Checklist: 5 Top Mistakes Every Small Business Owner Make When Starting a Business

Checklist: 5 Top Mistakes Every Small Business Owner Make When Starting a Business

Checklist: 5 Top Mistakes Every Small Business Owner Make When Starting a Business

If you start jotting down the reasons for starting a business, you would end up with a pretty big list. With so many success stories in and around you, it is not difficult to get carried away as well. But for every business that succeeds, there are lot more that fail. There is absolutely no harm in learning from those mistakes and ensure you don’t do the same. The following are the top mistakes that small business owners make.

  • Right Partner

Selecting the right partner for your venture is extremely crucial for its success. There is nothing wrong in choosing friends and family as partners, it does come at cost. When it comes to taking tough decisions for the business, there might be lots of blurred lines. Thus, experts suggest to avoid doing business with friends and family members.

Decisions is not the only aspect of it though. It might lead to loss of income and also lower the morale levels in the work environment. These are some overheads you don’t want to be fighting off early in your business.

  • Patents and stuffs

Most of us feel, getting patent is a far-off situation, but in reality, it is not. Getting patents give you and your idea much needed immunity from anyone else claiming it to be their idea. Patents and trademarks prevent you from long and lengthy court room battles that we witness so often these days. It is not an uncommon site to see giant corporations clashing over rights.

To keep you focus on better products and improving your business, it is essential to have your ideas patented.

  • Be Careful with whom you give controls

If you are someone who owns business entity as sole proprietor or is planning to do so, be careful with your funds. Or if you are someone who deal with the money flowing in and out of the organization, it applies to you as well. Handing over the controls to the wrong person can lead to fraudulent activities. Which not only would impact you financially but also tarnish your image. No matter how good the decision of handing control to expert sounds, no one can take better care of your business than you.

  • Expose yourself to minimal risk possible

For a business to grow, funding is an essential part. Without the involvement of investors and partners, chances of you stagnating are pretty high. It is not easy to start approaching people for investments and you will come across several roadblocks. But keep in mind not to expose any sorts of risk to your capital, structure of your business, its working culture or processes followed. One of the easiest way is to reach out to leaders in your space of business. This way you get the capital that you need along with contacts and skill sets as well.

  • Waiting for the perfect product

It is quite common for people to wait it out till you get the perfect product that you had in mind before selling it. Though there is nothing wrong in that, but there are better ways to get past. The longer you wait to send the product out, the longer you will have to wait for money to start coming in. The more effective way is to get a basic version of your product ready and find buyers for the same. Finding them early will help you get feedback and thus enhance your product as well. It turns out to be quite cost effective as well.

Starting business has inherent risk along with it. But it does not make sense to continue with the mistakes others have made. Taking some time off and understanding the mistakes made by others will prove to be cost effective and brings learning along with it as well.

Business Incorporation: The Secret Sauce for Small Business Startups in USA

Business Incorporation: The Secret Sauce for Small Business Startups in USA

Business Incorporation: The Secret Sauce for Small Business Startups in USA

Ever wondered what makes your favorite cake special and different from others? Or what makes your favorite gym stand out from others? Or why your favorite singer keeps getting on the top-rated list most of the times? Well, let us just say there is a secret ingredient or secret sauce behind it all. Wouldn’t it be great if you could incorporate the same for your startup as well?

Knowingly or unknowingly each startup has its own little flavor. You just need to figure out which one you have control over and can do better to stand out from the rest.

The following are some of the ingredients behind the secret sauce.

Attention to Details

Attention to details is a great way of showing that you care for your customers and that you are willing to go the extra mile. There are several ways in which you can portray the same for your customers or clients. Adding milestones for activities that your customers or clients perform is a possibility. If you are asking some questions to them, make sure the same reflects in some way or the other.

Clever ways to keep your customer base engaged is also a great approach. Things as simple as a handwritten note or personalized merchandise can help you build a great connection with your customers. Those jokes on each of the containers, to those interesting facts about the ingredients, they all help you to connect with your customers.

If you start paying attention to the minute details, your customers will appreciate the same and that can do wonders for your brand.

