In yoga they say that building your core is one of the most important things you need to do in order to keep going. I say, that if you are in business without a strong core, you are just asking the universe for chaos.
Core /kôr/ - The central or most important part of something.
Here is my list of non-negotiables in business aka my core builders. These are probably the ONLY things I believe EVERY single business must do. If you are exchanging money, honey, you need to pay attention.
Ask yourself, are my gates up?
This means paying attention to the legal and financial details that matter. For example: Are you requiring signed agreements in order to work 1:1 with you? Does your website have a terms and conditions that your customers see before they purchase? Do you have a refund policy that is clearly visible? Do I have signed agreements with the contractors/staff I work with?
Many newbies (and oldies who just don't know any better) will just skip over this part. Well, I guess you CAN skip over it but if you do, expect it to come back to you down the line in the form of a payment dispute.
Do you have a safety net?
For the first few months you are in business, you'll most likely be carrying your overhead and not making much money. My rule of thumb is to sock away 1/4 of all payments into a business savings account. Take the other 3/4's and pay taxes, bills/overhead and give yourself a steady paycheck. Your paycheck may be small to begin with but there should always be something you sock away for future expansion. Every single business owner should be doing this.
Here is a little biz secret. Businesses are NOT profitable unless you can pay the bills (taxes and overhead) AND sock money away for future use. Click here for an excellent and easy to understand explanation on this. Just like Stever says, profit is how much money you have left after you get your revenue and pay your expenses.
Another biggie to be aware of is your business Paypal account is NOT your bank account. It's also not for personal stuff. The reason? Well first, it makes it easier for your accounting system (aka Linda in accounting) to do her job. Second, is because the IRS loves to audit small businesses and the bigger the web, the harder it is to untangle from it. Part of putting on your big business pants is getting a business bank account and separating your personal Paypal from your business. It's about finally taking your business serious.
What else falls under my biz non-negotiables list?
- Getting Legal (Licenses, taxes, all the things you should know BEFORE you start.)
- Fences (Agreements for your clients and asking for them from people who provide a service to you.)
- Financials (Banking, cash flow, profit expectations, payments, fees and record keeping.)
- Business Model or Plan. (A post-it note or 10 pager will do, your choice)
If you want to be a magical friggen business unicorn, make sure your core is strong enough to bounce any enemy off your six-pack of business abs.
I may or may not have actual six-pack abs, but you better believe your hiney that my business does.