9 Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Follow
Building a business from the ground up can be a very daunting and stressful task. On the other hand though, perseverance can pay off as long as you’re staying “on track.” Oftentimes, the thought of launching the business, and mapping it out on paper is a completely different reality than actually putting the plan into motion. Once in motion, there are so many little things to pay attention to, while also managing your own health, and keeping a close eye on your ‘outward appearance.’
1. Work at your business on a daily basis
This is probably a no-brainer. A new endeavor requires focus, planning, collaboration, and inspiration. If you’re not working on your business every day, how far do you expect to be in say, a year? Plans need to be made and foundations set into place. Set a time or amount of time to work each day on your project. This allows for consistency and will always keep you motivated.
2. Do it NOW! Don’t procrastinate!
I think that we can agree that this applies to the general sphere of making anything happen. Sometimes we get stuck on “This isn’t critical now. I can do it later” mentality. Time passes, and the idea you once had gets lost in the matrix, never to return; OR it comes back at the most inopportune moment, where you’re so stuck in a web that you cannot act on it, or even worse, it sabotages your business.
3. Allow your team and customers to assist you in building your business
Developing a business idea could be a one-man show, but building the business requires similar minds to put ideas together. The business model goes far beyond the blueprint that you have set in place. Listen to the ideas of your team members, customers, and vendors. It will assist you in building a stronger and more organized business. Which brings us to…
4. Hire good staff from the beginning
Let’s get real here. A great small business with nasty people probably won’t go far. Small businesses these days are a dime-a-dozen. There’s nothing worse than being treated badly. So do yourself a favor, and surround yourself with the best people you can find. It will keep you, your customers, and future connections happy; in addition to promoting company longevity.
Having a ‘good’ staff also means hiring people who are the most competent at the position. Look for those who are passionate about what they do and are intent on delivering beyond the company standards that you and the industry have set into place.
5. Run your business. Don’t let the business run you.
A good lot of us have seen TV shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Bar Rescue – a person or persons gets inspired to open a business. Business runs great for a while, but then too much work or burnout sends the company on a downward spiral to the point that someone else has to come in, boost the morale, and revamp the vision. Don’t let this be you. Come in with passion, and specific goals to keep yourself fresh and inspired on a daily basis.
6. Put all contracts and legal documents in writing
You would think this goes without saying, right? By putting legal matters into writing, you can avoid difficulties often faced in verbal agreements. This goes for rental and storage contracts, contracts that speak of real estate, employment letters and policies. You get the picture.
7. Buy insurance for your business
When you go into business for yourself, you are waving a flag that says ‘I take responsibility for all feedback and debts that incur.’ This includes loans, taxes, money owed, and judgements against the business. It is a good idea to buy business liability or limited liability insurance. This protects assets like your house and car.
8. Build a business plan and stick to it
There are three things that will separate a ‘concrete’ business from a ‘loose’ one – break-even analysis, profit-and-loss forecast, and cash flow projection. Businesses disappear on a daily basis. Don’t allow yourself to be one of them. Construct a business plan. Understand your profit numbers, and create a break-even analysis. The cash flow projection allows for security in instances when you might not be paid for goods or services right away.
9. Keep everything organized!
One of the most critical points of a successful business is the organization of the entire structure. Make sure to keep files of receipts, agreements, pay structure, and anything else important to the fluidity of your business. We’ve all seen those fallacies of “where did (insert item here) go? I know I put it (insert location here).” Backtracking is often a sour adversary once the hand of time gets a hold on it.