Your first pillar, starts with a solid business plan. There are so many places to find information on how to complete this, so I am not going to go over them all again. A good business plan is the roadmap to your business. This should always be the first step in any business. A lot of businesses fail within the first two years for many reasons, you can reduce the possibility of failure with a good well thought out plan. The beauty of a business plan is that it is always changing. You will review and change your plan so many times even years after your success. Don’t spend time on this piece making it perfect. Your initial business plan, should be general, filled with initial ideas while still capturing the ideals, and mission of your new business. To get help with this piece, contact your local Small Business Association SBA for short. You can also Google “Business Plan Help” and you will find all kinds of online articles about how to do this.
The second pillar to your foundation is your business licensing. You want to be sure you have figured out the entity type of business you’re going to own. There are four basic business entities, Sole Proprietor, an LLC, a Corporation, and an S Corporation. Before you put anything else into your business you need to decide this part. If you are unsure of the differences between business structures, make sure to visit the Small Business Administration website, at www.SBA.gov for more information on each one. You also want to make sure you check with the village, city, county, and state governments where you live to be sure they don’t require any special licensing. They all have websites, but you can start with your city, or county clerk office. The licensing, or certifications they require will be based on the type of business you choose. So be sure to check with local municipalities to find out their requirements. Don’t forget to check with the Federal Government to be sure they have no special certification, or licensing requirements. A good business attorney can help you figure out all the paperwork for your business. Although you have to file for licensing based on your entity type, you can always change it later down the road if you need to. This step is an important step but also can be changed. So don’t get hung up on the entity type just pick the one that works best for you right now.
The third pillar for your business is going to be the systems, processes, and procedures. This is going to outline how you run your business. Your process will include everything from new customer intake, to handling email, and unhappy customers, benefits for employees, and much more. This is another roadmap on how to handle many situations that you might encounter in the day to day operations of your business. This helps make sure that every issue is handled the same way, and all of your employees are aware of how to handle these situations. This is also something that you will change, and redo regularly. You will never have this 100 % complete, so while you are putting these together you want to keep these a little general, you will want to leave a little room for improvements.
The fourth pillar is always going to be your support group. You want to be sure you are surrounded by family and friends who can support your vision. They don’t need to understand it but they need to be willing to support it. You can’t build your business on your own. You will need to rely on help, and support from people who matter to you. So make sure you have a good support system in place before you open the doors to your new business. A business coach is always a good idea.
These are all must haves for a solid business foundation. Without these four “pillars” of your business, you will never get it up and running. You will be constantly frustrated, and confused as to what to do, or where to turn. You can become overwhelmed very quickly if these things are not in place greatly increasing your risk of failing before you even have a chance to be successful. This takes a little time to get into place, don’t rush through it just to get it done. Your business is going to be successful in the end if you take the time in the beginning to put it together right. Just remember as a business owner you have to be willing to adapt and change, with the world of business. All of these steps are important but must have the ability to be changed as times, technologies, and economies change.