Dreams of being your own boss and doing something you love may inspire you to start your own company, but to be successful in the long term, you need to build a strong foundation. As an entrepreneur, you need to know where you want to go and plan the steps you need to take to get there.
Here are the top five things to do after formally establishing your business:
1. Take care of the necessary organizational paperwork. Now that you’ve filed the articles with the State to establish your legal entity, you need to get the necessary documents in order to ensure you maintain your business status. As part of establishing your business, you are required to document certain aspects of your organization and day-to-day operations. It’s also important to document actions and decisions made during the course of the business. Failure to get the appropriate documents in place at the onset, and failure to maintain the documents during the course of your business, may leave you exposed to personal liability. You likely set up the legal entity of your business to shield yourself from personal liability; don’t inadvertently expose yourself by not getting the appropriate documents in place.
2. Get your contracts in order. You’ll want to get going right away, so I can understand the temptation to start working without formalized agreements, especially if you’re working with friends. Resist the urge and start out right. I’ve too often seen founders getting into trouble for failing to get the appropriate contracts in place. In most, if not all instances, the issues would have been avoided had there been an appropriate contract in place. From founder’s agreements to client and independent contractor agreements, you should prepare your legal documents at the onset to ensure you’re doing what you can to protect your business.
3. Establish goals and develop a roadmap to meet them. Every business should have quantifiable goals and measures of progress. Determine now what you want to accomplish in a given time frame and set interim benchmarks to check if you are on track. Decide how you will measure and track your progress, and take a hard look at your financials to get an idea of what goals are achievable and what expenses are worthwhile.
4.Protect your information and intellectual property. Your confidential information and intellectual property are vital to your company. It’s imperative that you have the appropriate language in contracts with employees, independent contractors and clients to protect your confidential information and your intellectual property. Other forms of intellectual property protection include trademarks, copyrights and patents.
5. Strategy and time management. Think about how you will grow your business and manage your time. There will not be enough time in the day, so you need to ensure you’re using your time efficiently and focusing on the right things. It’s important to understand your target market and figure out a game plan to build your business. Strategic partnerships are also a great option for accelerating growth.
The very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey is the time to put a strong legal framework in place. As your company grows and experiences both triumphs and challenges, this framework will help you address issues and avoid pitfalls. You don’t want to end up with a patchwork of legal solutions, so setting it up right in the first place is key.
DISCLAIMER The content in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should contact a qualified attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.