8-Point Startup Checklist

Opening a new business is always an exciting prospect. You spend months, if not years, thinking of all the fun things associated with a business, like calculating profits, being your own boss, and building the best team imaginable.
Before you earn a single dollar from your hard work, however, you need to make sure you have certain aspects squared away. As anyone who has gone through the process can attest to, the true essence of a startup is rolling up your sleeves to ensure the success of your business.
So, what does an entrepreneur need to do before cutting the proverbial ribbon on their new venture?

  1. Understanding Relevant Laws
    Building a foundation of relevant legal knowledge isn’t the most exciting part of being an entrepreneur; in fact, it can be quite daunting. Regardless, you need to spend time creating a better-than-rudimentary understanding of the laws that will regulate your business with respect to employment, taxes and anything specifically related to your industry.
    Consult with both a lawyer and an accountant to learn how to structure your business in a way that is compliant with relevant laws. When it comes to legal matters and protecting your business, details matter. Don’t be shy about asking questions, even if it costs a little more. It’ll be worth it in the long term.
  2. Own Your Business Name
    You need to register your business name with the Canada Revenue Agency and, if possible, secure all pertinent internet domain names. Depending on your type of business, you could look to register it as a trademark. This will give you sole use of your business name for 15 years, at which point you’ll have to renew.
    This is an important early step for every startup. It also reveals whether your business name is already in use, meaning you might have to come up with another clever moniker or pun, or shift to a slight variation on your original idea.
    And don’t for a second think that by using your own name as your business name that you’re in the clear. Your name doesn’t have to be “Tommy Hilfiger” for it to already be in use.
  3. Figure Out Your Personal Finances
    Launching a startup could mean living without a salary for a year or two. That’s the reality and you’ve probably already accepted it, which is great. But acceptance is only a small part of what you need to do.
    While your business is still in the planning phase, make sure your personal finances are in order. Get your savings and investments as high as possible since there’s a good chance you’ll be dipping into them at some point relatively soon. Additionally, make a new household budget that includes what you can spend on non-essential business expenses like lunches or coffee.
    You need to keep your non-work life operational and not fall into personal debt while your business ramps up. This will only compound stress, and there will certainly be enough of that in the early going.
  4. Develop a Marketing & Communications Plan
    Business hours should be devoted to sales and operations, so the best advice is to have your marketing and communications plans in place and ready to be executed on day one. These plans need to be comprehensive and involve tactics that will impact the bottom line for both the short and long term.
    These strategies should cover marketing and communications with respect to digital, print, experiential and community outreach. They should be constantly evolving as more opportunities present themselves. Taking your first year of operations to develop these plans could result in missing out on growing your customer base.
  5. Choose a Payroll System
    Unless you’re the only one working and wearing every hat, you’ll need to pay your employees. The last thing you want is to be so overwhelmed that you miss a payday, which can result in disgruntled employees or even disruptions to your operations.
    With the advent of digital payroll systems, your employees and vendors can be paid promptly and automatically. Before you launch your business – even if you’re the sole employee in those early days – choose a system and familiarize yourself with every aspect and feature.
    Some of the more popular ones are Wave Accounting, Payment Evolution, Quickbooks, and SimplePay. Each is different, so you’d be wise to take advantage of demos or free trials to discover which best suits your needs.
  6. Hire an Advisor
    Having an advisor can be invaluable. Ideally, this is an experienced person who understands your industry and knows how to navigate the challenges of running a startup. If you went through the early stages without a mentor or advisor, try to bring one or more onboard for your official launch.
    This is someone to bounce ideas off, to seek advice from, and to also help you make connections when needed. If you have the capacity, an advisory board can be even more valuable, but make sure you vet every person and use contracts to establish roles, responsibilities, and legal parameters.
  7. Secure Financing
    Opening your business with only one month of financing in your coffers could be problematic, especially when things get bleak around day five after you check your bank account.
    The best advice is to have all your loans secured and all your numbers crunched before launching. You would be well advised to have enough money in the bank to run without interruption for at least a year. If the funds aren’t readily available, you’ll be spending all your time worrying and hustling when you should be selling and managing.
  8. Hire Your Core Team
    It’s unrealistic to think you need to have every role at your company filled in the first week. What you do need is to have key hires ready to start immediately. During the pre-launch period, you should outline the roles that are most important for your daily operations and those that will enable growth. From there, start interviewing and get hiring. This is also a good time to create concrete hiring protocols.
    The Keys to Startup Success
    There’s nothing nobler than being an entrepreneur. Do everything in your power to give yourself the best chance at success so that your business – and you – can thrive. Even when things are tense prior to launch, keep pushing and making sure to take care of the small details. They matter.

