To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
OK, MENTOR MAMA GAVE YOU FAIR WARNING!!!! She told you to stop reading. You don’t really want to hear what she is going to say about how to start a home business. Don’t worry if you promised to syndicate her. She will understand. Just hit ESCAPE now!
Why you are still reading is a mystery to me. You wanted to start a home business and you did. They said it would be easy and you would make lots of money. Now, a few things have probably occurred. Possibly, you are bringin’ in the bucks. HURRAH! Possibly, you haven’t made a dime. Awwww….. Or possibily you are somewhere in between. Yawn….. Whatever category you are in, STOP READING WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!
Mentor Mama suspected that you might be stubborn, so you only have yourself to blame when she bursts your little “start a home business bubble”. Never again will you be able to hide in all the hype, surround yourself with overinflated hopes and dreams, or build castles in the sky. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to be successful? Do I really want to be an entrepreneur?”
To be, or not to be: that is the question.
If you truly believe in your company and yourself, then you will build your castle with a firm foundation on the ground. You will embrace age-old principles of sound business practice that will never change, no matter how many new marketing systems the gurus create.
If you are serious about starting a home business or if you are already running a business and you want to grow and expand, maintaining your success long term, I repeat, maintaining your success long term, then it is critical to build a team. Not a downline, people! Get your heads out of marketing for a minute and think BUSINESS. You need to build a team of professionals who will help you develop a sound format and platform upon which you can build your marketing efforts.
If you would rather run your business as a home-hobby, no judgement here. Just forget everything that I have said. If you intend to rock your industry, then here is who you need on your All-Star Team.*
1. Attorney: Every small business needs legal advice. At the outset, when you start a home business, your attorney will discuss with you the form that your business will take. Depending on the size and structure of your business, she will help you select a business entity, such as a sole proprietorship, an S-Corp, an LLC, or a corporation, to name a few. Your attorney will discuss protection of your personal assets, income tax liability, and long term capital requirements. She will help you project the future needs of your company, as well, so that your choice of entity will make sense as you grow, with a minimum of tax consequences.
As you are operating your business, your attorney will advise you about copyright and trademark laws. She will keep you current on Federal Trade Commission regulations, conduct audits of your blog or website to assess compliance and draft contracts that will protect your interests as you enter into Joint Ventures.
If you are not up-to-date on all of these issues or if you are completely clueless, don’t worry! That is why God made attorneys, so you could market and they could handle all of this boring “blah, blah, blah” to start a home business! Don’t get confused by popular misconceptions. Your attorney is a valuable resource and a trusted advisor, whose recommendations will save you many thousands of dollars and massive stress over the course of your successful career.
2. Accountant: Whether you are planning to start a home business or you are already in full swing, it is critical to have an ongoing relationship with an excellent accountant. This is the best person to help you select an efficient accounting and tax system or provide those services for you. These systems will contribute to the success of your business by providing timely and accurate financial information. This information is every bit as important as split testing!
Your accountant should play an important role, along with your attorney, in discussing the tax implications in your choice of entity. He will also be able to advise you in detail about the tax deductions available to your business and whether it is advisable to take advantage of those deductions. Some deductions raise red flags that you might not want to fly. Your accountant is well equipped to point out the pros and cons.
This savvy part of your team will also keep you on track with timely tax filings, making sure that you avoid costly penalties and interest with both state and federal taxing authorities. Your accountant should also be able to advise you about other taxes that might be specific to your industry or state.
If you are doing your own bookkeeping and tax returns, ask yourself if this is the best and highest use of your time. Maybe it is when you first start a home business, but before long, you should be concentrating your efforts on what you do best: Running Your Company!
3. Business Insurance Agent: Every action that we take in this litigious world subjects us to risk. Did you know that your homeowners’ insurance will probably not cover your business assets? You know: the computer, printer, scanner, phone and office furniture that you deducted from your taxes as business expenses. What about the samples, the brochures, the inventory????? These can add up. Can you afford to suffer a loss of those items without insurance?
A reliable insurance agent can discuss options such as a rider to your homeowners’ policy, which is often very affordable. Such a policy may even cover lost income due to damage to your home as well as valuable papers, and accounts receivables.
Find a trustworthy agent. She will analyze your needs and provide you with a quote. Insurance is just a cost of doing business and a savvy entrepreneur who plans on long term success will bring a skilled Insurance Professional on board.
4. Banker: As in every industry, it is not what you know, but who you know. If you do not yet have a working relationship with one or two bankers, it is time to get on it. Every person who wants to start a home business needs a checking account and a credit card account. Your banker will help you design a set of accounts that will facilitate the flow of money into and out of your business. Hopefully, more in, than out!!!
Depending on your needs, the size of your business, and any joint ventures in which you are engaging, a money market account, a merchant account, or several of each could become necessary. If you do business online, you may also need an Internet payment processing system.
It is very helpful to have an ongoing relationship with a savvy banker, who knows your business. He can help you choose the most advantageous accounts, keep you updated as new products are introduced, waive fees, and facilitate transactions like loans. That is the power of personal relationships . . . . assuming that your finances are in good order, of course!
So, there you have it: Mentor Mama’s first round draft picks, the key players on the team of any responsible entrepreneur. If this post has depressed you (I told you not to read it!) and you are ready to quit because you “know” that you cannot afford this high powered executive team, stay tuned for my next blog post which will address “Affording an Executive Team”.
Do you HAVE to use these professionals? Why no! You may choose “to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” taking your chances and hoping for the best. Or you can step up “to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, END THEM.” It is your choice. But, if you go it alone, I am warning you right here and right now, it will be a matter of: Pay them now or pay them MORE later.
Please don’t make Mentor Mama say, “I told you so!”
*Disclaimer: This article is meant for information and discussion purposes only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all of the professionals that you might need in starting your business. Further, this article is not intended in any way to be construed as legal or other professional advice. For decisive information about any of these topics, seek out the appropriate professional, who can represent your specific needs.