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By Nickie on October 15, 2018
Couples who attend pre-marriage counseling are 30% more likely to enjoy successful marriages than those who do not. As an entrepreneur, you should take note.
Prepare well before your launch by making sure you’re compatible with your business. After all, why build a business you plan that you’ll have to manage yourself, if it doesn’t play to your strengths and support your desired lifestyle? You’d likely end up dreading your workdays.
The best strategy — one that’s often overlooked — is to plan your business, and how you run it, around your personality. By doing so, you can help ensure that you and your business are a good fit for success.
If couples who attend pre-marriage counseling enjoy longer, happier marriages, why not follow their lead to help give your business a successful start?
How to Build a Sound Foundation for Business Success
When you plan your business to align with your personality, you not only lay the groundwork for a successful venture, but you also provide yourself with the best opportunity to be happy and fulfilled in your work. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Discover your personality.
It will be tough to plan around your personality if you don’t first understand your personality. This is often one of those areas where it’s best to get input from the outside.
Take one, or several, personality tests. The Myers-Briggs is one of the most used and helpful. It separates people into 16 different personality types that include strengths and weaknesses — important factors to keep in mind while planning your business and building your team.
But don’t let the tests speak alone. Get input from the people who know you best. Talk with your friends, family members, and former colleagues about what they have seen you excel at and where you might benefit from extra help. And be sure to ask them whether they see your business idea as being one that you’d truly enjoy pursuing.
2. Think about how your personality may affect your business and vice versa.
Now that you have some objective feedback, it’s time to do some self-reflection. Keeping in mind what you’ve learned from step 1, ask yourself the following questions about your business and how it will fit with your personality:
Why do I want to start this business? What do I hope to get out of it?
Will this business allow me to use my strengths?
Will my weaknesses be easy to overcome?
Will I enjoy the industry culture?
Will I be willing to put in extra hours when needed, and how will I feel about it?
Will I enjoy the specifics of the work and my role as the business owner?
What am I unwilling to give up outside my business? Will I still have time and energy for those priorities?
How many clients will I be able to reasonably handle at a time?
Will I be comfortable managing any potential conflicts, whether between employees or with a client?
Am I calm under pressure, or do I need extra support during stressful times?
Overall, how will I feel heading to work each morning?
Once you’ve explored your responses to questions like these, you’ll be closer to understanding how to structure your own role, as well as to deciding which other people and roles you’ll need to build your successful business.
3. Identify potential conflicts and plan for solutions.
Answering the above questions will help you to set up your business in a way that complements your personality, and to identify those areas where you may need additional support, once your idea becomes a reality. You can then use this knowledge to:
Determine what your role will be, and which tasks and responsibilities you should assign to others
Build a team that best supports you
Formulate a business model that plays to your strengths
Implement processes that will guard your business against your weaknesses
Help ensure that you’re still able to enjoy your overall lifestyle when it comes to work-life balance
As with prospective spouses in a marriage, no business owner will match up perfectly with the needs of their company. Remember though, that it’s a strength to understand your weaknesses.
Another way to defend your business against any of your personal weaknesses is to find your perfect match in a business partner — one with personality traits and skills that will complement your own. Download our free eBook, Opportunity Knocks: How to Find and Pursue a Business Idea That’s Right for You, to explore whether this would be a good strategy for you and how to go about selecting the right partner.
By Nickie on October 8, 2018
Whether you’re a veteran small business owner or running a startup, struggling to strike a balance between your work and your personal life is a common challenge. Mile-long to-do lists, smartphones delivering steady streams of email, and struggling to stay ahead of constantly evolving technology can make even the most levelheaded person feel overwhelmed.
By Nickie on October 1, 2018
To pay more than minimum wage or not to pay more than minimum wage?
That can be a common question for small business owners as they’re looking to add new employees to their team, but are nervous about straining their company’s wallet. But some small business owners do decide to go above and beyond when it comes to wages.
By Nickie on September 24, 2018
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the best florist, hair stylist, party planner or accountant, your business will never grow if you don’t know how to manage employees. Take a look at this list of management traits and ask yourself whether any of them apply to you.
By Nickie on September 17, 2018
Whoever came up with the adage that “There are no shortcuts to success, only hard work” didn’t have access to an Internet connection.
As a small business owner, it’s not your job to reinvent the wheel. In fact, shortcuts allow you to focus on tasks that are truly central to your company’s core product or service.
By Nickie on September 10, 2018
Starting a business is risky. New business owners have to deal with many uncertainties, such as whether clients will find value in their offering, whether they’ll be able to turn a profit, and what they’ll do if the business fails.
Many business owners fear losing it all if their business goes under or if someone sues them. This is especially true for those who fund their businesses with their own capital, or if they don’t have any business insurance. However, even if you are self-funded, you can take measures to protect your personal wealth from the risk you’re taking on as a business owner.
