Nobody’s perfect, but it makes sense to strive for a standard of excellence when you open the doors to your startup company. You’ve put in hundreds of hours of planning, plenty of your own money, pestered friends and relatives to help out with the multitude of chores that go into that first official day of operation. But, wait, did you forget something?
If you’re like many other entrepreneurs who run their own businesses from day one, chances are you neglected at least one or two of the following essentials. Don’t worry, because it’s never too late to get the right insurance, pay close attention to fleet management, plan for lean months, arrange to scale production, and start building networks that will serve you for decades. Here’s more about each of the five things business owners often forget about until after they open their doors. Which ones do you need to attend to?
It’s not so much that owners forget to purchase insurance but that they either don’t get the right kind or don’t purchase enough coverage. Even if you have no employees, you need liability coverage for injuries that happen on your property. And you need to insure your building if you own it, or at least the contents if you lease. The simple solution for under-insuring or missing an entire category altogether is to speak with an insurance professional who specializes in startups.
For transportation, delivery, and trucking startups, dealing with fleet management is essential, even if your fleet currently consists of just one vehicle. As you expand, it will be necessary to have practices and products in place to handle tracking, safety, payroll, vehicle maintenance schedules, and dozens of other chores. One smart way, right from the beginning, to prevent getting hit with an hours-of-service violation is to use an ELD (electronic logging device) compliance solution. In addition to lower ELD compliance costs, the devices are a smart, cost-effective way to connect your operations and maintain compliance everywhere your vehicles go.
Timing of Profits
Too many owners assume that they’ll be profitable within a few weeks or months. The truth is that, depending on the industry you’re in, you might not see black ink for at least a year. That’s why it’s so important to budget those lean months into your Pro-forma financial documents in the business plan. No matter what products or services you sell, it’s immensely tricky to predict when your first profitable month will arrive. A good rule-of-thumb is to assume you won’t make money for the first year of operations.
Failure to plan for scaling is a common pitfall for new companies. If you sell physical products, like chairs, or services, like attorney services, do you know what your maximum level of production is? If you’re a one-person shop, do you have the capacity to handle multiple incoming requests for services or goods? Many new businesses don’t, and then they get stuck with unhappy clients who never come back. Have a Plan B to deal with unexpectedly high demand.