by Stuart Crawford
Imagine this is you. You awake one morning to discover your small business has hit the big time, firing on all cylinders and demand for what you do seems to never end. How do you personally respond to the growing needs for your services?
Do you have the right team assembled? Are your policies, procedures and systems baked fully?
Do you have the right technology solutions in place allowing you to scale? If you did it right, you understand that running a successful business starts on the first day you open the doors.
Here is another candid question for you. Do you see your business as a success? Or better yet, how do you envision your future?
My own personal journey continues its evolution from the early days of IT Matters to now sharing how to run a successful IT business around the globe with Ulistic.
Throughout this time, I have learned one or two critical lessons along the way allowing my business to continue without too many hiccups. We can’t prevent every speed bump from happening, but speed bumps can be a blessing in disguise forcing us to slow down just a bit.
Here are a few suggestions I have:
- Get the right corporate structure in place from day one. Many small business owners start out as a sole proprietorship because it is easy and cheap. This ease of entry into the business world will become more costly as you grow. Consider setting up your business correctly by incorporating from day one. The right structure will allow you to shield yourself from creditors and provide a foundation to share dividends easily.
- Build your advisory team from the start. You must have the following people on your team. A great accountant is worth their weight in gold, saving you thousands in unnecessary taxes and can help you navigate the business minefield with ease. An amazing corporate attorney is a must; doing things right from day one will save you many hassles as you move forward. Who else should be on your team will depend on your business. Mentors, peers, partners and consultants are available to support your growth.
- Get the right technology advice from the start. Don’t sell yourself short here. IT firms are a dime a dozen, but finding the right IT advice and technology professional for your business can be compared to finding a needle in a haystack. Find a technology advisor who understands your business and the specific challenges you face. Research IT professionals who work with other firms like yours. The right technology consultant will know more about the role IT plays in your success versus a generalist who just knows how to fix computers.
- Understand the numbers. Many business owners are groping around in the dark thinking they have a profitable business. For some, that is so far from the reality. Understand your numbers from the minute you open the doors. Get QuickBooks or some other accounting solution and pay very close attention to the numbers and make immediate adjustments when needed. Many great businesses fail simply from a lack of basic understanding of the numbers.
Over the past ten years I have learned way too many lessons. The above items are simply just a few; there are many more that I just don’t have time to focus on in this short blog post.
The last tip I will leave you with is when you think you know everything about your business, stop and look around. There are so many more lessons to learn. Continue to challenge yourself each day, relax and have fun.