You have a passion for some big idea or are motivated to make a difference. Becoming an entrepreneur is an appealing prospect. You’re ready to make a start and be your own boss. Only there are challenges ahead. This article offers suggestions about the five top areas where entrepreneurs can get help in building their business.
There are 15 million-plus Americans who are self-employed full-time, according to Freshbooks’ 2019 Self-Employment in America Report. Some “30% are serial entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals who have run more than one business.” Yet the majority (70%) of self-employed professionals “are running their first business.”
Becoming an entrepreneur takes a certain amount of bravery. Apple’s Steve Jobs is credited with saying, “about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
Knowing when and where to get help is another big differentiator for successful entrepreneurs. In Forbes, the Young Entrepreneur Council cautioned, “As entrepreneurs, we think we are the only ones who can get the job done … But if you don’t learn to allow others to help you—especially in your areas of weakness—you set yourself up to become overwhelmed and frustrated.”
Getting help with the right things can save you hours climbing a steep learning curve and teaching yourself new skills. This article addresses the value of seeking assistance with:
- Partner/Co-Ownership Agreement
- FDA/OSHA/Labeling Practices
- Finding a Shipping Solution
A key element of entrepreneurial success is setting your business apart from the rest. You’re going to be so distinct that you may need to trademark your intellectual property. This can include a small business startup’s ideas and original work.
A trademark helps tell people what you do and will make you stand out from the crowd. It needs to be sufficiently unique to be protected under trademark regulations. It will help when you’re filling out your trademark application to understand what you sell and your goals.
You’ll also need to determine what other similar trademarks are in use by competitors to avoid trademark infringement. As noted in our 10 Tips for Trademark Selection, “Deciding whether your trademark is sufficiently unique involves more than just checking for the ‘.com’ domain name and running a search on the USPTO database.”
You may need to partner with a trademark attorney to get the job done right. Keep in mind, too, selecting your trademark is only part of the process. You could use help with trademark registration and also continuous monitoring of your trademark.
Unless you’re an accountant, you are probably not becoming an entrepreneur to tackle taxes. If you thought doing your personal taxes every April was annoying, wait until you get started on your business taxes.
Taxes for small businesses can be challenging. There are many more factors to consider. For one, if you have an online storefront, you may be required to collect sales taxes. That depends on the state in which your store is registered, the types of goods and services you sell, and could be further complicated by special county, city, or district taxes.
Hiring an accountant for taxes can make a lot of sense, especially if you have foreign vendors. Finding a small business accountant can save you hours of effort. Not to mention the deductions they might find you don’t know about or any late fees or other penalties you might avoid. Even if you’re pretty savvy with business accounting software, it can help to have a professional accountant do a double check before you file.
# 3 Partner/Co-Ownership Agreement
Maybe you’re becoming an entrepreneur with someone else on board. You should know that the meanings of co-owner and partner differ as far as:
- personal liability for debts
- involvement in the management and control of the enterprise
- personal interest in its revenue
- how you are taxed on business income
Consulting with a small business lawyer can help you determine whether to set up a business partner or co-owner agreement.
Working with a legal advisor, you’ll weigh the many criteria to qualify as either a business owner or business partner. For business ownership, for instance, “the partners must have personal ownership of company-issued stock certificates.”
On the other hand, a business partnership agreement can be established when partners “contribute property, money, and personal skills or labor” and “expect to share in the company’s profits and losses.” There’s also a limited partner option too. To get a grip on the options and the various liabilities, you might want to post in UpCounsel’s marketplace to get help.
Need help determining the right type of business entity for you? Read our Which Legal Business Entity Works For Your Small Business article.
#4 FDA or OSHA Labeling Practices
Maybe you’re joining the CBD oil craze with your new business. Or you’re starting an online shop for buckets of your Auntie Sue’s Crazy Good Gluten-Free Caramel Cookies. You’re going to need to know about food labeling and food packaging regulations. The Food and Drug Administration weighs in regularly, and you want to ensure your entrepreneurial effort is FDA compliant.
OSHA compliance is another potential minefield for small business owners, especially when they are starting out. You’ll need to keep up with record keeping, reporting, posting, and inspection rules. It also helps to understand, in advance, what causes occupational injuries.
It’s your obligation to remain compliant, but it can be challenging to keep up with the rules and regulations, especially when you might not even know what applies to your business endeavor. Setting up a small business consultation with a lawyer can get you going in the right direction from the outset.
#5 Finding a Shipping Solution
Shipping your product to your customers can be a considerable cost for a small business to bear. That helps explain the boom right now in online dropshipping companies. Reducing shipping costs can have a direct, positive impact on your business revenue. So, it’s important to fully explore the best shipping ideas for a small business.
You’ll want to talk with several shipping representatives to get the lowest rate on the best service. You may also want to identify opportunities to cut costs by using the shipping company’s computers, scales, and software. They may also have assistance to offer with labels, packing slips, and barcodes.
Partnering with shipping experts can also help you find the smallest and lightest way to ship your product and keep items safe in transit. In determining the right shipping solution for you, consider these pros and cons of outsourcing.
According to The Hill, there are 582 million entrepreneurs worldwide. Each one of them starts “the journey with vigor, passion, and excitement.” Yet, the hard work of building a company from the ground up can take its toll. You know that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy. So, be smart and seek out skilled experts who can help propel your future success.