Ten Tips For Staying Out of Trouble
There are so many details to attend to while setting up and running a business, no wonder things can quickly go wrong. We've highlighted ten of the most common problems that business owners face, as well as ways to avoid them. With a little knowledge and preparation, your business can run issue-free.
Issue 1: Your business has halted to a standstill, and you have no plan, strategies, or goals to get it moving forward.
Quick Fix: Don't wing it! Write a solid business plan. Without it, your business isn't likely to go far. Your business plan should be a roadmap that includes information such as the company description, the product or service, the market, how you plan to market your product or service, and financial statements and projections.
Issue 2: You are out of money before your business has a fighting chance of surviving.
Quick Fix: When you secure funds for your business, you should secure enough to pay run your business and pay your bills for at least a year or two. In most cases, your business will not turn a profit before then. One of the biggest mistakes business people make is not having enough money set aside to see them through the inevitable lean times. And some mighty fine businesses have fallen by the wayside as a result!
Issue 3: Your business is turning a profit, but you still can't pay the bills.
Quick Fix: Check out your accounting and bookkeeping methods. Accounting and bookkeeping "knowing how the cash flows in and the cash flows out" are integral to the success of your business. If you need help with the basics buy a software program or one of the many books on the topic. Or, if budget permits, hire a qualified accountant or bookkeeper.
Issue 4: You are being sued by an employee for unlawful termination.
Quick Fix: Make sure workplace rules and policies are laid out in a company handbook. Always treat your employees with respect and fairness. If an employee is not able to perform the duties in his or her job description, give several written warnings before terminating. Adopt discrimination and sexual harassment policies, and make sure they are followed to the letter. Never terminate anyone for reasons that could be construed as discriminatory.
Issue 5: Your business is being shut down for not adhering to certain laws.
Quick Fix: While it's impossible to be familiar with all laws, make sure you have a good understanding of the most common, including business formation laws, consumer protection laws, contract laws, employee hiring laws, environmental laws, license and permit laws, tax laws, and zoning laws. In order to comply with various laws you'll have to keep good records, so be sure to come up with a system of doing so.
Issue 6: Someone has stolen and is using your business's intellectual property, in the form of an invention, trade secret, or creative work.
Quick Fix: Take steps to protect your intellectual property from the get-go. If you have a new product, make sure you patent it. Be sure to copyright items like advertising copy, art, articles, books, compilations of data, floral patterns on cloth, jewelry, movies, and software. And if your business uses a word, symbol, name, or other device to identify or distinguish your products and services from those of a competitor, make sure to trademark it.
Issue 7: Your customers aren't paying you.
Quick Fix: Make sure your payment policy is clear and understandable, so that your customer knows when you expect payment. If you are not getting cash up front, institute an interest payment on all late payments, and make sure it is clearly stated on all invoices. Try improving your cash flow and cutting down on delinquent payments by offering a discount on early payments. Have a set of demand letters ready to go when payment is overdue. And consider stopping future sales to a customer until all outstanding bills are paid.
Issue 8: You printed up letterhead and business cards with your business's domain name, only to realize it had already been taken.
Quick Fix: Because each domain name must be unique, it certainly makes sense to do a little research to determine if the name you want is already taken. To check availability, go to www.internic.net. InterNIC is the central governing authority in the U.S. for domain name registration. Go to the section called WHOIS, and type in your desired domain name. InterNIC will tell you if the name is already taken. If it is not, it will take you through the steps to register it.
Issue 9: Someone stole your trade secrets off your web site.
Quick Fix: This one is easy. Don't put your company's trade secrets on your web site. Remember, anyone has access to your web site.
Issue 10: Your press releases aren't being picked up by the newspapers and magazines you are targeting.
Quick Fix: Did you know that reporters get tons of press releases every day? Some grab their attention, while others end up in the trash. The key here is to put your press releases n the former category, and not the latter. How do you do that? Make sure your press release is well written and covers the basic info: who, what, when,, where, why, and how. Be sure to tell the media why they should care about your story. And know that in the world of press releases, less is more. Get your point across, but don't make your release too long!
Knowing how to avoid these common business pitfalls will have your business up and running successfully for years to come!-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Repair Site, part of Localwin Network.