With school back in session, students of all ages are learning new things—and discovering how much they don’t know in the process. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or long-time business owner, one thing is certain: like the kids who are back to school, you always have room to learn and grow.
As I’ve learned and grown as a business owner, one of my favorite phrases has become, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” How true, right? It’s far too easy to fool ourselves into thinking we really know all there is to know. But the truth is we will never ever know everything when it comes to starting and running a business, because things change all the time. We have to “school” ourselves. That means doing additional research and staying tuned in to new developments. The business climate, legal requirements, and technology constantly morph, sometimes subtly and sometimes significantly. If we don’t keep up with the various moving parts that affect us, our businesses could fall behind—or worse.
So I urge you to stay attentive and continue to learn about what’s new or what has changed with respect to:
- Business structures, liability protection and filing requirements– for example, potential benefits of changing from a sole proprietorship or partnership to Corporation, an S-Corporation or a Limited Liability Company.
- Tax laws and filing requirements – such as changes to the business tax rates, mileage reimbursement rates, valid tax deductions, filing deadlines etc.)
- Corporate compliance requirements – such as annual reports, tax deadlines, permit and license filing due dates, etc.
- Marketing tools, best practices, and regulations – like new social media platforms and automation tools, SEO, content marketing, the CAN-SPAM Act, etc.
- HR issues – including employee benefits, hiring, firing, affirmative action, documentation requirements, etc.
- Business technology – like cloud-based accounting software, CRMs (customer relationship management systems), virus and malware protection, mobile payment platforms, etc.
This is just the short list! Basically, anything related to entrepreneurship demands ongoing learning, because owning a business isn’t a static condition but rather a dynamic process. So as the kids strap on their backpacks this school season, prepare to gear up for your own journey in learning. Trust me, your homework will pay off!
Looking to start your own business? Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know—and we can help fix that. Download our free Starting A Business Checklist now! It’s a sure way to learn about what you need to do to get a successful business off the ground.