Rob Shapiro | Contributing Writer

The Importance of Working as a Team

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” One can understand the importance of teamwork from the above quote by Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Without proper teamwork and cooperation between individuals, it is difficult for organizations to succeed in their business ventures. Let us have a closer look at more components of working in teams.

 

Business Goals:

Organizations must achieve their targets and generate revenues so employees have to finish their tasks within the desired timeline. By working together as a team employees can share their ideas and finish the required work efficiently and quickly. In addition, individuals can help one another and correct each others’ mistakes instantly through teamwork.

Competitiveness:

When working as a team, there is always fierce competition among employees to outperform each other. This is mutually beneficial for employees and the organization. Moreover, teamwork brings in a sense of urgency to complete tasks.

Improving Cooperation:

Employees can understand their strengths and weaknesses better and improve their cooperation levels by working together. Having better relations increases the bonding between employees and that makes them perform their work diligently. Every member in the team can support other and it brings out the best in everyone.

Scope for Specialization:

Exhibiting strong teamwork at the workplace enables managers to delegate job responsibilities more easily. The quality of work increases by dividing tasks among staff members with specialized skills and interests. Hence, organizations can accomplish their set goals and make more profits.

Positive Corporate Culture:

Working in teams motivates employees to work harder and smarter in order to get the respect of others. It develops positive workplace culture and earns brand recognition from customers and the public.

Skill Development:

Individuals can learn new things and develop themselves through teamwork. Seeing other members with different skillsets can improve everyone on the team to acquire the same skills.  It results in the overall well-being of the organization and personal development of all.

Sharing Workload:

Forming teams and working towards a common goal is a good way to share the workload among employees. It builds a strong support network within the organization. Delegation of responsibilities to the right people will ensure it’s of high-quality.

Great Learning Experience:

It is always fascinating to know about new things and teamwork provides the perfect opportunity for that. Working together with people from different skills and backgrounds is a great learning experience for staff members.

 

Hence, organizations should encourage teamwork at the workplace as it strengthens bonding between workers. Employees will feel motivated to finish their tasks and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

 

Magesh | DBPC Blog

Benefits of Getting to Know Your Employees

Business is like soccer. A company is like a soccer team. A manager is like the coach. The team is composed of the employees and their positions make up the game plan. Every time you close a deal or make a sale, you win a match. Haven’t had many victories recently? Need a stronger and more efficient squad? Want to win the World Cup of business?

The answer lies within the saying, “Know those who labour among you.” Be acquainted with each employee individually – personally and professionally. Still not motivated to score the goal of familiarity? Here are some benefits of getting to know your employees:

Effective motivation
Not every incentive is stimulating in the same way to every worker. It’s a fact. Announcing an ugly Christmas sweater day might immediately get one employee planning what to wear, while a crazy hair day will be tonnes of fun for another. Everyone is different. Organizing office events and developing work incentives according to your employees’ interests/personalities will produce better responses and more excitement, leading to greater results. In return, your team will be more cooperative with company management and their increased commitment will catalyze profits and business growth.

Stronger team
When the relationship between a coach and his/her team is solely based on commands, with very little to no appreciation for each player, it’s a breeding group for resentment and loss. Put yourself in the players’ shoes and think about it. How pleasant is it to take yelled orders, without having any freedom to suggest otherwise? Not very. Now what about being able to get advice, sometimes even with a stern tone, but from an individual who you consider to be your mentor in the game and who has shown to have kind and respectable character? Sounds much better, doesn’t it? Well, it’s the same when it comes to the workplace. A boss who honestly cares about each individual in his/her office, and not just about profit and numbers, is easier to work for. Knowing the learning and communication style of each team member is crucial to a playing smooth game and achieving champion results.

Greater profitability
Even though this might be the most obvious benefit, it is far from being the least important. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each employee will result in more effective task delegation and better outcomes. Familiarity will also aid in creating a work environment where management’s interests naturally become those of the workers and vice versa. When a company has no need to waste time on dealing with internal strife due to misunderstandings, more energy can be directed towards generating sales and revenue. The healthier the connection is within, the stronger the team is – ready to face any challenge with confidence.

Business is like soccer. Know your team and you will know how to win.

 

Y. Kowlessar | DBPC Blog