We love startups! What an amazing time to start living out your passion. The market is full opportunities to develop something different, something that will change the face of the industry. Still, if you’re in California there are a lot of important rules you need to be watching out for. Here are the top ten commandments you need to be living by.
TOP 10 MISTAKES TO AVOID
#1 - "It's gotta be perfect!"
It's established law that getting to market first is better than getting there better. And while you want to avoid some major pitfalls in the process, you can't let the fear of lawyers, fines, and competition stop you. This sounds strange coming from an attorney, but focus on the product/service and sales, then work for the perfect business model and processes as you're moving forward - at top speed!
Here is opposite end of the spectrum. You see this mentality in Soviet car making and, unfortunately, a lot of construction. Unless your business model is to put out some lame new product every few weeks under a new LLC each month, you need to put in some time getting it right. If you're not as big as Apple, this is the part that kills you because your chomping at the bit and nervous that someone is going to beat you to the punch. The only solution we’ve ever seen that works? Long, long days - this is when your time is most in need. Set deadlines and standards and make it happen.
#2 - "It's good enough"
#3 - "I don't have enough money."
Startups always cost more than you think. Whether it's a product release failure or just paying your own paycheck, there's never enough. Make sure you have the money - BUT at the same time, there aren't too many entrepreneurs we know who had all the money they needed to start. The point is, it doesn’t have to be in the bank already. Just make sure you have a plan A, B, C, & D to bring in the $ (e.g. investors, small business loans, family, friends, etc.) to bring in the capital you need. Remember, at least 50% of what your counting on won’t happen.
#4 - "I'll Just Do That Too."
Make sure you’re doing original material. You can run afoul of the feds and corporate lawyers if you take someone else’s patented or copyrighted material. It’s easier to do than you might think. It happens all over the internet . Before you use someone’s logo or material (written, video, audio or product) you need to make sure you have permission. We had someone wanting to use some soda cans and bottles to make candles, but you can’t use another brand’s name to make your product sell unless you have permission. A little research, and a little guidance from a professional, goes a long way.
#5 - "You're Hired!"
Handshakes don’t work for hiring employees. One of the major pitfalls we see is hiring employees without following through with the paperwork. There are a lot of resources out there to help guide you through the process, but you need to make sure you have a solid understanding of workers compensation, proper hiring and firing procedures, sexual harassment, benefits, employee labor laws, postings, and oh so much more.