Many small start-up companies are run by people who have the vision to create new products or the entrepreneurial foresight to take a new idea to market. For many people whose skills lie in innovation and pioneering, the details of running a business can stand in the way of their creativity. However, an unwillingness or an inability to deal with the ins and outs of business administration is no excuse for failing to put processes in place to ensure that a business is being run according to all relevant legislation.
Once a company goes beyond the scope of just one or two people, conforming to a range of different regulations becomes increasingly important. From ensuring that your accounts are all kept up to date and that the correct level of tax is being paid, to keeping track of your stock and managing your orders, the importance of accurate record keeping cannot be underestimated. While it may be easy to overlook certain aspects of business management, ignorance is no defence and if you do not have systems in place to manage your company’s affairs then you could fall foul of regulatory bodies or even the law.
One of the most important elements to running a business is ensuring that you comply with all relevant legislation and it can be easier to outsource some functions that would otherwise take up resources from within the company. Accountancy firms can help you to keep your financial affairs in order, designers can be brought in to help you realise your vision when it comes to producing a website or product packaging and almost any other aspect of running a business can be handed over to experts. However this can be costly, particularly for small businesses, so striking a balance between doing it yourself and using those who have experience in the field can be difficult.
A good compromise is to use purpose built software such as HR systems for small business owners. This allows you to benefit from HR expertise but at a lower cost than employing HR specialists yourself. The packages also allow businesses to manage their data effectively without having to rely on agencies or external consultants.
Ask for advice
There is plenty of information and advice out there for people who are going into business for themselves and much of it is completely free. If you have any questions, many topics are covered by government websites which are a useful source of information on the legal side of running a business. For more complex situations, it is always worth consulting an expert in order to minimise the risk of making a mistake which could prove costly further down the line.
You have a duty to protect any staff you may employ and it is also good business practice to protect yourself against some of the most common problems faced by small businesses. Depending on your industry, there may be specific legislation with which you will need to conform, guidelines for best practice issued by a regulator, or just common sense measures which you can take to ensure you are doing everything by the book. So do your research and ensure you aren’t exposing yourself to potential problems in the future.