by Carla Lopez, contributing editor
With so many Gen Z and mid-career professionals leaving their employers, more entrepreneurs are taking that leap of faith to venture on their own, especially in tech and healthcare industries. Not all new business owners know just how much paperwork and red tape are involved in getting a company off the ground. A lot of it is complicated, some of it downright confusing, and much of it—let’s face it—kind of boring. But you don’t want to neglect the red tape: failure to deal with the legal and administrative side of business management is a major reason why so many smaller companies fail in their first year. So, before you rush in, the Table SALT Group wants you to be aware of the boxes you’ll have to check to get your business started correctly.
Get it all down on paper.
There are some areas where winging it can be fine, but when you’re starting a business, it is usually preferable to do so carefully and methodically. Sure, some successful companies started almost by accident, but these are exceptional cases. In general, you should plot out every aspect of your business before going live. The best way to do this is by working with a business coach or joining a business incubator to help you write a business plan. Too daunting of a task to write a business plan? These experts can hold you accountable for documenting every aspect of your proposed business, as well as an elucidation of its viability. Should you seek financing from lending institutions or investors, they will want to see your business plan.
Check rules and regulations.
Until the day you decide to get your start as an entrepreneur, you likely won’t know just how many legal aspects there are, both to launching a business and keeping it going. First, you need to be aware of any rules, regulations, or zoning laws that could affect or restrict your business. Research regulations specific to your town or municipality, as well as national laws. Likely you will need a license to practice business, but also find out whether additional permits or certifications are required, depending on your industry or even on particular jobs you intend to contract for hire.
Become a legal entity.
You will also need to decide on the legal structure of your business. There are quite a few legal structures out there. Still, you will probably be looking at either a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability company for a small-sized startup. Many beginning entrepreneurs in the U.S. choose the LLC structure for its added liability protection and reduced paperwork. These days, you can eliminate hefty attorney fees by using an online formation service like Launch by LegalShield to register your Texas LLC or sole proprietorship with the state.
Focus on branding.
Building a brand takes time, but you want to start on the right foot by focusing on the basics like a website and logo. A website is a must, and you want something elegant, organized, and easy to navigate. You can build this yourself through WordPress, or you can invest in a web design agency. Your logo is your calling card, and it’s going to be front and center on your site, so it’s essential to have a design that fits your business. Again, this is something you can handle yourself with Canva’s business design elements including logos. Alternatively, you can also farm out your logo design. Ideally, if you plan to hire professionals, look for an all-in-one agency to help with your website and logo design.
Make sure you are industry compliant.
You will need to consider many more legal ramifications once your business has started. Many of these involve regulations on running your specific kind of business and the nature and quality of products and services offered. Be aware of laws dictating business ethics, which can help you steer clear of any shady practices. There may also be health and safety regulations that affect your business, primarily if it is run in-person and on-site.
If you’ve been excited to get your business launched, discovering the bureaucratic tasks involved can be a bit of a damper. But remember: a little extra work now can save you from major headaches and financial losses down the road. And there are plenty of online resources and services to help you.
Check out our recommended Do-it-Yourself Business Essentials for a list of 20 plus resources for businesses of every size.