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Go-to Resource Channels for Start-ups

Mrs. Aimokan reflected over the loss of her botched corner shop café, and regretted her rashness. She thanked Mr. Ologbonsaye for the insightful information on the business forms available to her as an entrepreneur. She, however, reminded him to expatiate on the go-to resource channels he had earlier mentioned to set her on the right path as she contemplates restarting her business.

Professional services offer business advisory

Entrepreneurs need to learn about the various go-to resource channels available to them before they write their business plans.

Go-to resource channels are professional services used at idea generation and business planning stages to produce invaluable information which equip and guide entrepreneurs to incorporate their start-ups without hassles.

The proper use of professional services gives you confidence and sets your dreams on the right track; you eliminate mistakes arising from ignorance.

Basically, professional services offer business advisory information on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, incorporation, business law, banking, accounting, finance, taxation, human resources, human relations, communications, strategy and business growth, marketing, promotions, public relations, technology, risk management, government regulatory functions, trends in the industry and the economy.

Mining this whole information can cost you an arm and a leg if you have to separately consult the different professionals offering these services.

Pro-bono services

Your local chambers of commerce and industry offer a veritable platform to obtain professional services without paying for the information. They expose you to local and international trade information and business networking that connects you with your industry and the market. They may organise trade fairs and exhibitions where you can learn more about your industry and competitions. You will also find their helpdesk useful.

You can approach development banks and some SMEs-friendly commercial banks that may be ready to provide you with helpful information.

Government agencies in some states in the country assist SMEs on a pro-bono basis, as part of their empowerment and poverty alleviation programmes for the vulnerable in the society.

Some angel investors and venture capitalists have business incubators where they nurture ideas and guide would-be entrepreneurs to flag off their start-up ventures. Some other institutions implement business plan competitions to uncover potential entrepreneurs. Some of these are non-profit organisations, research institutions, seasoned entrepreneurs and philanthropists who use their resources to stimulate information and create entrepreneurs.

Fee-based services

Alternatively, you may engage the services of a business advisor or consulting firm. However, such services should be reasonable, affordable and pocket-friendly relative to your start-ups business form.

You should use a business advisor with expertise and a track record in SMEs development and management. This advisor should provide multi point professional services to support your information needs so that you will avoid proliferation of professional services.

Your business advisor should be an experienced general management consultant who understands how to set up a business, and manage it professionally well to generate sustainable income for you.

You may need your business advisor well after you have commenced your business. Consequently, you should negotiate your fees from this perspective in order to maximise your relationship. A professional business advisor will be more interested in making you an entrepreneur than exploiting you because of the long-term benefits.

How to use professional services

You need your lawyer to guide you on the appropriate business forms for your start-ups. You should get credible legal advice and not patronise quacks on business registrations or any legal matters relating to business.

You will be advised to register your venture with the Corporate Affairs Commission. You will know the fees payable for incorporation and statutory annual filing of your returns when you start doing business.

You will be advised on documentation. You should avoid any business relationship that trivialise the importance of documents. All your memorandum of understanding, service agreements, contracts, invoices, receipts, employment letters and minutes of meetings define expectations and protect you against litigations in business.

Your accountants, tax consultants and auditors are collaborators who guide you on start-up capital, sourcing funds, obtaining loans and establishing reliable accounting and auditing systems to run your business without hitches. They offer advice on investments, treasury and risk management. They prepare your books for routine internal audit and annual audit by external auditors.

They advise you on taxes, statutory remittances and emphasise the importance of compliance and accurate remittances to the inland revenue. They also help you eliminate wastages, and uncover frauds through forensic auditing tools. They guard you against multiple taxation and help you get relief where applicable. You will not be evading taxes as a responsible corporate citizen.

Author: Babatunde Fajimi

Article was first published in The Punch Newspaper of Friday, February 13, 2015 via http://www.punchng.com/business/am-business/go-to-resource-channels-for-start-ups/. You should read this edition first http://www.punchng.com/business/am-business/your-start-up-needs-a-business-form/ to understand the article better.

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