It’s been said that when opening and operating any business, you must have the right people, doing the right things, at the right time. It seems simple, but 80% of new businesses still fail in the first 60 months—not five years, 60 months. New companies don’t fail over a period of years. They succeed or fail one month at a time. You can succeed faster or slower, but it still happens one month at a time. It all starts with the “right people”.
- Decision One: You. It’s important to know and be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses. By being candid with yourself, you identify the gaps and you more readily recognize not just the people you need but personalities you need. For example, you may be brilliant but not particularly assertive. Hence, you look for a more assertive attorney to make your point when others don’t pay attention.
- Decision Two: Attorney. Most of us know a few attorneys, but your friend who practices family law is not the person to help you navigate zoning laws and negotiate leases with a landlord. Pick an attorney who has a significant, documented history of success in the right field. If you don’t know their work, ask for references. Many attorneys will tell you that they can’t give you references because of attorney client privilege. That is true. However, most attorneys in this field can scare up a few if it’s really needed.
- Decision Three: CPA. If you’re going to make money, you need to be able to account for it and protect from inappropriate taxes. A good CPA will save your money from taxes, and those savings compounded over years in business can determine the decade in which you retire.
- Decision Four: Director. If you’re not going to be the director / administrator of the center or the school, then this position will be the most important operational staffing decision you’ll make. An average director can maintain a good center if you are well-organized. A great director with autonomy can make an average or bad center great. A bad director can ruin anything.
- Decision Five: Banker. If you’re going to borrow money, and most people do with the currently low interest rates, you need to have one reliable banker for knowledge and insight and another 15 or so to make sure the first banker is giving you the best terms possible when you borrow. Failing to provide a competitive environment for your banker(s) can be extremely expensive to you. A difference of a quarter percentage point on a million dollar loan over 20 years costs you and extra $34,793. The U.S. has a lot of banks. It’s a competitive business. There’s no reason not to use them correctly.
- Decision Six: Real Estate Transaction Professionals. If you’re buying property (land and/or buildings) and you’re not experienced in transactional work, get professional help to ensure that you won’t miss important factors in the transaction. Help can come in the form of your CPA, a real estate attorney and/or an experienced broker.
- Decision Seven: Marketing Professional. This decision can be more difficult as many people have trouble defining marketing. In today’s environment, you must have an internet presence. Make sure your marketing person is a talented SEO (search engine optimization) person. You can also learn about many tested, successful marketing options by visiting the videos and blogs at bfsinc.net.
- Decision Eight: IT professional. You will need computers. You will need an IT professional. It is better if this person is not part of your staff as some of the information exposed during the work may be sensitive and not to be shared with the teacher who has a computer science degree.
- Decision Nine: Payroll. There are several good payroll companies. None of the major companies should have any problem managing your payroll. They’re not terribly expensive, and if you have ever talked with anyone who botched their payroll taxes, then you know they are worth the cost.
- Decision Ten: Hire your teachers, drivers, cooks and go to work.
The early education industry is a great industry. It provides significant financial returns for doing genuinely important and rewarding work.
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