When it comes to owning and operating a small business venture, there are some practical tips that can help you stay organized, effective, and profitable. It all starts with charting a practical course for yourself that looks at all operational functions and needs of your business. Below, Let’s CEO dives into how to put it all together.
Develop a Business Strategy
One of the first – and most important steps – is developing a comprehensive business plan – something you’ll need if you plan to apply for a small business loan or grant. This will encourage you to create a budget, research your marketplace, analyze customer demographics, craft a targeted marketing outreach plan, and help you decide where your funds are best invested.
It will also help you set reasonable expectations around cost projections, expenses, and staffing needs. According to SCORE, pre-startup strategizing is key in the business-building process and will be the foundation your business needs to grow from.
Organization can save you time and money, and help you reduce the stress that comes with starting up a small business as a new entrepreneur. Create comprehensive to-do lists starting with location and equipment needs, required vendors, software and security programs, hiring employees, and getting appropriate insurance, permits, and business licenses. One way to keep your team organized is to use a template for a monthly planner. This template allows you to plan for the month ahead, and you can customize it with your own videos, sticky notes, and images.
A stellar website should also be top of mind. This is how you spread the word about your products or services. Yes, you can build a website yourself, but the better option is to work with a dedicated agency that can deliver a polished, professional site. Experts can also apply tools to enhance your site with special features. For example, if you want to take payments via the web, your designers can use a third-party site to create a verify bank account number API, which allows you to access a client’s bank account while keeping their data and information secure.
Create a Culture of Innovation
According to McKinsey & Company, a great way to set yourself apart in a crowded marketplace is to encourage creative brainstorming and innovative thinking in your company. This includes understanding who your competition is and looking for creative ways to differentiate your business. Encourage employees to speak up and bring all ideas to the table. You’ll also want to develop communication vehicles for staying in touch with vendors and employees and taking steps to foster collaboration. This can be done through a project management tool like Wrike, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Workfront. Collaboration leads to innovation!
A majority of business problems arise due to a good old-fashioned lack of communication. You can avoid this pitfall by having straightforward communication strategies in place from day one. Develop an employee handbook and style guide; have detailed job descriptions that include performance metrics; hold regular staff meetings and one-on-one huddles; and develop a company intranet for sharing information. With vendors, clearly define expectations and agreements in writing, and ensure there’s a dispute mediation clause if either party fails to abide by the terms of the agreement. Staying ahead of the curve on communication issues will serve you well.
Provide Exceptional Service
One of the best ways to set yourself apart as a new entrepreneur is to consistently provide exceptional levels of customer service. This includes ensuring front-line employees who are the face of your business are courteous and knowledgeable. This starts with training around key customer service issues in your line of work. Answer complaints and concerns quickly, underpromise and overdeliver, and provide extra perks, like discounts for referrals. This will help you build a loyal customer base which can be the foundation of a long-term successful operation.
Being a small business owner or new entrepreneur presents some challenges, but the nature of your business structure also gives you the freedom to be creative, pivot as necessary, and use collaboration tools to expand operations. Consider joining a chamber of commerce or other local business group to help you with networking and to keep you abreast of best practices in your industry.
Article submitted by:
“You’ve seen the social media posts promising to help you start your own business as new entrepreneur from the comfort of your couch…for a small fee of course. You have to take a course, read an e-book, or sign up for a one-on-one information session.
Lucky for you, she’s been creating and growing couch-based businesses since her couch was in a dorm room! And she knows that all you really need to be successful is a willingness to learn as you go and the boldness to give it a shot.
She created Couch-Based Biz to help guide you. It offers tips, tricks, and guides to help you separate fiction from fact and gimmick from reality.”