Getting your startup off the ground is one of the most exciting times in the life of an entrepreneur. All the dreaming and planning and false starts and failures have finally led to the moment when the proverbial open sign lights up for the first time. You have finally arrived. Or at least, you have arrived at the starting line. The hard parts are still in front of you. But you don’t need to worry about any of that when you first get started. You want to have a smooth opening day and enjoy this moment where all your hard work has brought you. Go ahead. You deserve it.
But before you pop the cork on that bottle of Champaign, make sure you are setting yourself up for success so that you can avoid the mistakes of other startups. Thanks to your business plan, you have clear goals. But you also have to have the fortitude to stick to the plan even when things are taking a long time to develop. You can’t be tossed about by the winds of fate. Your business maturity has to be your anchor in the storm. Don’t start a business without it. Here are a few more things you will need on opening day:
Part of your business maturity is the realization that bad things happen at the least opportune times. That is because there are no opportune times for bad things to happen. You just have to be ready for whatever life throws at you. One of the best ways to be ready is to have excellent disability insurance. If you don’t have that insurance on day one, you are putting your new business in jeopardy.
Mishaps don’t wait until you have proper coverage. Opening day is a prime time for mishaps because you don’t quite have everything nailed down. It is more of a shake-down cruise to find where the weak spots are. Once found, you can begin the process of shoring them up. What happens if you find yourself disabled and unable to work at full capacity? What will that do for your income? What if you have to hire someone on an emergency basis to fill in for you? There is no reason for you to panic over every hypothetical situation. But you should be prepared for a few of them. The best, easiest, and most affordable way to be prepared is to have disability insurance before you allow a single customer to walk through the doors.
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One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to spend every penny of your initial round of funding when you first open. This is a little like not having insurance. If you do not have backup funding for cash flow, you are one unexpected event from being out of business before you can properly start.
If something catastrophic happens to your office, you are going to have to get the necessary repairs done as quickly as possible. It does not matter that you have insurance that will cover it. You are going to have to wait a while before getting a settlement of your claim. In the meantime, you need money to deal with the problem. Your business will not be instantly profitable. You need cash flow upfront. If it takes longer to reach profitability than you planned, you are going to need a second round of financing. You need to have that source of backup funding on speed dial before you spend a penny of the initial funding round.
The Right Technology
After you open your business is the wrong time to discover that you needed a gigabit connection instead of the cheapest consumer line you could get. You are going to need to start making transactions on day one. You can dig a pretty deep hole if you have to stop doing business and retool your tech. Some changes can’t be made overnight. It takes a while. So get your networking figured out before you bring your startup online.
Not every startup is destined for success. But yours can be if you do the following in advance: Get properly insured, procure backup funding, and settle your technology needs before you open for business.