From writing a business plan to cutting the ribbon on opening day, a lot goes into starting a business – and a lot can be overlooked. During the bustle of opening a new business, important details can be easily overlooked, leaving businesses backtracking after 6 months to get solid footing in the community. Aside from the major, behind the curtain steps, give these essentials some thought early on:
The hiring process – When new businesses discover they can hire help, they often forget to approach the process like any other professional setting. While Cousin Joe may really need a job, if he doesn’t fit the criteria the business is looking for, he could end up costing the business. Know the gaps your company needs to fill, use a recruiter, and take time to fully interview and vet candidates before hiring. New hires for a new business can be a great asset or stunt early growth possibilities. Choose wisely and think long term.
Customer communication – Companies that take off immediately after opening aren’t just lucky. Owners and investors have often had their hands in the pot for far longer than anyone knows. Customer communication doesn’t begin when your first prospect walks in the door or when you get your website up and running. It starts as soon as you have a business plan. Put a bug in someone’s ear every day through social media, telephone chats, and community interactions. Every social outing is an opportunity to introduce your brand.
Early customer communication is also why every business should consider phone and email service early on. To keep the message clear, and your private line private, consider cost-effective solutions like Booth for keeping business communications organized. Comprehensive phone solutions are great for new business, with free trials and scalable packaging.
- Receipt organization – As soon as you register your business, it’s time to start keeping complete files of all your business purchase receipts and information. Make organizing receipts and other information a priority, and you’ll never have to experience the intense stress that can come when your first tax season rolls around. Documentation will help you and your tax preparer take advantage of business incentives and ensure that you are being appropriately taxed. Tax organization is not only for the IRS’s benefit, it can also help you save a little extra money every year.
Brand identity influence – A strong brand identity will help your business stand out in the customer’s mind. Brand identity starts on day one and evolves each day your business is in operation. If you, the business owner/entrepreneur, are not focused on directing that identity, then you could end up with a brand reputation that isn’t exactly right. The organizations you support, the customer service experience, and the colors and fonts you use are all part of building brand identity. Keep branding in mind as you develop strategies for all your business goals.
Transition planning – Business owners often put their hearts and souls into a new enterprise. What happens if they’re in a fatal accident or fall ill and can no longer run the business? You may not want to start investing in a comprehensive life insurance policy or a living trust until a business is profitable, but early on is the time to start thinking about exit strategies and succession. Who will take over the business if you can’t run it? How is your family protected financially? Protect your business by thinking about transition planning early and often.
Running a tight ship – New business owners know how important financial standing is to a company, but that doesn’t make it easier to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Think carefully about your overhead costs and ways to reduce those as much as possible. Make deals with your providers and choose new technology and cloud-based solutions to further cut costs, compared with traditional solutions. Avoid mixing personal finances and business finances. Account for everything and make sure that an employee or an outsourced professional is always watching the books.
Read professionally – Business owners need to stay inspired and current with the latest industry trends. Make reading for your business part of your weekly routine. Subscribe to industry-relevant magazines, and look for new articles about management, budgeting, and other key issues constantly. Tweak your business plan as needed to reach your goals faster and more effectively.
Once a business has jumped through the necessary legal and regulatory hoops, these essential business considerations can make a significant difference in how well a business does over the course of the first few years.