Whether you set out to be an entrepreneur or circumstances thrust it upon you, there are many things about running a business that are different than having a job. Do what you’re good at doing in the business. And don’t be afraid to get outside help.
Consider how to run and analyze the finances of your business. It’s a good use of time and resources to have professional help with the business books, records, and tax preparation. You’ve chosen to go into business in something that you enjoy. It’s the same for good accountants. “Accounting is a profession, not a hobby,” says Jason Watson, co-owner of Watson CPA Group. You may think that you can’t afford professional help, but often you can’t really afford to be without it. Jason observes that many business owners aren’t strong in the financial side of things and advises, “Find quality advice, pay for it, and keep more money in your pocket.”
Unless your expertise is in accounting, record keeping can be one of the biggest challenges as a business owner. Once you have professional help setting up your financial records properly and the right people in your venture are trained on maintaining them, regular meetings with your accounting professional can help you know what’s happening financially. Your business may be the only one where you see the inner workings. Your accountant, however, sees many businesses and can tell you if you’re financially on track, behind, or ahead of other businesses like yours.
Having good legal help available is very important. Many business owners are “accidental entrepreneurs”. They had an idea, pursued it, and now they have a business. Don’t assume you can download all the forms you need to create a business and be done. It’s good to have a lawyer you can call on and that person needs to be able to communicate with your accountant. You need to think about asset protection, complexity, and having a process to address details according to Chris Tremaroli, an attorney and CPA, of Tremaroli & Tremaroli, P.C.. Chris looks out for what he calls the “Parade of Horribles” or the many ways that different things can go wrong and endanger the business as well as the business owner’s future. These should be addressed in legal documents. There is business risk itself, such as what happens if the business loses money and can’t pay employees. Then there are personal issues, such as the business owner’s death, disability, or personal bankruptcy. Legal documents can also address the operations – how things will be maintained over time and who does what.
The exciting part about owning a business is seeing your idea take shape and start to make money. When your family, your employees, and their families depend on the business – and you – to provide a living, you owe it to all of these people to get help where needed.