Business Platforms and Structure:
The foundations of a business are the key to the eventual success, it is essential that you solidify these before launching your company. These can and probably will change over time to adapt to your marketplace, however it is easier to cope if you start off with a strong base. Decide on the form your business will take; sole trader, partnership, limited company etc. Also, decide on the key roles and job descriptions within the business and who will do them. Once you launch your business these are the tasks that your business will rely on.
You must have a good grasp of your future finances. This isn’t an area you need to be scared of, but it does need real attention. You must have a thorough understanding of your cost base and where your break-even point lies. Without this, how will you know when you are making a profit? Too many businesses price their service by comparing similar product/service prices and then pricing themselves somewhere in the middle. Will this make you enough to profit? You also need to be doing cash flow projections for at least 3 months ahead and keeping good financial records. An understanding of profit and loss statements and how to read a balance sheet will also help.
Planning and Growth:
Did you know that only one in six businesses succeed? Much of their failure is down to lack of planning, adequate funding and proper advice. A business plan is little more than a statement of your business goals, a list of your beliefs and assumptions as to why you think you can attain these goals and an action plan on the steps needed to attain them. The amount of detail you include will depend on the purpose of your plan. If it is to obtain funding then clearly it will need to be far more detailed than if it is purely for you. A good business plan is a working document that evolves with your business and can be your passport to profit! Many business owners feel that they grow too quickly and lose control of their business. It is essential that your business plan includes the steps you will take to achieve and manage your growth. The right structure and systems will ensure that you always feel in control of your business and able to cope with the demands it makes on you.
Have you planned your launch in detail? There are lots of inexpensive ways to get yourself noticed when you launch a business. It’s a good news story that everyone needs to hear about, so make the most of this period. The bigger the splash you make when entering the market, the faster your business will grow.
Staying on Track:
One of the basic errors that business owners make is not spending enough time working ON their business. Too many people spend their time working in their business without looking up to see which direction it is heading. If you don’t take time to steer your ship, it will crash. You need to put aside time on a weekly basis to reflect on the business and go over each area weighing up what aspects need attention.
Marketing is the term for any time your business interacts with a potential client. Every conversation, piece of literature or press release is marketing. There are numerous ways to market your business and they don’t have to be expensive. The key to any marketing campaign is to make sure that everything you do is tested and measured. How do you know where your leads come from? Without good information, how can you make informed decisions?
This is one of the biggest investments you will need to make. If you have enthusiastic staff, it is conveyed to your customers who are then happier with your service. Finding and retaining quality people is one the most challenging aspects of running a business. However it is crucial to your success. If you don’t have quality staff, how can you grow? There are always areas that you will be weaker in than others. The right people will augment your skill set providing a passport to profit. There is only so much that one person can achieve on their own.
Unless you are in HR, then you will probably need help with shareholder or partnership agreements, employment legislation and possibly help concerning Intellectual Property rights. The right advice is essential.
Planning your exit strategy may seem strange when you are starting a business, but it is an important part of your future. This doesn’t only mean selling your business, but also includes your business providing a passive income or a pension for you. Succession planning is essential to ensure you receive full value for your effort.