Customer Service

There are lots of instances where you fall in love with a product, just because of the way the company treated you. Having a good customer service team allows you to bridge the gap further more between you and your customers. It is a positive scenario for both the parties.

A happy customer has the capability of pulling in many more friends and potential customers.

Having a team of self-motivated individuals for your customer service is a great start. It might be bit difficult to manage the same for a startup. But it is an investment that will reap you benefits multiple folds in the long run. I recently dealt with a product or rather service, where the warm and courteous staff won me over right from the first call.

Making use of feedback allows you to better understand the expectations of your customers and take actions accordingly.

Vision, Mission and Culture

When you start a business, you have certain vision and mission in your mind. It is very important to keep that as the center point always.

Hiring people and retaining the ones that clearly understand your vision and mission is critical.

Along with it comes building of a strong culture. Using the right phrases can help you bring together your staff and unite them to achieve the common goal.

Setting up a specific culture is neither a simple topic nor a one-day effort. It takes quite some time to build culture and work environment where you would want to spend your time. Having the right set of people, with the right mentality and common passion will help you stand out as an organization.

The idea behind the secret sauce is to help you differentiate among several startups and come up with your own identity. If you are able to establish that, things become much easier. If you are able to relate with your customers and make them feel important, you have the secret sauce with you.

Worried About an IRS Audit? 7 Saviour Tips You Need

Worried About an IRS Audit? 7 Saviour Tips You Need

Worried About an IRS Audit? 7 Saviour Tips You Need

The very idea of undergoing an audit by the IRS can be quite intimidating for a lot of folks. The central idea behind IRS audits is to double-check the information provided by an individual. There should not be any difference between taxes owed and taxes paid. There is a silver lining to IRS audits as well, as only less than 1% of all tax payers get audit notices during a financial year. If you are genuine with your tax filings, there is nothing to worry about, even if you are being audited.

You can certainly reduce the chances of being on that less than 1% list by keeping the following in mind.

Try to avoid doing anything that might put some sort of suspicion in their mind.

File your returns

This seemingly obvious option is at times ignored by people. Not filing returns brings you under the radar of IRS. There might be instances where you did not have any income for the previous year. You would still need to file your returns to show that you did not pay any taxes, because you did not have any income source for the year in question.

Bring clarity on the table

Messy handwriting and document filing can also bring you into IRS’s limelight. If the IRS is unable to read your tax return, you might draw their attention. Try to stay away from any such situations. It is better off to be one of the million people whose documents just sail over, than coming under audits.

Get your Maths straight

The theme of trying to avoid drawing any attention continues here as well. Make sure you have your calculation accurately. There should not be any room for error. The easier way out is to use software or file your taxes online. That way the chance of making errors reduces drastically. But if you are filling up forms offline, ensure that the proper boxes have proper data set. And most importantly double check that you have signed the tax return.

Knowing the targets

Professions where you deal mostly with cash or maintain your own book, chances of being under audit are relatively higher. For example profession like hairdresser, lawyer, accountant etc. might generate more friction in the IRS department. You need to be very clear with your return filing and specially the deductions.

Do not Forget information

Failing to mention any income from any front or omitting information can turn the tides against you. No matter how small the value is, missing it can prove to be expensive. The reason being, that IRS is most probably aware of that. And its absence from the tax returns would draw attention again.

The selection process

It is essential to understand the selection process to know your probability of making into or out of it. To a normal eye the process looks to be pretty random. But internally, IRS uses software to compare your deductions with those in your bracket. This is not meant to intimidate you, rather the take away point is to have as much documentations as you can.

Additional documents

Where it is your paranoia or something else that makes you feel you might be the chosen one, it is good to have documents. Additional documents such as forms, receipts for events, worksheet etc. will definitely come in handy in such times. Providing sufficient documentations ensure that even if the software flags you, an IRS agent can comprehend your return and let you off.

There is no guaranteed way to keep you away from IRS audits, but taking some of these precautions can help you reduce its probability.

Even if you are under audit, having sufficient evidence for each description will aid you to get through.