Before you can move forward, you need to adopt goals and a philosophy for your business. In other words, what do you want your business to achieve and what are the values you want to adopt to achieve those goals. You can start by asking yourself:
Why am I in business? What products or services am I going to sell? What customers am I serving and how will they benefit from my product or service. How successful do I want to be? What values will I adopt towards my customers and employees? You must be specific!
Once you have defined your goals and philosophy, it’s going to make it much easier for you to achieve what you have set out to do, because you will know what you want to achieve. Making the right decisions before your business opens its doors can mean the difference between success and failure.
Some other questions to ask at this stage are:
What is the best structure for my business? You should consider the pros and cons of trading as a sole trader, partnership, trust or company.
Do I have a suitable business plan? If you need to raise money a business plan will be essential to support an application for finance. Regardless, it will be essential for your planning in the first months and years of your business. A good business plan includes projections of income and outgoings, as well as a clear explanation of how and why your business will succeed.
Have I set up adequate reporting systems and procedures? These are essential because they enable you to monitor, control, and evaluate the performance of your business. They also help you delegate effectively and enable you to focus on the most important tasks, including planning.
Have I given enough thought to my retirement plans? It is never too early to start planning for retirement. Sooner, rather than later you will need to decide what resources to commit to your retirement planning. If you are self employed you may wish to set up one or more plans. If you plan to operate your business through a company you could consider the advantages of setting up a company plan.
Who should own my business? You might think the obvious answer is, ‘Me,’ but using an appropriate structure such as a family trust could greatly simplify your long-term exit and succession strategy. You may also consider share incentives to attract and retain staff.