With the promise of a New Year often comes the desire to go after your dreams. For many people in the U.S., that dream is to finally start their own business. In fact, every month, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. start a business, a trend that’s been rising for three years in a row.
Luckily, if you’re thinking of joining the entrepreneurial caravan, it’s easier than ever to finally make that jump. The start-up costs associated with being an entrepreneur have been dramatically driven down by technology, and this new business culture supports a wide range of work options.
Growing your business will be a lifelong expedition that nurtures ambition, discipline, and confidence. It’s a highly rewarding experience, and with the right mindset and tools, you’ll be able to reap the rewards in due time.
For those of you who have not already started a business, or are trying to figure out how best to start your business, this post will help you learn the 5 key steps to turn your business vision into a successful reality.
1.Manage your business all in one place
As an entrepreneur, handling all aspects of the company can be tricky. It might be worth getting that extra bit of help by bringing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system into play. If you’re not already familiar, a CRM system basically takes the guess-work out of expanding business and retaining clientele.
HoneyBook is a CRM software designed exclusively for entrepreneurs and freelancers to book more clients, manage projects and get paid – all in one convenient place. Their goal is to make sure that each partner has the best possible experience and they give each collaboration the attention and resources needed to make it a success. You can start a free trial today. Plus, Style Salute readers get 50% off their first year. Get into it here.
2. Organize your paperwork
Being an entrepreneur, small business owner, or freelancer is not easy… especially when it comes to all the business and managing you have to do. There are a lot of formalities involved when starting a business. From selecting a form of ownership to getting a tax identification number. Be sure to check out the US Small Business Administration for more information on these crucial details.
One way to make it easier on yourself is to automate with Honeybook, your all-in-one project, invoicing and payments management tool. HoneyBook’s robust features can help you manage everything and, yes, keep on track with it all.
3. Create a financial proposal
When writing your business plan, make sure to pay attention to the fiscal side of things. You’ll want to create a solid, easy-to-follow financial proposal that outlines how much money you’ll need to launch your business, how much you intend to make in the first year and how much you’ll spend in the first year. When you do this, you’ll find that you have to summarise and aggregate more than you might with accounting.
A financial proposal is useful when seeking investments and to better understand how your business will fare in terms of profits and losses. It’s a document that you can always refer back to update.
4. Look professional and improve your client experience
Ultimately, your client experience can look however you like. However, it’s vital that the experience is efficient and easy to understand for the client. The way in which you communicate with your consumers and respond to their needs are key elements that need to be considered carefully before creating a client experience strategy. Doing so will also ensure that you attract the right kind of following for your business.
HoneyBook is extremely user-friendly in this respect with an all-in-one project, invoicing and payments management tool. Plus, you can book clients, manage projects and get paid – all from one place. Curious? Sign up for a free trial of HoneBook business management software designed just for creative small businesses.
5. Make sure your retirement plan reflects your status
Being self-employed has its perks, but it also means that you are responsible for protecting yourself financially. Unlike employees with access to 401(k) plans, it’s up to you if you want to set money aside for retirement and your golden years.
The good news is that if you’re working as your own boss, there are plenty of retirement paths to explore. The most common retirement accounts for those that are self-employed are SEP IRAs, Simple IRAs, and Individual 401(k)s. Similar to retirement accounts offered by employers, these retirement plans have two factors in common. They have up-front tax breaks and tax-deferred saving, meaning you don’t pay taxes until you withdraw the money years later in retirement (the Roth version of the individual 401(k) is slightly different.)
How do you know which plan is best for you? You consult with an expert. Here’s more on which plan is best for you.
Up next: In your 20s? For most of us, our 20s are a decade of #adulting, including with our money. So where do you start? Here’s a roundup of 4 steps to take now, from our friends.