When beginning your own business, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting time with unnecessary steps or tasks that might hinder where you are trying to get to. Here are 18 essential steps that will set you off on the right foot and give you a better chance of success in your new business venture. Have a look through these basic but crucial tips and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t expect everything to fall into place straight away – it takes hard work, perseverance and most importantly commitment.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started…
1. Come up with a name
This may seem obvious but the name of your business is essential. It’s what people will initially come to know you as so it’s important that it reflects who you are and what you do. It should be easy to remember, short, recognisable and most importantly not already taken by another company. If your business is an online one then make sure to check if your desired name is taken on Google, Twitter, YouTube etc. Try combining two successful names together or perhaps use a memorable quote or lyrics from a song – whatever you choose just make it yours.
2. Registering your name
Once you have decided upon a suitable name for your company/business there are different methods of registering this depending on which country you wish to launch in.
3. Business plan & goals
Your goals are essentially what you want to achieve with your business within a certain time frame – these should be realistic but also challenging. It’s important that you have something tangible to work towards as it will keep you determined when things get tough. Make them achievable but try to exceed expectations too – nobody likes a mediocre outcome. Write down exactly how you are going to achieve each goal step by step so there is no room for confusion or doubt about what needs doing. Keep this somewhere safe so it doesn’t get lost.
4. Setting up an online presence
Even if you are just setting up a business in your local area it is essential that you have an online presence to support the hard work being put into your venture. This can be done by creating a professional website, social media accounts etc. Make sure they are all linked to each other so they lead customers to where they need to go. Your website should include clear contact information, images of your products/services and relevant text for SEO purposes.
5. Organise official business documents
Being organised from the beginning is key – make sure you have everything sorted before launching or opening your company’s doors! Whilst some things may change over time, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Also, pay your taxes. This is perhaps not something that people like to think about when they are in the process of starting out but it’s essential to stay on top of things. There may be charges due on money earned through your company that needs paying before it can be transferred into your account- make sure to keep up with submission dates and ensure you pay in good time.
6. Marketing & promotion
It’s important that your business has a face to people outside of the company- this could be through social media, leaflets/flyers, posters etc. depending on what business you are running. There are plenty of ways to promote your products or services so make sure you get creative if stuck for ideas – do some research online to find out what sort of marketing works best for certain businesses in your industry. The most important thing is to get your name out there.
7. Be careful who you hire
Hiring new staff is always tough but it’s even more difficult when they are friends or family members; make sure they are skilled enough for the job, make sure they are flexible enough to fit into your culture & make sure their personality will not cause any problems within the business. It might seem like a good idea at times but it could lead to disagreements later on. This is where things can get challenging and stressful but ultimately, it’s worth it when they are on board and working hard. Make sure you keep up to date with employment law and always check references for potential employees before hiring them.
8. Selling your product/service online
There are many ways in which people choose to sell their products or services online- this could be through your own website, social media accounts or marketplaces. There are many ways to go about selling things online so it’s important you choose the best option for what you need.
9. Stay organised & keep records
Keeping track of everything is key in growing a business- not just now but later on down the line too. Keeping up with money/vouchers, receipts for expenses etc. is essential if you want to manage your accounts properly and also provide evidence for things like insurance claims etc. It may be time-consuming but it’ll save you stress in the long run! Also, make sure your invoices are professional by keeping all relevant information needed together – customer name, item purchased, price etc. – it should be clear what is being bought and for how much this way.
10. Make sure your bills are paid on time
This may seem like a given but it’s important to remember to pay any outstanding bills as quickly as possible so you aren’t paying any more than necessary as well as getting discounts from companies for prompt payments. It can also hurt your credit score if things go unpaid so it’s worth managing the situation before you have a big problem on your hands.
11. Get yourself insured
Insurance is a necessity when starting out, especially if you’re running a business that involves anything dangerous or otherwise risky- just think of all the risks involved in driving a car and you should get an idea of how many risks there are. You can find insurance companies online or talk to a local independent broker – they will be able to give you the advice and information needed about insuring your business.
12. Plan for things going wrong
It sounds pessimistic but it’s essential that you have a plan of action if something goes wrong or doesn’t go as planned- this could be from having an emergency fund just in case, checking contracts before signing them or knowing where to turn for help if staff aren’t doing what they’re meant to do. It’s important to know what might happen so that you’re prepared for any eventuality.
13. Create an exit strategy
This isn’t something that needs planning immediately but it is important nonetheless; get the ball rolling by starting to think about what you will do further down the line – is there anything you want to change; is there anywhere else you’d rather be? This way you can manage your business and plan for any future changes. It may not involve selling up and moving on but it could mean making a smaller or larger version of your company.
14. Decide how much time and effort is worth putting in
This will vary from person to person- some people look to work with as little overheads as possible whereas others need pricey investments such as marketing campaigns or attending conferences etc. You need to think about how much money/time is needed before the return on investment starts coming in; if you’re unsure then it’s always better to ask someone more experienced than yourself.
15. Don’t be too frugal
While it’s always worth planning ahead to save money, don’t be too frugal when starting out in business- you might miss out on opportunities by being too thrifty or not investing enough to make your business grow the way you want it to. It’s better to spend a little bit extra now and get something done properly rather than skimping on quality & doing a second rate job- this could come back and haunt you later down the line.
16. Don’t take things personally
When dealing with customers/clients there will inevitably be some disappointed people sometimes; while it’s good to try and please everyone thinks of these instances as learning experiences and remember that you’re not the only person who is having a bad day or who is unhappy with your product/service.
17. Don’t compare yourself to others
As mentioned earlier in the article, everyone’s journey with their business is different & comparing your business with another will not make you feel any better about it! While there are some companies out there who have experienced similar things to you it doesn’t mean that they are currently in the same position as you or that they are doing better than you; focus on your own company & keep striving for excellence.
18. Stay motivated and enjoy your work
If you’re doing something that doesn’t spark joy then maybe it’s time for a change? As cute as that phrase sounds if running a business isn’t fun then it will start feeling like hard work and you will be less likely to want to do it. Make sure you like what you’re doing and make sure your employees and colleagues understand the importance of what they’re doing.
It’s important to remember that success will not last forever so be prepared for it to take a turn at any time. If you are self-employed then it’s even more important because no matter how much planning you’ve done you can never be completely certain what will happen in the future. There might be some who experience highs and lows but this is just another part of the job description. You might see your business grow in one area but a decline in another- if needed, slash your costs/costs of products/services or put your prices up slightly when demand is low; getting through hard times is all about thinking positively and making sure you make something out of every situation.
Running a business is never easy and it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and planning to be successful. However, if you can apply the principles we’ve talked about in this article, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals. Stay motivated, stay positive, and keep learning so that you can continue to grow your business. We wish you the best of luck on your journey!