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Whether you’re starting a new business or running a well-established one, there’s always value in getting some timely advice. Here’s a list of ten easy tips that can help put you on track for success in your small business..

  1. Write a business plan, any business plan.
    Your passion and enthusiasm will go a long way in business – but not the whole way. Before you start your business – or if you feel like your business has lost direction – try writing up a business plan that helps you determine how long it will take your business to become sustainably profitable.
  2. Determine how you’ll make a profit.
    Take a hard look at your operating expenses, and figure out how much you’ll need to sell in order to cover your costs with extra left over.
  3. Start with as much of your own money as possible.
    Many small businesses get started with loans, rather than cash-in-hand. This is helpful, because fledgling businesses can take a while to turn a profit. However, the mounting pressure of repaying loans – with interest – can be burdensome for small businesses as time goes on. The more of your own money you can put into your business, the more of your own destiny you can control.
  4. Protect yourself.
    One risk with starting a small business is that of liability. It’s a particular worry that if your debts exceed the total value of your business, creditors can come after your personal assets. Look into getting properly insured, and becoming a Limited Liability Corporation.
  5. Start small.
    Everyone would like their business to be an overnight success, but in reality, a lot of businesses need some time to grow organically. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself, particularly with regards to your expenses, until your business is well-established.
  6. Get it in writing.
    Small businesses often have a face-to-face feel when they do business. That’s all well and good – but it can also lead to trouble. The benefits of a well-written contract are hard to overstate.
  7. Keep your edge.
    There are a lot of ways you can keep your edge in business – streamlining your manufacturing or distribution process, moving to a more convenient location, and carefully guarding your trade secrets. Most importantly, always try to remain proactive in your approach to business.
  8. Hire the right people.
    Don’t just jump at the first person through the door – really make sure that anyone you’re letting into your business is not only qualified, but capable, motivated, experienced, and possesses the right attitude.
  9. Make sure you create the right kind of employee relationship.
    Many businesses try to cut down on costs by hiring independent contractors in place of full-time employees. While this can work in some instances, it can mean a world of trouble if the IRS determines that your independent contractors are de facto employees of your companies. If an employee works exclusively for you, and does roughly 40 hours per week, chances are they’ll be considered a full-time employee.
  10. Pay your bills and taxes on time.
    It can be easy to defer payment on a bill, tax or loan, but it’s far from being a best business practice. Make sure you stay ahead of your debt, for your cash flow as well as your professional reputation <p/>
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