When I first started my business, I was 16 years old.
Back then I didn’t even think about legal structures, leases and taxes….until I had to and that cost me!
No matter how great your business idea, you can’t be ignorant about business law. Yeah, Sara Blakely might get away with a few fines because she has the cash to pay them, but until you can afford a crew of super lawyers, you’d better watch out for legal traps yourself.
5 Things Women Entrepreneurs Should Do Before Starting a Business In 2016
1. Decide on a business structure
The business structure is the basic skeleton of your business – it defines the shape, reporting, taxes and growth of your business. There is no one right business structure that can fit all women. Depending on your goals, idea and resources you can choose between:
- sole trader
Note: A franchise is not a business structure, but rather a form of business. If you decide to franchise you’ll still need to make the business structure decision.
Don’t register anything until you have evaluated the pros and cons of each business structure!
2. Protect your idea
You don’t need to be Oprah kind of genius to need a trademark and copyright on any work you do. Even the About page of your website must belong to you if you wrote the copy.
Given how smart women are, the chances are that your idea is really amazing. Maybe you need to get a patent for it? Trust me, even the sauce you put on your signature salad is worth a patent, so why not look into protecting your idea before sharing it with the whole world?
3. Get licenses
Every business needs a license even of it’s a service, home based business, freelance practice or a design studio. It really doesn’t matter – you need a business license. That’s what most women entrepreneurs get wrong – starting without getting the papers first.
You waited for 30 years to start the business, so please, please wait another few days and get all your papers in order before commencing operations.
In case you’re thinking of going big or international, or you’re going to do business in a complex industry (if you want to do giveaways, that already makes it complex) do the due research for all the regulations that you need to keep. I don’t want you to end up closed by inspectors on opening day.
4. Find a venue
From legal perspective, the point isn’t so much where exactly you’re going to conduct business but rather is it going to be online or offline. Or maybe both?
There are many pros and cons to starting an online and offline business alike. You need to consider what’s the best option for your particular skill set, resources and idea. Just because everyone opens an online store nowadays doesn’t mean you should do it too. You’re your own woman!
5. Create your support group
The most important lesson I learned for almost 30 years in business is that we women do it much better when we support each other. Being a woman entrepreneur means building a strong support group of your lawyer, accountant, marketing geek and assistant that will become like family to you.
Make sure you chose wisely and you create first legally binding and then emotionally rich relationships with those people. they’ll help you out in your darkest times and will make being a woman entrepreneur much easier.
Did you like this blog post? Then you’ll love this:
If you have an amazing business idea but no money to spend on lawyers, this practical course that covers all these 5 aspects is what you need to start a legally sexy business in 2016 (and make more money by using the law to your advantage).
p.s. It is not the intention of this post to discriminate on the basis of gender. The tips included here are equally important for every entrepreneur and will help every start up become a legally compliant entity while avoiding legal trouble. Women and men alike are welcome to connect and talk sexy legal stuff!