Understanding the Challenges of Starting Your Own Business

Washington D.C. business lawyers receive variations of the following call or email frequently.

“Mr. Strisik, I have been working for Acme Widgets for 5 years. I am tired of working for someone else and want to launch an idea I have had. Can you please help me draft the paperwork to get started? Where do we begin?”

Here are the most common issues I advise my clients they must work through prior to moving forward.

1. Motivation – to be clear, I ask my clients whether they are at a career dead end and are acting out of desperation. Starting a new business should not be the solution to everything else not working. Rather, the new business should be the result of fulfillment of long-term goals, aspirations and planning.

2. Skill sets – at the beginning, entrepreneurs must wear numerous hats. They will be in charge of finance, accounting, human resources, sales and marketing, secretarial/administrative and technical support. Washington D.C. business lawyer meet hundreds of self-starters who are not always meant to undertake these varied roles.

3. Personality – most people know whether they are an introvert or extrovert. What they do not know, however, is how “big picture” and “detail oriented” they truly are until they launch into business ownership. The question I ask my clients is how they will plan the 24 hours in their day when nobody else is planning it for them. Accountability is a key to being a self-starter.

4. Professional goals – a 20 year veteran dentist came to me to launch her career in practice consulting. She wanted to spend more time with her children, who were all in grade school. About a year down the path, she had nearly forgotten to align her professional goals with the personal goals she set out with.

5. Financial goals – numbers, numbers, numbers. What look like good numbers to one person may look like poor numbers to another. I always ask my clients to project 1, 2 and 5 years down the line of financials in order to determine whether their financial goals will be met.

6. Financial capacity – a common trap for new business owners is capitalization of their business. Given that it could take years to turn a true profit, there must be clarity about how much can comfortably be invested to reach that milestone. It costs money to make money. The question is how much it will take before one must stop the bleeding.

7. Decision-making ability – the transition from corporate America to small business ownership means difficult decisions will no longer be made for you – but by you. I ask my clients whether they can often take the emotion out of a difficult situation in order to make a decision that is in the best interest of the business (rather than in the best interest of the individual).

Contact Strisik Law today if you are planning to start a business in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. At the outset of our conversations, it will be useful for me to give practical legal advice that will lead you towards financial success. Referring to the above checklist early and often will help us determine whether you are ready to proceed.

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