Despite the popularity of a certain song, blurred lines are not always a good thing, particularly in business. In the management of a business, clarity is key. What sort of things need clarification? The basics: who, what, when, where and why.
Who: who is involved in your business? What is his/her role? When entering into a business relationship with anyone else, whether that person is a friend, family member or spouse, clarity is key. Write everything down: the responsibilities of each person, the expectations and key accountable tasks.
What: what is your business? Selling goods? Providing services? A blend of both? You'd be surprised by how many people can't really clarify what exactly their business is about. They know they want to sell things, but they also want to dabble in this or that and the other thing. Know what your business is, who it serves and write it down. Stick to it. At least for awhile.
When: what are your deadlines? What are your goals? When do you want to achieve break even? When do you want to be profitable? Know these timelines inside and out and write them down to make sure you follow them.
Where: where will you conduct business? Where will you incorporate? Do you have a registered agent? Do you know what a registered agent is or why you might need one? Make sure you can answer these questions.
Why: why are you in business? To help people? To change the world? If you are starting a for profit business the only answer to this question (at least initially) should be TO MAKE A PROFIT. Some people think this is harsh, but think about it: how can you change the world or help people by running an unprofitable business? You can't, because you'll be out of business in no time. It's great to have noble objectives, but don't forget that you must turn a profit to keep your business going.
Remember: clarity is key...no blurred lines.
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.