in place on Day 1, you're setting yourself up for failure.
- Entity Formation. If you're serious about making a go at this, you need to create a legal entity for your business. At the very least, forming an entity will protect you personally from anything that might happen with your work. It also has tax implications. All of the options (i.e., LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp, Partnership, etc.) can get a bit confusing, so we recommend seeking some advice (hello, lawyer!) and asking your peers what they have set up. BONUS TIP: Be sure you're aware of what entity formation tasks you need to complete on all governmental levels (i.e., federal, state, local).
- Banking. Commingling your personal and professional finances is usually a big no-no. Setting up a business bank accounting is one of the first things you should do when starting your business. And while it's important that the bank you opt to go with meets needs like mobile apps, there's something to be said for having a local branch when it comes to your business banking. If you can tee that up, stop in and ask to meet the banker in charge of business banking and introduce yourself. A personal relationship can go a long way...
- Tech. If things like email, a website, ecommerce, etc. are in your plans, you need to establish some tech infrastructure. And it's important to get these things in order early as they are often core to sales.
Obviously, this is just a partial list. What else do you recommend a new business owner get in order right from the get-go? Tweet it at us.