Accountants and Advisers
Sage Advice For Upstart Small Business Owners
If you just started a small business or are thinking about it you know that there are books and books of advice out there. While some advice can be helpful too much can be overwhelming and can make you turn away completely. Still, it’s always a good idea to listen to the wisdom of those who went before and have learned the hard way so you don’t have to. Here are the top tips for small businesses. Use a business plan. Start by writing a detailed business plan that you can use throughout your startup and beyond.
The plan should include a statement of purpose or mission statement, which can help to guide you not only on startup but also all through the business. The plan also needs to detail the finances of the business. The finances of the business include all the expenses for the business along with the projected sales. Overheads such as rent, utilities and postage charges must all be considered as well as other key budget items such as advertising. Don’t forget about one-time fees for business startup, licenses and inspections.
Another cost for all businesses is the monthly telephone charges. Don’t skimp on insurance. Always get the full insurance coverage that you can get, even if the costs are slightly higher each month. This can help tremendously in keeping you covered for all types of events. Many small businesses have been wiped out entirely due to an accident or problem that was not covered by insurance. Then you will need to figure out the actual material costs for your product or service. This should include any labor necessary. Don’t assume that your labor is free. This is a mistake many new small business owners make. Instead, be sure that you account for your own salary as well as the salary of any other employees that will be required.
Once you have the costs figured out you can set your pricing accordingly. Be prepared to do some market research. Always check competitors pricing to ensure that you are in line. You don’t want to be priced too high so that nobody will purchase your product or service. Likewise, you can’t be priced so low that you lose money with each purchase. Instead, take all things into consideration and price your product or service realistically while allowing for some profit. Try to be prudent when it comes to the overheads for your business. For example, telephone service is one area that you may be able to lower the costs. There are many wholesale long distance providers where you can find good service with reasonable prices. When making the budget always allow a category for unexpected items.
These may come in the form of unexpected repairs or charges that you did not plan on. If you didn’t budget for these types of expenses the money will come right off the bottom line - profits. Instead, figure these expenses into the budget. Carry them over from month to month so that you have enough in the fund in the case of a problem. This also allows you some room for pricing changes in the event that some of your raw materials or labor prices go up. A good business plan can get you some much-needed dollars for your business. Investors must see a business plan before they will invest money in your business. Yet investors can provide the money you need to get the business going. Banks and loan officers also must review a business plan before granting a small business loan. If you are unsure about how to write a business plan get some help.
A professional can help write a great plan for you and may be well worth the initial expense. Look at other business plans for similar businesses to get an idea of what it should be like. Finally, you can tweak the business plan as needed. Use the business plan as a roadmap to the success of your business.
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