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Starting your own business can be intimidating. There appears to be so much to do that you feel overwhelmed. In fact, you may even decide against starting your own business. Fortunately, if you do just four things well, then the rest of the details fall into place. Think of these four things like the cornerstones of a building. Once you have your basic structure in place, you can then build on it.

shutterstock_282285497So, what are these four things?

  • First, create a great business plan.
  • Second, figure out how to hire employees.
  • Third, get a mentor to guide you.
  • Fourth, choose a legal entity to structure your business.

A great business plan

A business plan is a blueprint. With this blueprint in hand, you can manage your business, as well as inform partners and lenders about what you intend to do. By creating such a plan, rather than winging it, you are able to navigate many issues that come up.

One common misconception about a business plan is that it is static. A better way to think of it is as a living document. As you learn more about your business model and the marketplace, you will have to adjust your business plan.

Your business is a dynamic enterprise, constantly changing and growing. Your business plan is a way to stay on track with these changes. Reviewing and revising it will help you to get a better grasp on how to build your business.

Start with a staffing agency

Unless you plan on being a solopreneur, you will need staff. Doing everything yourself will only work if you plan to be a freelancer or consultant, but if you are developing a more complex business, you may not have enough time or talent to do everything yourself. If you did a good job with your business plan, you will have attracted enough funding from an investor or lender to pay for a few employees.

Fortunately, there is an elegant solution. Engage a staffing firm to do all the heavy lifting for you. Some companies have been around a long time. Kelly Services staffing has been around since 1946 and continues to act as a third-party employer, finding the right candidates for you and taking care of employee paperwork and payroll. Once your business is earning some solid revenue and you like the temporary worker, you have the option to offer them full-time employment.

Staffing is actually more complicated than it may first seem. There are numerous labour laws that you have to know about. Failure to comply may result in heavy fines. This is why companies have human resource departments. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. You have to be aware of legal issues like workplace safety, harassment, and discrimination. When it comes to compensation, you have to understand issues related to minimum wage, overtime pay, workers compensation, social security, Medicare, and federal tax withholdings.

Get a mentor

There is often a gap between theory and practice. Although you may be well-read on the various aspects of how to run your business, you will quickly come to notice that the real world does not quite match up with academic learning. A mentor is someone who has taken the journey before you and learned through experience what works and what doesn’t work. A mentor can give you just-in-time advice on what to do, help you with networking, and assist you with establishing work-life balance.

So, how do you find a mentor? Basically, the best way is to know what you want so that when you meet a mentor, he or she will know how to work with you. You can meet a mentor through networking or getting referrals. You may also be able to get a mentor through Score. Your mentor will ask about your business goals, your end vision, and what you think your business success will look like.

Create a suitable business entity

While most small business owners simply choose the default option of a sole proprietorship or a partnership for the sake of expediency, these basic type of entities have a fundamental problem. Since the business is not separated from its owners, their business income is reported on their personal tax returns. If they have business problems, they have unlimited liability on any debts the business incurred. A business mistake, which can happen because you are just starting out, will not only cost you the loss of your business, but you can also lose all your own personal possessions as well. So, it’s best to sit down with a lawyer and accountant and figure out what is the best form of limited liability protection to get for you business. You will have to reflect on whether you want to create a limited liability company or whether you want to create a corporation.

Starting your own business is an exciting idea and when you establish your business cornerstones, you will hit the ground running.