How exciting, you started a business. You have a passion and a dream and ready to roll! Maybe you even have some customers already.
So before you become a huge overnight sensation, here are my top tips for your new business :
1) Start immediately on an invoicing program. Don’t do manual invoices it’s a nightmare to reconcile once you are busy and sending 100 invoices and need to figure out who owes you what.
2) Open a business account. Yes, keeping costs low are an issue and you don’t want any unnecessary expenses, but this will get your started on the right track to separate business and personal, and help a lot with tax compliance. Then use this account exclusively for business expenses. It’s a one stop record of your business in one place.
3) Keep every invoice. Yes, every single one. Preferably in a file per month, but if you can’t, then a box. You may not need them, but if you do, it could cost you more in tax.
4) Make sure you understand your tax compliance requirements. You may now need to consider things like provisional tax, financial statements, bookkeeping and travel logbooks. That can be very difficult to piece together a year later! Maybe you need a company, or can operate as a sole proprietor. Chat to an accountant or do your research.
5) Don’t miss tax deadlines. Penalties are a needles waste of your hard-earned cash.
6) You need a website, Facebook page and a business email. Obviously.
7) If you have the time, do things yourself. While you are starting you generally are the Business bookkeeper, marketer, strategist, social media fundi etc! It’s actually great to get a bit of experience in all this, before you outsource. It helps you understand what is involved before you hand it over and pay someone to do it for you. You may find you are really good at something, or really enjoy it, but more importantly, you understand what you are handing over and can make sure it’s still done properly.
8) If you are too busy to do something yourself, or it is a struggle, outsource it. Don’t waste hours of your billable time if you could pay someone a lower hourly rate than your own, to get it done quickly and accurately.
9) Consider a virtual assistant before hiring someone. This works really well for a lot of businesses and avoids all the Labour issues. Sometimes you find you do need an employee on site, but try a VA first and see.
10) Make sure your prices and packages are clear and simple to understand. Nothing alienates a new client quicker than confusing prices that need a lot of explaining and understanding. This is tricky but work on this on an ongoing basis. The quicker you can give customers the info they need to make a decision, the quicker you can make the sale.
Bonus) Remember your passion. Your dream and your vision. Don’t drown in all the admin and compliance and business-stuff. Remember to enjoy and to stop and appreciate why you started the business.