5 Step Venture eMentoring Program™
Session 5: Business Launch & Monitor Progress
Am I prepared to launch the new venture and monitor and control operations once started?
The first part of Step 5 is the final preparation for launch. There are a number of issues to be aware of - some may not concern your part-time venture, but you should review the check list and make note of anything that could pertain to your operation. Here is a case where "better safe than sorry" takes real meaning - as non-compliance can have unwanted, inconvenient or even legal ramifications.
Once you have actually started operations, it is critical that you monitor your progress so that you know if everything is on track - or not. If not, you want to know this as quickly as possible so that you can take corrective action! The point is, you went to the trouble to develop your budget - so now use it. The budget is the most important tool available to help make sure that you are making money versus loosing money. After all, you wanted to start this adventure to provide additional income - make sure that it does this for you rather than using up your own assets. The second part of Step 5 is a check list to make sure that things are proceeding as planned. Make sure that you use this tool and don't put it off until timing is convenient. It will never be convenient, so just plan to do it as part of your business operation.
Prepare To Launch
All of the work you have done so far is to prepare for what you may have thought would be your first activity - opening for business. Even now, though, there is more information you may need to gather and other issues to prepare for before you are actually ready to "open the doors." The Business Readiness Checklist will help you to identify what these final issues may be. There may be business licensing, zoning requirements, occupancy permits, or other state and local requirements that you will have to comply with. Don't forget about or ignore the need for risk prevention and insurance. Your business development resource provider, your lawyer, or accountant will help you with the specifics. The point is, be prepared - otherwise you may be shut down even before you start.
Regulations and Other Compliance Issues
Depending on the nature of your business, there may be various permits and licenses you need to obtain before you can "open for business." These are not normally difficult to obtain. However, if you neglect to apply for them in time, they can become a serious hold-up to your operation.
The place to start is the town or city hall for the area where your business will be located. They will inform you of local regulations. You can check with your regional planning commission for other area regulations and requirements. The trade association for your type of business can inform you of state and regional requirements for your particular industry. The local SBDC office will normally have a list of regulations for different types of business. Your lawyer can be a final resource once you have pursued the no-cost avenues. Investigate these resources early in the development process so you won't unknowingly create a problem for yourself.
Labor laws and regulations ranging from minimum wage, employing juveniles, hours, sexual harassment and other issues can represent serious problems if not properly addressed. The local Department of Labor office can provide much valuable advice. A payroll service can be a valuable resource to help with many of these issues as well. Work place safety is governed by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules and regulations, and other safety issues by Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) rules and regulations. Much valuable advice is available through their web sites and from their local/regional offices.
The public sector programs are listed at www.BUZGate.org. Here you will find the listing for your local regional planning commission, various trade associations and local SBDC office. The Secretary of State office for your state or Department of Economic Development may have a list of state and local regulations as well.
Now - on to 5a: Managing Business Risk