Setting up your small business is no small feat. If you’ve recently gotten your business up and running, congratulations are definitely in order! But starting your business is just one of many steps as you start and grow your business. If you’ve been at it for a little while, you may have come across questions about how to run your business. Don’t worry — you’re not alone.
Running a small business can feel stressful and overwhelming at times, but ZenBusiness can help make the process easier. With products like our registered agent service and Worry Free Compliance service, we can help you to better manage and run your business and avoid business owner burnout in the long run.
Have a great small business and don’t know how best to manage it? Learn more about the legal and compliance tasks that are essential aspects of running a small business, as well as some additional tips that can help you succeed.
Table of Contents
- Key Considerations as You Manage Your Small Business
- Stay legally compliant
- Know what assets and equipment you need to run your business
- Manage your finances
- Create a marketing plan
- Small business taxes
- Hire and manage employees
- Close or sell your business
- ZenBusiness can help you with your small business management needs
Key Considerations as You Manage Your Small Business
A lot goes into managing your small business. In fact, many new business owners may not know where to begin and are surprised at how much work is required to effectively run a business.
At ZenBusiness, we are committed to helping you make your small business management as stress free as possible. Read on for some important information on steps to take to run your business and what ZenBusiness can do to help.
Stay legally compliant
Even after you formally register your business, it’s imperative that you stay legally compliant moving forward.
For example, most states will require you to file an annual or biennial report with the Secretary of State. Failure to comply with the requirements of your state may result in loss of standing and additional fines and fees to get back in good standing.
Keeping track of the requisite dates and deadlines can be a headache, but ZenBusiness can help you stay on track and better comply with the requirements of your state. When you sign up for our Worry Free Compliance service, our team will:
- Help you meet compliance deadlines and avoid making costly errors;
- Cover your annual/biennial report filing and up to two yearly amendments to help you stay in good standing with the state; and
- Send you alerts and updates to help you avoid missing your deadlines.
Staying legally compliant can feel like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Let us help you stay legally compliant so that you can focus on what matters most — growing your business! Learn more about our Worry Free Compliance services today.
Know what assets and equipment you need to run your business
No matter what type of business you own, there will be certain assets and equipment you need to effectively run your business. For example, your business might require:
- An office building,
- Office equipment, and
- Product inventory.
Depending on the specific needs and cash flow of your business, you might consider purchasing your assets and equipment outright, leasing them, or a combination of the two.
Determining your assets and equipment ahead of time is certainly important to ensure that you have what you need on hand to run your business. But more than that, keeping an accurate record of your assets and equipment is crucial to properly managing your finances and helping your business grow and thrive.
Manage your finances
Proper management of your business’s finances is imperative to the success of your business moving forward. In fact, it can be near impossible to sustain a business without accurate financial accounting and management.
This is true now more than ever as businesses nationwide must rely on careful financial planning to maximize cash flow as they continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
Most entrepreneurs know that keeping track of business assets and revenue is important, but don’t forget to carefully account for your expenses and liabilities as well. Otherwise, you risk spending more money than your business is able to bring in, which can quickly reverse any initial gains you may have made.
There are three core documents that are typically used to evaluate a business’s financial standing:
- Balance sheets,
- Income statements, and
- Statements of cash flow.
If you’re a very new business owner, you may start keeping track of your business’s finances on your own. However, as your business grows, it can be extremely beneficial to hire an accounting manager or bookkeeping service to handle your finances moving forward.
Understandably, many business owners want to have a significant role in every facet of their business. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that having an independent party track your finances can result in more accurate financial reporting and management, all while saving you valuable time and money in the long run.
Create a marketing plan
After you start your business, the key to continued growth and success is often marketing.
A comprehensive marketing plan will address items such as:
- Key metrics on how to quantify success
- Target market
- Customer demographics
- What sets your product or service apart from competitors
- Sales goals
- Sales strategy to achieve those goals
Marketing your small business is no easy feat. But a great marketing plan can make your goals more attainable and allow you to reach a wider audience more effectively.
As a new small business owner, it might seem counterintuitive to put money into marketing when you’re still learning and growing. However, allocating a portion of your budget specifically for marketing purposes can ultimately help you increase your client base. In turn, this will allow your business to increase its revenue much more efficiently.
Small business taxes
There are many different types of business entities that you could decide to form. Common entity types include:
- Sole proprietorship
- General partnership
- Limited liability company (LLC)
Each entity type will have its differences and various pros and cons, but there is one thing that all businesses will have in common: taxes.
