Congratulations! You incorporated your business! Now comes the dreaded question: now what? One of the most common obstacles encountered by new businesses is their own fear or self-doubt. With confidence and a good network of other entrepreneurs, starting and growing a business can happen quite easily. It takes persistence and focus, but it can be done. Having good resources – other entrepreneurs, experienced business owners – who can serve as a sounding board is extremely important.

Aside from establishing confidence, many other obstacles exist that new business owners should avoid. New businesses often risk shooting themselves in the foot as they’re getting started. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. Not only are you getting your business up and running, your operations solidified, and your marketing strategy off the ground, but you are also trying to make sure you’re managing your business properly and minimizing liability.

First, make sure you incorporate before doing business. For liability reasons, it’s wise to make sure you incorporate or form an LLC before the business takes off. Incorporating or forming an LLC can help protect personal assets by separating the business from your personal affairs. If anything were to go wrong with the business, it’s wise to make sure your house, car and personal effects are properly protected.

Next, consult a tax professional. If the type of business entity you should form is not clear to you, it’s wise to speak with a CPA. CPAs can help you understand tax implications and how the different structures can help you protect your assets as well as save money on taxes.

Learn your market. It’s wise to know your market. Understand who your customers are and target them. One of the best ways to do that is to emulate a business in your industry that you believe is doing a good job. Take the items that are successful and combine them with that which makes your business unique. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel entirely. If your business idea is novel, leverage the expertise of other entrepreneurs and business owners within the same genre as your offering. Getting out there and talking with people can be one of your greatest assets early on. Plus, you may generate customers in the process.

Be creative. No matter what industry you’re in, don’t be stagnant. Stay ahead of the curve and constantly be on the cutting edge. Communicate with the youth to see what’s up and coming in terms of marketing and social networking. Check out social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out about your business. Don’t rest on your laurels, and make sure you’re on top of the next steps for your business.

Finally, spend your funds wisely. Many small businesses make the mistake of spending too quickly. Either they spend what others have invested in their business, or they spend everything that comes in the door. That can be helpful in the initial growth stages, but it may not be the recipe for long-term success. Make sure to invest more heavily in areas in which you get a higher return, and take smart risks otherwise.

Now is a great time to incorporate your business. Using the tools mentioned above, you are setting your business on the path for success. Learn more about maintaining your business and other tips to stay on the right track HERE!