Set Up the Right Legal Entity
Protecting yourself from business liabilities starts with choosing the right legal entity. If you are operating as a sole proprietorship, your personal assets including your home, investments, and personal property can be seized in the event of a lawsuit or if you owe creditors.
Setting up a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), however, can help shield you and your shareholders from personal liability in the event of judgments or debts against the business. With either an LLC or a corporation, only your business assets would be used to pay creditors if you can’t meet your obligations. The primary difference between these two entities is that the profits and losses of a corporation are taxable to the corporation, taxed at the corporate rate, while the profits and losses of an LLC pass through to the owners or shareholders, who can choose whether they want to be taxed as a corporation or as an individual.
You can also layer different legal structures for different parts of your business to add more protection. For example, if you own a retail store and receive rental income from tenants who live above the store, you could set up separate legal entities for the store and for the building ownership. If your tenants were to sue you, the retail business would not be affected. Setting up a layered structure puts more distance between you and any incidents that might result in business debts or lawsuits.
Get Proper Business Insurance
Each entity you set up should have its own business insurance policy to add more layers of protection between you and your business liabilities. However, even if you set up a legal structure that protects your personal assets, you still could be exposed to risks.
For example, say you stand accused of breaking intellectual property laws, or a client sues you for fraud. In such a scenario, you may have to pay a settlement from your own pocket, as opposed to from your business account.
Every small business owner should have a Business Owner’s Policy as a first line of defense against general liabilities. This type of policy offers broad protection against several claims that could put your assets at risk, such as copyright infringement or injuries that occur on business premises. It can also help cover the costs of legal defense.
If you have a private practice, such as a law firm or doctor’s office — or run a professional services company, such as an accounting firm or consulting company — you may be exposed to other risks and need a more specific type of insurance to protect your personal wealth from business liabilities.
Professional liability insurance, for example, helps cover you against claims of negligence, or errors or omissions, that might arise from services you provide to clients. This type of insurance is offered as an addition to a Business Owner’s Policy, but check with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right kind and amount of insurance coverage for your business.
Separate Your Business and Personal Affairs
Once you’ve registered your business as a corporation or LLC, use the company name on all documents, including property or equipment leases, supplier agreements, and employment contracts.
Keep your business and personal finances separate by setting up a bank or checking account in the company’s name. Think about who else might need access to the account and designate signing authority to those individuals as well. You may want to require two signatures for any large checks over a certain amount.
If you have good personal credit, you should also consider getting a business credit card to help keep track of designated business expenses. While business cards allow you to start building business credit and give you more financial leverage, they do need to be personally guaranteed, so there is still some risk to your personal wealth.
Make sure you are diligent about maintaining corporate records in what’s known as a corporate book, and keeping current with required filings. Many states require corporations to submit minutes and other annual reports. These requirements also differ depending on your type of legal entity, so it’s a good idea to check with your state or local authority, or with your accountant. Missing the deadline for such filings can result in penalties and late fees or, at worst, suspension of the LLC.
Have a Contingency Plan
Tough times for your business can put a lot of pressure on your personal finances. Put a plan in place to protect yourself and your family against any downturn in business activity.
If your small business is your only source of income:
Think about creating other revenue streams, such as taking on consulting work or generating passive income from ads on your business blog.
Maintain good relations with previous employers in case you ever need to return to a former day job.
Set aside savings when things are going well to build up a rainy day fund.
Have a conversation with your family about how you can support each other during tough times, and what measures you might need to put in place to reduce your household’s spending.
Maybe your spouse’s salary can support your household to help relieve some of the financial pressure riding on the fate of your small business.
A contingency plan can be helpful not only to protect your personal wealth, but also to build it. Being diligent about replenishing any funds you may have invested into your business, as well as building up personal savings, can one day fund your next business venture.
By Nickie on September 3, 2018
Whether you are just starting your business or you’re 20 years in, cutting business expenses can go a long way in helping you become profitable.
By Nickie on August 27, 2018
Here are some sobering statistics for small business owners: 75 percent of employees admit to stealing from their employer at least once, and 38 percent say they have stolen twice or more. In 2015, employees who stole took an average of $175,000 from businesses of all sizes—a loss many small businesses can’t survive. In fact, an estimated one-third of all small businesses go bankrupt because of employee theft.
By Nickie on August 20, 2018
Starting a new business is exciting and in today’s world, couldn’t be easier. But it’s just as easy to overlook the risks that come with it. Many small business owners fail to plan for critical risks that could lead to problems down the road. Future proof your business from the beginning.
By Nickie on August 6, 2018
One common characteristic that many successful, prominent leaders share is that they are avid readers. Books contain a wealth of knowledge and insight, allowing you to access information and ideas you wouldn’t know about otherwise. For an entrepreneur, strong leadership is such an important quality that we’ve compiled the best books on leadership that every entrepreneur should read.