So you're taking that leap of faith and starting a business. That's awesome! Josh Bryant has a few pointers for people going into business for the first time. In summary, avoid the entrepreneurial plagues like... the plague!
Plague 1: The Rope Swing Budget
A lot of small businesses will fail. A lot of those small businesses didn't fully grasp the concept or necessity of the shoestring budget. A lot of people start a business and operate it more like a rope swing. They build the business they want in 10-years and spend massive amounts of cash swinging into the entrepreneurial lake. The problem is, they aren't quite heavy enough to generate the momentum they need. The rope swings a little bit, but the never get the speed to make it far enough to get over the water and end up falling flat on their face on the shore.
That metaphor can't be taken any further, but the point is that you must operate on a tight budget until you have cash in-flows to substantiate a bigger budget. Don't go and rent the biggest and best office you can find. Start small. Start in an incubator or accelerator like the one lead by Josh Bryant at The Bryant Law Firms in Northwest Arkansas.
Plague 2: The Pocket Knife in the Amazon
You wouldn't want to trek through the Amazon with just a pocket knife. You need a machete. Better yet, you need some nice paved roads. Your business is no different. You're embarking on a journey through what the government has made a heavily thicketed forest. You're going to have to cut through all sorts of regulations, taxes, snares laid by litigious customers, and more. Wouldn't it be nicer if you could drive through that forest on a nice paved road?
Josh Bryant does just that - he paves the road so you can get where you need to be. As a member of NWA FaithWorks, you'll get all the legal and tax work done for you. You'll have phones and high speed internet. You'll have a workspace and advisors. You'll have access to mentors and capital. The infrastructure is already there. All you have to do is run your business.
Plague 3: The Blank Map
A lot of people go into the entrepreneurial jungle with nothing but a piece of the map. They've done their business plan with their pro formas and SWOT analyses and think that's the only map they need. It just isn't correct. Business owners have to get their business out of their heads and on paper - not just the goals and dreams of revenue, income, and profit, but the step by step process by which they are going to market, secure, and serve their clients and customers. That is a much more detailed map than a canned business plan.
Josh Bryant has become a bit of an expert on process management as a means of making a business secure, effective, and efficient. He helps all types of organizations use process to make their organizations more legally secure. You're far less likely to get sued if you can do your business the same way every time. It will also make you more effective. You'll see what works and doesn't work, and make corrections along the way. It will also make you more efficient. You'll see that some things in the process are taking more time, energy, or money than they should and work those inefficiencies out of the system. When you join NWA FaithWorks, you get access to process management systems that make you more secure, effective, and efficient.
Please allow me to be frank. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. I'll use the Kendrick family as an example.
Meet the Kendricks
Meet Bill and Karen Kendrick. They got their first estate plan in place when their daughter, Jessica, was born 30 years ago. They updated it when their son Steve came along 4 years later. After attending one of Josh Bryant's living trust seminars 7 years ago, they got a fantastic trust-based plan in place, protecting themselves, their children, their grandchildren, and their dog, Sadie.
Unfortunately, the Kendricks didn’t join Josh Bryant's client maintenance program; instead, they elected to take responsibility for calling him for updates themselves. Life got busy and, as you might guess, they never called to update their documents.
Here’s what’s changed in their lives in the last 10 years.
Do you think their estate plan will still work the way they want it to?
Changes in Your Own Life
The Kendricks have experienced a lot of changes, but those changes are typical of what 10 years brings. Think about the changes in your life over the past 10 years — or since you last updated your estate plan.
Have you moved? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business, suffered health problems, or purchased a new home? Do you have new accounts and investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired? Has someone you loved died? Have friends or family named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away, or has your relationship changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with grandchildren’s college or dance lessons? Do you see the world in a different way?
Many things have happened in the past 10 years. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and goals. There have also been changes in the law. Josh Bryant stays abreast of these changes to protect his clients in better and better ways, so the way he does things has changed.
Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date?
If you’ve experienced changes like the Kendricks, or it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since you updated your estate plan, it’s time to come in. Josh Bryant will review your plan and chat with you about what’s been happening in your life. He can get you and your estate plan up to date, reflecting where your life is now.
Last Week, Josh Bryant announced that The Bryant Firms would house an incubator for faith-based entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas. That raises an obvious question: why incubate with a lawyer?
Small Businesses Are Likely to Get Sued. It's just a fact of life and part of doing business. Rarely can you predict when you'll get sued or who will sue you, but the Small Business Administration reports that up to half of all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get sued at least once per year. Granted, that's a broad statistic that will vary from industry to industry. But even on the low end of the study indicating no less than a third of small businesses will end up in court annually, it only makes sense to start off on the right foot from a legal perspective. Add to that the same research that found 90% of all small businesses will be in court at some point, and it becomes imperative to speak with someone like Josh Bryant before going into business.
Process Drives and Secures Businesses. It has become an unwritten rule that you are a second class Christian if you haven't read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. We're kidding (sort of...) but Josh Bryant has a bit of a different philosophy. Purpose does not drive life, business, or churches - process does. Your car isn't driven by the fact that its purpose is to transport you from one place to another. It's driven by the process of turning the vehicle on, applying your foot to the gas, fuel injectors pumping fuel into cylinders that is ignited inside by a spark plug, causing pistons to rise, turn gears and belts, that ultimately turns the wheels of your car. The same applies to your business. No matter what your business is, there are processes that you have to follow the same way every time. There may be variables from time to time, like what gear you're in or what road you'll go down and how fast, but the more repeatable your process, the better it gets. You find inefficiencies as the business owner and work them out of your systematic processes. You find points where the system breaks down and either repair or reengineer them. What's even better - when a lawyer like Josh Bryant helps you put those processes in writing, it can help secure your business from being one of the 33-50% of all businesses who will be sued this year.
Taxes Will Make You Want To Quit. You didn't get into your business to do bookkeeping (unless of course you are a bookkeeper or accountant). Doing your taxes and accounting can take a significant portion of your time and slow your growth. What does that have to do with incubating with a lawyer? Josh Bryant is well versed in small business taxation, which by the way is just one of many areas of the law. Members of the incubator hosted at the Bryant Law Firms' will have their taxes done for them as part of the monthly fee.
Josh Bryant is an attorney, entrepreneur, pastor, and visionary with a heart to see churches, businesses, and families more secure, more effective, and more efficient in fulfilling their mission and bringing glory to God.