Your Lawyer, Your Banker, Your Accountant... oh my!
Forget the financial roller coaster, it is the “treading water” feeling that keeps me up at night.
What have I forgotten? Am I feeding my pipeline enough? What mistake will I make tomorrow? Is this really a viable business? When will I get paid?
The questions seem endless, clutter the mind and eat up valuable time.
I hope that I am not alone with these thoughts. I am pretty sure that I am not.
How do you de-clutter? Can you?
I do it by writing things down, my checklists of sorts. Here is my checklist for legal and quasi-legal things to do to if you're laying the ground work to start a new business (which is not all-inclusive, just the highlights):
- Get a good lawyer, banker and accountant
- Get a GST number
- Set financial targets for the first 3, 6 and 12 months - be realistic and build in flexibility
- Set goals for the next 3 and 5-year time horizons - build in lots of flexibility
- Look long and hard at whether you and your family can afford the effort - not just financially, but the time, emotion and stress levels.
- What systems, products, IT and services need to be sourced to run the business?
- Do you need insurance? What kind of insurance? CGL, Auto, PE&O, WCB?
- If you are going to have employees, consider payroll and necessary workplace policies
- Get advice on protecting yourself, incorporating or setting up the company, and annual corporate filing requirements - talk to your lawyer
- Get advice on how to protect your assets: your services, your products, your brand and intellectual property - talk to your lawyer
- Get advice on your corporation’s regulatory compliance obligations - privacy, CASL, competition, etc. - talk to your lawyer
- Get advice on creating a start up budget and where to get that money - talk to your banker
- Get advice on your first-year tax strategy, not just corporate taxes, but personal taxes too - talk to your accountant
Invariably your inquiries with your lawyer, your banker and your accountant will led to more questions.
Perhaps most importantly, find someone to talk to and talk a lot. Talk about your fears, frustrations, successes and goals. Starting a new business will likely impact your family, your finances and your mental stability!
Perhaps equally important, evaluate if you have the personality to be an entrepreneur or business owner. There is nothing wrong with saying “no” I am not cut out for this!