The recommendations provided below have been developed by several successful entrepreneurs, with whom CharlotteSCORE has worked over the past year.
5 “Must Do’s” When Starting a New Business
- Connect with SCORE – wish I had done this sooner! An incredible resource for support with basically any question related to startup businesses.
- Take time to set up your accounting – This I learned the hard way. I started thinking my business would be just a hobby, and when it took off I never found the time to properly organize my accounting. It was another two years before I became an S Corp. I would recommend that as quickly as possible to organize how you will plan to report your taxes, how you will keep records such as mileage, your personal salary, and receipts etc.
- Never ever, EVER get caught without a business card. There is nothing that makes a small business look more illegitimate than writing your info down on a scrap of paper. Life is all about first impressions, so make sure you always have several professionally printed business cards on hand EVERYWHERE you go. No kidding, I have handed out tons of cards at social gatherings or places like the grocery store where you bump into someone needing your product.
- Establish a website and keep up with it.
- Acknowledge the things you could work on, but focus on the positive. I am constantly thinking of ways to improve my products and how my customers order them, but pointing out your company’s shortcomings to potential customers (even friends!), is not the best idea. As a startup, you are the face of your company and as the chief salesperson of your product, you want to project an air of excitement and an overall positive happy vibe to your customers. Your product may see improvements over the years (my packaging has completely changed!), but focus on showcasing the positive aspects of your product, and when you have a spare moment tackle the things you can improve on bit by bit.
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