August 21st, 2017
Essential Tools For Your Startup
When you’re starting your own business, it’s easy to get lonely, or overwhelmed. Trust me, I’ve been there. But if your idea is solid and you build a solid foundation, entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be ugly. You are not alone. And while you’ll wish there was a manual to follow during this startup phase, you’ll be happy (in the end) that you found your own way. Here are a few resources that I found tremendously helpful when starting Stout Heart.
- A Business Plan
Your first steps during this time can be scary but your work will feel less uncertain if you have a plan that’s well thought out and includes financial details (and maybe you’re guessing about some of them but you’ve gotta start somewhere). This blueprint is something that will kickstart your adventure and is a practice you should renew with each year you’re in business. Unfortunately, no one can do this for you. BUT this great book can act as your guide through the planning process. Whether you’re funding your startup yourself, finding investors, or working with a bank, this is an essential exercise to undertake.
2. And speaking of financial details…
Unless you’re an accountant and an HR whiz, you’re going to need a hand in this department. Bookkeeping can have a serious learning curve and though Quickbooks has mixed reviews, we’ve found it to be robust and reliable. Quickbooks Online is a great tool for startups, as is JustWorks, which will help you handle your payroll, HR needs, and provide access to benefits for your employees. Trust me, you don’t want to try to keep track of employee start dates or past-due invoices without a helping hand!
3. A great team of professionals who’ve got your back
You can’t specialize in everything but you can find brilliant people who do. Find a lawyer who focuses on business. Many law firms offer startup packages for new businesses, discounting their rates for drafting formation papers and walking you through the basics of what you’ll need to know as a business owner. You’ll also want a CPA who will promise to teach you what you don’t know and has a bookkeeping staff on whom you can call when you’re stumped or need advice from.
These professionals can act as resources for moments when you’re out of your depth. Interview them before committing to work with them to make sure they’re the right fit for your business philosophy. If you live in the greater Boston area and need a recommendation, don’t hesitate to give us a shout– we’re happy to pass on the names of a few great folks we work with.
4. A Mentor
More than one if you’re lucky! It’s impossible to know what your greatest challenges will be but it helps to have someone who’s been there to talk to. Identify a few businesses that fall in line with your own philosophies and see the owners might be interested in meeting you for coffee. If you’re unsure of where to start, look up your local SCORE chapter and see if they can pair you with someone who can advise you as you work to get your shingle up.
5. Quality Startup Marketing
We know, we know. We’re totally biased. But this step is so important and so often neglected. Look at developing your startup marketing as “dressing for the job you want”. Your branding directly affects your credibility in the mind of the consumer. If you do it right, you’re setting yourself on the path for success. Do it well now so that you don’t have to do it again anytime soon. Stout Heart offers a startup marketing package that includes logo and brand guidelines, website, business cards, signage, and stationery. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to help
While business ownership can be a lot like what they say about the weather in New England, there’s no roller coaster more exciting or fulfilling. Keep your chin up and good luck out there!