If you’re feeling the itch to start your own company, make sure you’re aware of these lessons beforehand.
5 Things Every Startup Owner Should Know
1. The law will come to bite you
You have an idea and you want to make it happen, like, now—but cool your engines, turbo. If you launch your startup too soon, without walking through all the bureaucratic red tape beforehand, you can be out of business before your first sale.
There are a number of essential business law tips you’ll need to be mindful of before launching your startup. Are your contracts airtight? Building up to code? Documentation in order? Navigating the complex sea of business law isn’t fun by any means, but it’s absolutely critical if you want to stay out of hot trouble with your local, state, and federal regulating agencies. You should consider having a business lawyer on retainer for times when you need legal advice on the fly.
2. SEO is your soul
Some people fall asleep at night thinking about how they can solve world hunger; as an owner of a startup, your thoughts will be consumed by how you can get your business a little higher up on Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Why? The closer you are to the top of the SERP, the more likely you are to receive traffic from matching a user’s search intent. And the ticket to the top all lies in search engine optimization (SEO).
The importance of SEO marketing for startups can’t be stressed enough. For starters, SEO leads have a much better closing rate (14.6%) than direct mail or print ad campaigns (1.7%). The reason being, most consumers hate advertisements and avoid them at all costs, but SEO efforts—such as on-site keyword optimization and backlink building— are organic and natural.
Another benefit of SEO marketing is that it’s usually significantly cheaper than paid-for, sponsored advertising. You can consult local SEO services for strategy creation and implementation, or if you have a little technological know-how, you can apply best SEO practices and tinker with your site all by yourself!
3. You’ll need to make more friends
No, not the type of friends you can unwind with over a drink after a long day at the office. We’re talking about friends on all of your business social media profiles. That’s right—love it or hate it, you’ll need to become a lot more popular as a startup owner. If you dismiss social media’s impact on business, you’ll be making a big mistake.
Head over to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yelp (if you haven’t done so already), as well as any industry-specific social media platforms, and register your business page. Learn how to find appropriate hashtags and wield them to attract more views. Post interesting, shareable content regularly, but not too excessively to the point that you’re blowing up people’s feeds. If you don’t have the finesse quite right, think about bringing a social media manager on board.
Even if you have an established fan base, you’ll still need to engage with them on a continual basis. There are so many brands and corporations vying for their attention, so don’t get lost in the commotion by being too quiet. That doesn’t mean broadcasting ads or deals for your business each day, but rather trying to match with them on a personal level. Q&As, giveaways, and brief glimpses into your company culture all have been known to increase interest and engagement. Don’t be afraid to let them peek behind the curtain a bit, it’s easier to connect to a business if they believe that they know you personally.
4. Taxes are a major headache
You already know how excruciating tax season can be as an individual filer; add “small business owner” to that formula, and prepare to have your world turned upside down. There are so many federal tax obligations applied to businesses, and which ones you’ll be responsible for depends on a number of factors including (but not limited to) how your business is structured, what you sell, and who you employ.
In most cases, you’ll be required to deposit quarterly estimated deposits as opposed to the single annual return you’ve been used to. That means taxes are a year-round ball game and you, my friend, have front row seats. If you’re doing your bookkeeping and accounting all by yourself, it’s absolutely imperative that you keep detailed business documents in the event that you’re ever audited.
5. The stress is so worth it
Launching a startup is not for the faint of heart, but hopefully, these warnings didn’t scare you away. It’s important to be fully aware of everything you’re diving into and to shake any notions that owning a business is a walk in the park—it’s not! But all that stress is so unbelievably worth it once you get past the initial heavy lifting and can enjoy being your own boss of a flourishing business.
Remember, it’s always easier to come into work each day when it’s your passion! Your business is your baby, and it means you have a chance to shape it into something beautiful. You can have full control over the people you hire, the company culture, and the big ideas that’ll grow your company over time. If you decide to go for it, put your head down, pour in all your energy, and give it all your attention. It won’t be long until you can stand up, step back, and take a look at the impressive accomplishment you created!