Small Business Management Tips to Get Your Creative Business off to a Good Start

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4 small business management tips everyone can and should do to get your creative business started on a good footing.

1. Get a Business Bank Account

A business bank account will allow you to keep your business and personal finances separate. If you set this up from the start, you will be quite pleased with yourself because all of your business bookkeeping will be so much easier to deal with.

Opening a business bank account is a step you can take right away, even if you're not ready to start your business immediately. You can use this account to save up some seed money to launch your business when you are ready.

2. Determine How Much Money You Will Need to Get Started

On the subject of saving up seed money to launch your business, determine approximately how much it will cost to get your business up and running. The costs you will incur will vary depending on the type of business you want to launch, but there will be expenses. If you've done your best to think through all of the expenses you'll incur, you can minimize the chance of ugly financial surprises.

Some expenses you might incur when you start your craft business include: 

  • fees for registering a business 
  • business insurance 
  • professional development training
  • marketing materials
  • website development
  • equipment 
  • raw materials
  • craft show fees, which are typically due well before the show date
  • display booth furniture
  • craft tent

Typically you can start a craft business on a tight budget, which is what makes it appealing to some people. However, you will need some funds to get started. Finding money for your business may involve some risk, so you want to be extremely savvy about your spending. Your start up money may come from: savings, small business loans, credit cards, income from your day job, small business grants (check your local Chamber of Commerce), crowd funding, or taking on a partner.

3. Ensure You Are Compliant With Local Laws

Research your own local laws as they relate to your business. This kind of research is best done face to face, not on the phone, and definitely not online.

There's a reason why I never post specific advice about the legalities of running your business. It's because, in my opinion, it would be completely irresponsible. I strongly believe this type of information must come directly from the source, not from some random person online who isn't an expert in your local laws. 

Before you go in to your your local Chamber of Commerce or other small business development office, call first. Be very clear about exactly what your business will involve, and ask who in that office takes care of business owners like you. Make an appointment to meet with that person.

Make the most of your meeting by doing some research and preparation first. Go into your meeting ready with a list of questions you need answered. Near the end of meetings like this, I like to ask the person if there's anything I didn't ask about that I should ask about. That question will help trigger their memory if there's any important topic we didn't cover. Sometimes you don't know all of the questions you should be asking.

When you do this kind of business research, make note of who you spoke to, when you spoke to them, and what they told you. If you're looking for answers to something that's complex or could have big consequences for your business, ask the person to write down their answer or email you the details. That way, you'll have the information in writing should you ever have a problem. At the very minimum, if you can't get answers in writing, make you own notes. Keep them, and file them where you'll be able to find them if needed.

4. Talk to Your Insurance Provider

Pile of yellow rubber ducks. Text - Start Your Business off Right - 4 simple tasks to get your ducks in a row and start your business off right.

In addition to exploring your need for business insurance, it's important to be aware that starting a new business may have implications for your personal insurance. If you're using your home for business activities, that use might affect your personal insurance. 

I'm not an insurance expert, so I can't advise you on this issue specifically. Just as you will do when you research your local business laws, go to the source to research your insurance needs as a new business owner. You can start with your current insurance provider, and go from there. He or she may be able to tell you everything you need to know, or, depending on the nature of your business, you may need to follow up with a more specialized insurance provider.

Getting the elements of business management in order right from the start will put your new craft business on good footing. It will allow you to focus on the more creative elements of growing your business, secure in the knowledge that you've got a good foundation under your business.

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