Stick to your knitting – that was the best advice I received when I started my business. Focus on the product or service you are providing and outsource your specialist requirements to an expert.
Particularly as a start up, you may try and save money by attempting your own accounts or legal structuring. You don’t, however, have the necessary skills and you run the risk of taking your eye off the ball in building your business.
Seeking the advice of a professional is vital, no matter the topic, be it accounting, law or information technology. Find professionals who can become part of your business team for the long term, and whose expertise will assist you to grow.
You may think that you cannot afford to hire an expert but often not doing so, can cost you more in the long term.
You could consider business bartering to acquire these services, a concept which is proving popular amongst small business owners.
I recently attended a networking event where I met an accountant who has an accounting practice. She obtains her marketing assistance for free from a marketing and communications business owner, to whom she in turn provides a free accounting service.
An accountant or commercial attorney can advise you on the right structure for your business and assist you in registering a name. Attorneys can also provide insight into laws which impact your industry and if you are employing people, it’s important to obtain solid labour law advice.
Consulting an attorney is particularly wise if you are considering entering into a partnership. So-called “back of a cigarette box” type agreements can cause huge problems years later, when a business has become profitable, and one of the partners wants to cash in their shares and leave.
Right from the outset, make sure you have up-to-date business accounts and are tax compliant. Doing your own accounts can prove an onerous task. There are also numerous laws and regulations pertaining to tax and if you get behind with tax payments, there are heavy penalties.
Many accountants specialise in providing a service to small businesses. Some even offer financial tutoring, teaching you to understand key financial concepts such as gross margin, break even and cash flow forecasting.
Your accountant can also assist you in obtaining any documentation required to verify your company’s Black Economic Empowerment status and tax compliance (now prerequisites for doing business with corporates).
Very few of us are adept at resolving our own computer problems and there’s nothing more frustrating than down time in your business, due to a computer glitch. Find yourself a reliable IT specialist who can provide a same day call out service.