From just a few scribbles on a piece of paper to one day a living breathing business. It’s only human nature to become attached to the business you created from scratch. From the humble beginnings of getting ‘who?’ and ‘what?’ at the mere mention of your idea and enterprise to now being a known player in the industry. It’s not easy dragging up from the bottom to get noticed let alone just survive. The shakey years of birth may be over, but if you are still living by your business in the name and personal responsibility, you still haven’t crossed the rickety bridge over to safety. And in the end, that’s what we all want with our creations isn’t’ it? If you love something, let it go or in other words, allow it to flourish without you being tied to its hips. There will come a time when not only does it make legal and financial sense, but emotive sense to run the business as a single entity. You should absolutely take pride in having your name scored across it, but too much pride can suffocate the company you’re trying to swell.
Plastering yourself everywhere
At the beginning choosing to plaster yourself all over your business in every area makes sense. It’s vital that you do grab the business by the scruff of the neck and force it to go in a direction you want. This takes fortitude and willpower to make sure the business stays on the tracks through the hiccups and unforeseen problems that spring out of nowhere. It’s very easy to want to become the face, i.e. image, of the business itself. But take a gander at the landscape of larger businesses around the world. They’re more than just one person; even the CEOs must not become the irreplaceable look of a corporation. It’s very one dimensional and has all the markings of a small enterprise when a company’s mascot and encompassing image is the owner him or herself.
Don’t incorporate your face and or body in the company logo. It may seem far-fetched, but many small businesses want to appear friendly and take on the ‘mom and pop’ shop kind of effigy. If you can help it, try not to use your name for the name of the company itself. However, there are worldwide examples of this such as Harley Davidson, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari etc. However to become a household and worldwide recognised name, it takes time, and you never know what kind of scandals might occur to the business along the way. Do you really want your name attached to something that is now infamous?
Room to breathe
As interest in the business grows, so to do the demands. The more and more your client base begins to increase, the more diverse the level of interaction. Picture the scene if you will. Sifting through your papers and email message one day, you come across a high-level client; it could be a large business, a wealthy individual or perhaps even a government contractor. They want you to do some work for them. The more they explain what they want, the more challenging and exciting it starts to appear. In your own time, you do a little research on who they are and in terms of one business to another, their size and power as compared to you. It will dawn on you to respect their capabilities as opposed to the ones you lack. They more and likely have a strong legal team and have the resources and organisational structures to protect themselves as well as legally attack those they wish.
In every small enterprise’s life, there will come a time when there will need to be a professional schism. A sole trader who is what you are in the beginning means your business, and you are not separate entities. You are liable for anything that goes wrong with the business personally. The key here is the word ‘personally’. You are financially and legally, personally responsible for the actions of your business. Company formation is a process that births your business as a standalone entity. It requires you to register your business as a limited company which can be done on www.yourcompanyformations.co.uk. As to what kind of limited liabilities you choose to have whether it be to private partners, shareholders, guarantees etc., is up to you. The process for each is similar, but the end state is obviously not. Supplying you with breathing space, your business can now be seen as a distinct legal entity. Your assets, finances and legal rights are not linked to what happens with the business up to a point such as corruption etc.
Keep a lid on your ego
Nothing in business is more self-serving than hogging the limelight as the founder and director of a company. Stay clear of video advertisements and let the actors do all the hard work for you. Selling a product is almost as complex as the push is behind making them in the first place. Characters in advertisements that fit the descriptions of your target consumers are much more attractive than the founder of the business trying to ‘fit in’ with them. Even though your heart may be in the right place, take a back seat and refrain your appearances in the spotlight to conferences and interviews. Internet culture is rapidly shifting, and it’s almost unrecognisable from one form to the next. Too many business leaders want to be some kind of cult figure and yearn to be made into a living meme to garner views, notoriety and therefore sales. As with modern online culture, everything has its short run and then gets old and stale. Limiting yourself to this kind of ‘shot in the arm’ publicity is going to hurt your image in the long run.
You should be wanting for your creation to overtake you as an entity. After all, that’s why we start businesses in the back of our minds. We want to leave behind a legacy that hopefully will be able to continue on after we’ve passed on.