No matter what type of entity structure you select for your small business, you will have to meet your federal, state, and local tax obligations. Failure to do so can get your business in hot water with the IRS and local authorities. Thus, to successfully run your business, it’s imperative that your business accurately track and comply with its tax obligations.
The primary small business taxes you may need to be aware of include:
- Income tax
- Property tax
- Sales tax
- Self-employment tax
- Employment and payroll tax
- Excise tax
Each state will have different guidelines and requirements for certain taxes, so it’s a good idea to contact a certified public accountant (CPA) in your state.
Hire and manage employees
As you run your business, you also need to have a basic understanding of best practices when it comes to hiring and managing employees.
But before you actually hire anyone, first think about what type of workers might work best for your business structure. Types of workers that you might consider hiring include:
- Full-time employees,
- Part-time employees,
- Freelancers, and
- Independent contractors.
You might think that what you call your workers won’t have much of an impact on your business. However, the way in which you classify your workers will actually impact many decisions for the business moving forward.
For example, how you classify a worker can impact:
- The number of hours that person can work per week;
- How they are taxed; and
- Whether and to what extent the worker is entitled to benefits.
Classifying workers for your business might seem like an easy decision, but you need to give this decision the attention it deserves. You need to follow specific rules and procedures with respect to different worker classifications. It’s important to classify workers in a manner that is consistent with how your business will operate.
Once you decide how to classify your workers, consider what documents you will need to get them up and running. Below are some examples of documents you may want to provide to your new hires:
- Employment contract,
- New employee handbook,
- Company policies and procedures,
- Employee benefit information,
- Non-compete agreement, and
- Intellectual property agreement.
These types of documents can certainly help protect your business. But more importantly, they can provide a framework with clear expectations, which can enable you to more effectively and easily manage your employees from the start.
Close or sell your business (a.k.a. dissolution)
Nothing lasts forever, and this applies to most businesses as well. There may come a time when you decide it’s time to take a step back and close or sell your business. There are a number of reasons why you might decide to close up shop:
- A new business opportunity,
- Business owner burnout,
- Bankruptcy, or
Whatever the reason may be, don’t let this diminish the success of the business you built.
However, closing or selling your business isn’t as simple as just closing the doors — it will take a bit of work. Before selling or closing your business, you need to:
- Obtain a preliminary valuation of your business;
- Get a full accounting of the business’s liabilities and debts; and
- Gather all business formation documents and any other documents related to the operations of the business.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the precise information and steps necessary to formally close your business will depend on what type of business entity you initially formed.
Dissolving your business entity can be emotional, as it often feels like the end of an era. Nevertheless, it’s important to follow the proper steps and requirements, as failure to do so may result in legal ramifications.
ZenBusiness can help you with your small business management needs
If you’re a new business owner, you know just how difficult it can be to run a business. And while it would be great if there were a universal instruction manual on how to manage a business, this just isn’t the reality.
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no single best way to run your business. All entrepreneurs will have questions at one point or another on how to start, manage, or grow their business. Fortunately, ZenBusiness is here to answer your questions and provide valuable assistance when you need it.
ZenBusiness provides the tools and resources you need to start your dream business. Learn more about our services, and see what we can do to help you manage and grow your business today.
Managing Your Business FAQs
How do I create a small business idea?
A small business idea can come from a variety of places — sometimes even when you’re least expecting it. Often, the best ideas will come from looking internally and planning a business that you can center around your own skills or passions. Other times, great business ideas will come from looking at the market data and trends. You might consider starting a business that has a large demand but that doesn’t currently exist in your area.
How do I create a startup plan?
There is no one single way to create your startup plan. What’s important is that you make one. You want your business startup plan to cover everything from your structure to funding and everything in between. It’s also important to describe any goals for your startup and how you plan to accomplish those goals.
What is the easiest business to plan?
In truth, there is no such thing as an “easy” business to plan. Creating any type of business will take a lot of hard work, detailed planning, and determination. At ZenBusiness, we provide fast, low-cost, and personalized services to help you plan, start, and grow your business. No matter what type of business you plan to create, ZenBusiness can make the process easier, quicker, and worry free.
How do I make my LLC successful?
If you’re a new business owner, you probably want to know how to run your business successfully. While there is no single answer to how to manage a business, the key to success often lies in careful and detailed planning before you ever get your business up and running. If you’re in the early stages of creating a business, check out our guide on how to plan your business today.