When starting a business, it can be a daunting task trying to figure out what you really need and what is unnecessary window dressing that, in the end, provides no added benefits to the bottom line. This is especially true if you’re bootstrapping your way to the top. Here are four things that every business needs to get started:
The first thing is permits and licenses. Depending on the type of business you have and where you are located, you may have to get a sellers permit, state or local business permits, tax permits, and more. It is important that you research what you need to get so that you don’t face fines and penalties later. Your local Chamber of Commerce can usually help.
Also, almost every type of business needs some type of insurance to help reduce risk. If you’re in a publishing-type business, or if you serve clients like an advisor or consultant, you should have some type of errors and omission insurance. If you run a shop, or a repair business — or go to people’s homes — then you should have some type of public liability insurance. And if you are a self-employed business owner, you should have business expenses insurance to ensure that your eligible fixed business expenses will still be met for as long as an entire year, should you be unable to work due to injury or sickness. The bottom line is that you don’t know what could possibly happen, and if you damage something or cause an error, you could be liable for thousands of dollars, if not more. Keep yourself safe and have insurance.
3. A Product or Medium
Next, you’ll typically need some type of product or medium. Your product could be something that you do or sell — for example an actual widget or some type of service. Alternatively, you could create a medium to do business on — for example, starting a website that is a medium for other things. Both big buckets can make a business successful, and you should choose the way to make money that is best suited to your needs.
While you need permits, insurance and decent product, if you don’t have customers (or an audience, following, etc. based upon your business type), you’re still going to fail. That means you need to make sure that there is a customer base and people want what you’re offering because, ultimately, that’s how you make money in business.
Photo Credits: Orin Zebest