Starting a Business – What I Learned…

The idea of starting a business can be equally as scary as it is exciting.

The good news is…

It doesn’t have to be scary. I started my own landscaping business four years ago and I can safely say it is the best thing I ever did. But I am fully aware running a business won’t be for everyone.

What I can do though is talk about my own experience, what I have learned, and where to start.

So let’s begin…

Do Your Research

The first thing I did was to research both the landscaping industry and the area I lived in to see how viable starting my own business was.

Most businesses use professional landscaping firms and also report that the sector was expected to experience steady growth until the mid-to-late 2020s.

As for government-mandated regulations, do proper research and make sure you comply with everything. There could be regulations that you couldn’t consider to be part of your business. For example, if you are from the EU, complying with the GDPR is crucial. You can visit this site to get in touch with a GDPR consulting team to learn how personal data security is applicable in this line of business.

Define Your Business

A landscaping business is a broad term that can cover several different activities. I knew that as a new business, and starting out as a one-man-band, I could not reasonably cover everything.

I began by providing a simple lawn mowing/seeding and pruning and hedging service. As time went on, and I acquired new clients, I was not only able to expand the services I provide but also employ my own staff to cope with the increased demand.

Anyone starting their own business will need to do the same, define clearly the services on offer and how they will be delivered.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

I found that landscapers are not required by law to have any formal qualifications to work in the field. However, I did have plenty of hands-on experience and numerous qualifications and certifications from previous roles.

This is something it is important to investigate when considering starting a new business, are there certain qualifications needed? If you don’t have the experience is there a college or vocational school you can attend?

Marketing Yourself

Marketing encompasses many different avenues and doesn’t stop once you’ve got your name out there. You need to keep your customers happy, so your customer service needs to be high quality. Through data and message orchestration, you can guide your customers along a journey, from initial contact to point of sale. And it doesn’t stop there great marketing will ensure your customers come back to use your services time after time. For that, you might want to incorporate a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system, or something similar, that would be designed to improve relationships with existing customers, find new potential customers and win back former customers. A crm software can help you collect, organize, and manage customer information all in one place. Along with these, you can also consider contacting your previous customers via email newsletters, and social media too.

Financing Your Business

Undoubtedly one of the most daunting aspects of starting a business is financing it.

First things first, create a business plan. Work out the costs of anything that needs to be purchased and the levies for any licenses that need to be obtained. Then factor in running expenses for six months with minimal to no returns.

I used some of my own personal savings to start my business, and I mean ‘some’. Banks are also willing to provide capital for new business, however, this has its pros and cons.

The major downside is that often an asset will need to be attached that the bank can recover if repayments are not honored.

The upside is it means you are not using personal savings and occasionally if banks are presented with a really solid business plan they will offer you an unsecured loan. That means no assets will be seized if you fail to repay the loan.

Legal Requirements

Registering a business legally makes it a much more attractive and credible proposition for both potential customers and financial institutions. Essentially a new business is likely to fall into one of three categories: a sole proprietorship; a general partnership; a limited liability company.

Each has its own pros and cons which are worth researching.

In terms of legality, you will also need to think about how many implications your business could have. For example, if you are starting a restaurant business then food safety is your biggest legal contender, you will need to be sorting out things l to keep food stored safely and cleanly, labels to keep an eye on dates, and the use of gloves and hairnets whilst handling the food.

It is vital to assess each business individually so that you do not create any legal implications.

Tax and Insurance

It is a legal requirement in the US to file periodic tax returns. To do so I needed to obtain a Tax Identification Number from the IRS, and, when I took on employees, I needed to get an Employer’s Identification Number from the IRS. This is to ensure that we were paying all due tax correctly, to help hopefully prevent the need for tax resolution in the future. Still, if there is a need at least there are ways to fix things.

Anyway, different states have different tax requirements, local state offices will be able to give specific details.

Also, a solid insurance policy is a must too. A reputable insurance broker should be able to offer professional guidance.

In a nutshell…

Setting up a business requires a lot of time, planning and effort. It is a big commitment but is something I have never regretted and remains the best decision I have ever made.

Good luck!

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