Entrepreneurship Endeavors Part 2 of 4: Getting Your Business off the Ground

SiliconBayou_2013_11_08Last week in the first part of our series on starting a business in New Orleans, we covered launching a NOLA business. This week, we discuss your very first week of work! Be sure to check in again next week for part 3, where we prepare for your company’s first tax season.

The initial work is done—you have a business plan, a great concept, office space and you’ve even registered your LLC. Now the real work begins.

You might feel like the world is spinning when you step into that office for the first day as the boss of your own company. So now what do you do?

Regardless of what type of company you start, you need to figure out your revenue stream. If you don’t have a client list, or some sort of cash flow, now is the time to develop these.

There is no set formula on how to build a client list, but there are techniques that have been proven to work. New Orleans has a very strong community of business professionals, along with several networking organizations, such as the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, 504ward and Stay Local, to name a few. These organizations hold networking events and meetings designed to help build professional communities.

New Orleans also has several non-profits in place to help small businesses get on their feet, such as Propeller Incubator and the Idea Village. These non-profits can help a small business owner get in touch with professionals while also giving them the tools to succeed, such as legal advice, accounting help and marketing tools. Propeller and Idea Village also offer shared workspace, temporary meeting rooms and other services to small business professionals, which can help streamline finances and keep overhead expenses low.

Once you get your cash flow in order, you need to figure out how to manage your money. This is especially important considering you probably have little wiggle room to begin with. Though not easy by any means, there are several programs designed to handle very difficult accounting tasks with relative simplicity, such as TurboTax, Outright Accounting Software and Cloud Accounting for Small Businesses.

Accounting isn’t the only cloud service that small businesses can utilize. PC Mag recently released a list of 20 cloud services for small businesses, which you can read here.

Another way to get your finances in order is to sign up with a local bank which can help you with your specific needs.  A community bank will understand the intricacies that go along with finances in New Orleans.

Google DriveLastly, getting a system in place to stay organized can lead to a much more efficient business in the long run. Google Drive, which is free and can be accessed from anywhere, provides a realistic option to those who don’t have the means to spend money on expensive software. Using its spreadsheet tool, you can organize your daily activities while also keeping track of all your clients and making sure operations are as streamlined as possible.

The sooner your business becomes a well-oiled machine, the better you will be in the long run. It will certainly take time, but if you can afford to figure it out while you are starting, you’ll be happier down the line.

This guest post was written by Patrick Rafferty in association with Hibernia Bank. The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of any financial institution or bank. This article is intended to provide those reading it with information about matters of current interest.  It should not be construed as legal or financial advice concerning a specific topic and should not be acted upon without contacting the appropriate professionals.