Starting a new business comes with a seemingly endless list of things to do, including researching the market, developing product, writing up a business plan, procuring funding, establishing a legal structure, applying for licenses and permits, obtaining insurance, and designing strategies for sales and for marketing. Opening financial accounts and establishing credit (and possibly securing a loan) also require a significant amount of time and research so that the right financial foundation is laid from the beginning. With such an extensive list of important tasks, it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially for those who are taking on all the work themselves. Some projects can be tackled after your business opens or as you go—but some cannot. Consider some important aspects of your new business that need to be perfect right from the start.
Choosing a good name from the beginning is important so that you can start creating brand recognition and awareness right away. But what makes a good name? While you don’t want to take forever deciding, the right name is so important it should not be rushed; a hastily-chosen or poorly-researched name could lead to regrets later and will not be easy to change. When choosing a name for your business, it may help to start by brainstorming some possibilities and then going over each preferred one, asking:
· How similar is this name to those of competitors?
· Does this name align well with the product or service? Is it too cryptic?
· Is this name too bland?
· Is this name easy to spell and remember?
· Is there a suitable domain name available?
The best way to get a good read on a name you are leaning toward is to get some feedback and opinions of people you trust. Friends, family members, colleagues, and mentors make a good focus group for trying out your proposed name so that you can discover any flaws before you start putting it everywhere.
Your logo will be with you for a long time, so you want to get it right. Online tools are available to help entrepreneurs design their own logo, but if you have no experience with this, you may want to consult a professional. If you have some creative ideas of your own, share them with friends and mentors to get feedback. When considering a logo, ask:
· Does this design stand out?
· Is it unique?
· Will it be remembered after only a glance?
· Is it too similar to a competitor’s logo?
· Is this design overly trendy right now?
· Does it look professional?
· Does the image align naturally with the product or service I sell?
· Do the colors grab attention and/or generate an emotional response?
· Can I fit this on all my marketing material?
The location you choose for your new business will be one of those make-or-break decisions in the first year. If your business operates from a physical store or office, its accessibility and affordability are vital things to consider. When scouting out some possibilities, consider these questions:
· Is this a good location to reach my target consumer?
· Does it have adequate parking and accessibility for clients and suppliers?
· Is the rent affordable?
· Is the surrounding area suitable and compatible with my services? Are there other businesses nearby that attract the same target consumers?
· Is it in an area with high foot traffic?
· Is the area secure?
· Is the physical space big enough for my company to grow? How soon am I likely to outgrow it?
While there are a lot of business processes that your new company is likely to take on, nothing is more important than a good system for managing the funds. While bookkeeping is not a fun or exciting activity to a lot of people, it is an important one and one that will end up wasting money and draining energy if it is not set up properly from the start. Having a detailed understanding of your expenses, tracking your cash flow, paying your bills on time, and collecting prompt payments from clients are tasks that keep your business solvent and need to be recorded accurately for both good financial management and accurate tax preparation. Fortunately, digital tools are widely available to help busy entrepreneurs get a reliable, secure, and standardized bookkeeping system started in very little time and for very little expense. When researching the right tools for business bookkeeping, some questions to ask of potential software:
· Is this program simple to learn and navigate, or will we need a lot of training?
· Is it convenient?
· Is it cloud-based?
· Is it optimized for mobile usage?
· Does it integrate with other products the business is adopting?
· Does it offer its own in-house IT services for updates, security, and maintenance?
· Is it affordable?
· What are the cancellation terms if I find something else later?
Checkeeper adds important features to an efficient bookkeeping system. Allowing you to create customized, professional checks (with logo) from the convenience of your home or office (or anywhere), Checkeeper is cloud-based, mobile-optimized, and compatible with many other accounting and payroll software products for businesses. A secure registry records and stores all check transactions, and a detailed check history can be downloaded or printed on demand for accurate, up-to-the-minute bookkeeping. Use Checkeeper as an add-on or as a stand-alone service to handle all your check printing and mailing needs.