flight-1245695_1280.jpgI recently had the pleasure of attending David Durick of Paychex’s workshop at the Small Business Expo 2016 in San Diego. David, a 32-year business veteran, has worked mainly in business to business throughout his career but almost exclusively with small business, five to ten employees.  David spearheads BuildMyBiz.com for Paychex and presented 10 critical steps to building and protecting a business.

  1. Choose a legal structure
  2. Build your team
  3. Create a business plan
  4. Find financing
  5. Put yourself on payroll
  6. Market your business online
  7. Collect payments
  8. Keep track of financials
  9. Protect your intellectual property (IP)
  10. Minimize risk with contracts

One of the most important pieces of advice that David discussed was that, as business owners, “it’s more important what you say NO to than your what you say YES to.” Focus on getting your startup launched properly and do not get diverted. Taking a checklist approach is helpful. Try Traklight’s free checklist here. Overall planning, not just business planning, is critical component of any successful venture.

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The ten steps above are not the only steps, nor are they magical steps. However, you need to start with your purpose. What is the reason for your business to exist? What are you offering, for whom, and how are you doing this better than your competitors?  If you can articulate this, you have your value proposition or elevator speech. Formulating your unique value is a critical component and must be done before you start building your business.

David has seen patterns of behavior by successful and unsuccessful businesses over his career, and many fail because they try to do too much too fast. Use a methodical checklist approach to approach the necessary steps. And further to the discussion of startup failures, there is a bit of a misconception around the rate of failure. The statistics show that if a startup survives the first two years, they have a fifty percent chance of success. So it’s really failure to launch properly that is the problem.

Also, approach your startup as not being a special snowflake. Every company has the same issues; the steps are universal. Consider a small step approach to launching as well. David discussed doing small beta tests or prototypes with a sample population before you invest heavily in product development or inventory. It may seem counterintuitive to some of the crazy success stories about companies like Uber or Twitter, but remember, those are outliers. Slow and steady wins the race!

We will examine each of the ten steps in more detail over the next five weeks. Meanwhile, head over to Traklight’s Build My Biz checklist here.  Start with the free Business Risk Assessment and see how Paychex’s partners can help you get started on the right track with your business. #onwards.

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