3 Crucial Steps to Take Before Starting a Business

By on February 7, 2014

businessSo, you want to start a business? Awesome. I love that idea.

As a somewhat accidental small business owner myself, I love hearing about new business ideas. I especially love it when people decide to break free of traditional societal norms to create something all their own.

It takes courage, guts, and a ridiculous amount of late nights to create a successful, new business, and I commend anyone who is interested in going down that path.

While I haven’t been in business long, I have learned a thing or two along the way.

Here are my top three tips below:

1. Have a Plan

Some businesses, like mine, grow organically over time. I was one of those people who thought they’d always be looking for a job, when really a small business was blossoming without me even realizing it. Still, there are so many things I would have done differently. I would have had a better plan, an idea of where I wanted to head in the future. It wasn’t until my side business income started overtaking my 9-5 income that I realized becoming self-employed was a possibility. Had I started the business from scratch, a business plan from the beginning (as opposed to the middle) would have been integral.

2. Have An Accountant (Or Really Good Software)

When I switched to self-employment a few weeks ago, I had so many questions about the nuts and bolts of my business finances. I found the answers on the Internet to be incredibly confusing, and eventually, I knew I needed the help of an accountant. Perhaps you are savvier than I am when it comes to business finances, and if so, that’s great. The trick, whether you have an accountant or not, is to have an excellent way of tracking your expenses. I use FreshBooks, but there are many other types of software out there that do something similar. It really helps me to check my expenses and income at the end of each month and to keep good records, just so that I am ready when it comes time for those quarterly tax payments.

3. Have Much Needed Support

Starting a business, whether your goals are big or small, is no easy undertaking. Many people, myself included, had to start their businesses while tending to other work responsibilities. Those early days of business creation can be exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. The truth is that no matter how much you love what you do, you’re going to have days where you just want to give up.

Maybe you had a tough client or your lost a great contract. Either way, there will be highs and lows just like there are when you work a traditional 9-5. That’s where a support system comes in. My business and my goals for self-employment would have been impossible to reach without my husband cheering me along the way. When I told him I wanted to work for myself, he never questioned it and loved the idea right away. He could have easily convinced me to seek out a 9-5, which would have been much more financially stable. Instead, he believed in me and gave me a good kick in the pants on days where I really needed motivation to keep going. I encourage everyone to seek out support. It could mean success or failure in your venture.

What are some other steps new business owners should take before getting started?

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com. Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.

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