Associated Bank Gives Congratulations and Advice to Winners

Article excerpt

Associated Bank is proud to support the Annual Awards for Business Excellence and congratulates all of the winners.

As a business owner you are the backbone of the economy, creating new jobs and bringing exciting new products and services to market. You have the freedom, responsibility and pride that comes from working for yourself and realizing your vision.

We understand that running a business involves risk. But if you prepare thoroughly, you can greatly increase your prospects of long-term success and prosperity. By putting your plan on paper, you can better use your strengths and address your weaknesses.

To smooth the way for your business to grow, thoroughly research your state's rules and regulations for operating a business. Seek advice and listen to people who have run a small business. Here are other important preliminary steps you'll need to take.

* Convert your ideas into a business plan.

* Prepare a comprehensive business plan.

* Thoroughly estimate your startup costs, such as deposits, rent or mortgage payments, supplies, phone and Internet access, insurance, license or permit fees, legal fees, professional memberships, fixtures and equipment, salaries and advertising and marketing.

Organize your business finances

* Open a bank account for your business separate from your personal account.

* Consult a reputable accountant to help organize your financial statements. Create a record system to track your income, expenses, inventory, payroll records and tax reports.

* Set customer payment policies -- check cashing, payment terms, extending credit and the use of credit or debit cards.

Establish supplier relationships

Identify your suppliers and set firm agreements before you start, including payment terms, prices, ordering policies and delivery schedules.

Obtain registration, licenses and permits

* Contact your county Register of Deeds for trade names or "Doing Business As" registration requirements. …