June 16, 2014 | 3 minutes

Move Over Fido, these business resources are [wo]man’s best friend

Business Woman

By Nathan Strum

When an entrepreneur decides to make that big jump from having an idea to running a business, it can seem like a huge and impossible step. But when you have the right resources on your side, you can keep costs down and create a business that grows at your pace. Take some good advice from a person with years of experience and you will find that starting a business is more fun than you could have ever imagined.

Write a Business Plan

I have new entrepreneurs come to me on a regular basis asking me to help them with their virtual office needs, and I always ask to see their business plan. I cannot help you if you don’t know what path you are following. A business plan outlines what your business does, who the key people are, what kind of funding you need, what kind of staffing you need, and how much money you hope to make. If you don’t have a business plan, then you simply do not have a business.

Register Your Business Immediately

You may have a great business idea and a catchy name to go with it, but someone else overheard you discussing your idea at lunch one day, and now, they have already registered your business name for their use. It sounds like the plot of a bad movie, right? The truth is that you need to register your business name immediately if you want to protect your idea and move forward. You can get a DBA certificate from your local government office, but the best approach is to incorporate your business. An incorporated business is a separate legal entity that relieves you of all financial liability if someone should sue the business. Being incorporated also means that your business can get loans and transact business in its own name, which makes you look more professional.

Examine the Competition

Yes, you do care what the competition is up to. You care what kinds of products and services the competition offers, you care about the level of customer service the competition is known for, and you care deeply about finding as many ways as possible that your company differs from the competition. While you do not want to bring up the competition in your sales pitches or your advertising, you do want to make sure that your offering is more appealing to the marketplace than any other company in your industry.

Pull Your Financing Together

Your business plan tells you how much operating cash you need to get started and maintain operations. Now, all you have to do is go out and find that financing. I would recommend giving me a call first, as I can set you up with all of your virtual office needs that will give your company the appearance of being a professional organization, at a fraction of the cost of running real offices. This appearance is extremely important when you are talking to banks, investors, and potential business partners. The more you appear to have to offer, the more willing people will be to lend you money.

As someone who has been helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses for almost a decade now, I can tell you that the foundation of a good startup always consists of good planning and strong dedication. If you are prepared to put in the preliminary work and dedicate yourself to your business’ success, then you will find that pot of gold at the end of the corporate rainbow.

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