Don’t let the details overwhelm you; there’s help along the way.
The journey from the moment you decide you’re going to open your own business to the moment you actually open your business is a road often ladened with countless details, hard work, determination, setbacks, and disappointments but also with accomplishment, pride, and the joy of ownership. Of course, the first step is deciding if you want to open up a business from your original business idea or by joining a franchise. Joining a franchise can have significant benefits utilizing the tools, training, expertise, and assistance you’ll receive along the way. Joining a proven franchise can also substantially increase your chance of success. A study by the International Franchise Association (IFA) suggested that 95% of new franchises were still in business after five years, while just 50% of independent start-ups were still in business after five years.
Along the way, you’ll encounter some major checkpoints, including forming your entity, finding a site (lease or buy), site plan and permitting, building construction, hiring and staffing, and of course, opening for business. Each step is like an iceberg: beneath what you can see, there are numerous things that must be done before conquering each stage. And while there’s no easy path to success in business, having professional help as you work to make your dream a reality can make the journey not only doable but also enjoyable. And the fun part is, depending on what you want to take on, you can choose what you want to do yourself and what you want to hire out for help. Hiring the right professional for each area of business can take a huge burden off of you individually.
“And while there’s no easy path to success in business, having professional help as you work to make your dream a reality can make the journey not only doable but also enjoyable.”
For example, let’s take forming an entity, which you may want to do yourself, but hiring a professional to help is an easier option. Further, you may want assistance from a business attorney or accountant with some more complex legal things. Such items may include the type of entity you want to form, how you choose to file your taxes, as well as the things that eventually come along with forming an entity, such as setting up reemployment tax, sales tax, EIN, and so forth.
Site selection is one of the most critical and sometimes time-consuming steps in the process. An excellent way to start is simply by “hitting the streets” and doing some initial site search yourself. And while you could contact the landowner or listing agent directly, hiring a good commercial broker to assist can take a lot of the workload off of you, and they can help speak the language of other brokers and potential landlords/sellers. During this process, don’t be discouraged; you’ll probably get many “no’s” before you find a location that works. And remember, no one will care as much about finding the right site as you will. If you do utilize a commercial broker, stay very involved and never be afraid to ask questions (no matter how elementary you may think they are) and voice any concern you have along the way.
Once you have a site pinned down, you’ll want to get a civil engineer involved in the site plan and permitting. In a nutshell, this is the process (usually during a due diligence period in your lease or contract) to ensure your site is a viable option for your business. This process includes laying out your site plan to ensure you won’t hit any roadblocks in zoning, permits, easements, financial hurdles related to developing the property, and more. Trying to accomplish this step without the help of a qualified civil engineer would be highly daunting, if not impossible.
The building construction stage is a very exciting step! By this point, you’ll have accomplished so much and can finally see your work coming to fruition. Start this step by acquiring quotes from several reputable contractors and vet out your choices by meeting them personally as well as calling on references. A franchisor will usually provide building plans and may even have an approved or required contractor, making this step much more efficient and less stressful. There will be endless details during construction, but a good franchisor and contractor can help you through each step.
Because your employees are the most essential asset to your business, quality hiring and training are vital to your success. Only hire those you feel would be “superstars” when it comes to customer service and work ethic. They will be the representative of your business to each customer, and your success depends on them.
You finally made it! It’s time to open your business and finally make that dream a reality! The opening is a rewarding time in your business’s life. All the months or years of hard work are finally showing their result. During the initial weeks of opening, you will be finding your footing managing the different aspects of running your business. Even at this stage, the ability to utilize professional help (such as accountants) to make your life and job more manageable can be hugely beneficial and will free up your time to pursue more ventures.
Just remember, you don’t need to have all the answers. In fact, it’s sometimes best if you don’t. Hire people who are better than you in those areas. Business ownership can be extremely rewarding and often comes with a wide range of benefits, including flexibility, independence, financial success, and a sense of accomplishment.
“Just start, don’t worry that you don’t have all the answers yet” -Alli Webb