In my career, I have had a total of 3 businesses myself and a few others where I am in partnerships. Each time you start a business the basics are pretty well the same. Here are 10 things I believe are really important for anyone starting up a business....
1. Don't waste your dollars on things you don't need. This alone is one of the biggest reasons people go under. You simply won't need expensive office equipment, computers, phone systems etc when starting out. You'll be surprised at how well a computer of 2 years will perform in caparison to one that's brand new for triple the price! Be real with your $$$$. The basic here is that if it's not going to make money for you, build or protect your business then simply AND quickly look/walk away so you're not tempted to buy it - extravagance has no place when your starting a business on a budget. If you've got hundreds of thousands to splurge though, forget all of the above and go to point 2!
2. Develop a plan of where you wish for you AND your business to be this time next year. You will need to think about such things as a basic marketing plan to so you know what marketing you need to do to achieve that outcome. Starting and building a business is like building a house without the framework it's bound to crumble. Think of your business plan as your roadmap - without it you don't know where you're headed or how to get there. So take a couple of hours and give it some consideration, if you're serious about developing a successful business then I'm sure you can get serious enough to schedule some time in to do it.
3. Ask and get advise - this is huge! This one factor if not done or acted upon can send you under in a quick way! Ask professionals for help and guidance, they will steer you clear of known traps that you just won't know about starting out (I've learnt this one the hard way!). You don't need to be a hero and do everything, and think of everything, yourself. Hate to tell you this but, when you start out you DON'T know everything ok - so don't embarrass yourself by thinking you do, as the only one you'll fool will be yourself(indeed years down the track I'm still learning something everyday)
4. Make sure your business look is congruent. Have a business name that explains what you do so you're customers are buying or dealing from you rather than trying to figure out what you do. BEFORE you register the name, check that you can also get the website domain for it too. It's a real inconvenience and creates dramas for your customer AND you having to explain it to everyone! Colours, style etc need to be the same throughout your website, stationary, business cards etc
5. Hire right - if you are in the retail sector than hire a people person with personality plus over someone with the skills - you can teach practical skills such as taking money etc - but you can't teach people skills. If you need someone for accounts or admin where they aren't dealing with your customers then obviously the skills are more important.
6. Base your business on how you can add value to your customers. You'd be surprised how your business it will grow by suiting the needs of your 'ideal' client AND looking after them each and every time.
7. Know, understand and keep in contact with clients you WANT to deal with - it will not only make business more pleasurable for you and the clients will love dealing with you as you're always happy etc too - happy clients, more business, more referrals, less money spent on advertising and marketing!
8. Get organised - for goodness sake, NO ONE enjoys being stuffed around by someone always giving excuses for their mess, un-organisation, forgetting to follow through, not implementing, lack of communication, being late etc etc etc - get yourself some solid an effective systems to back you up in business so you can do it right EVERY time.
9. Work WITHIN your budget - never above it. It is disastrous to think "Oh we'll get more money in, it'll be right, or oh such as such is expected to pay this month" etc - it won't be - be conservative in your spend otherwise you will go under before you can blink! Don't sign leases or contracts on anything based on a projected income - you're playing with fire and you'll be busy enough without the stress and pressure of this to add to your lot.
10. Outsource what you're not good at or don't like. I'll admit it I do not enjoy any form of admin - yet I'm a perfectionist and need everything to be systemised so it frees me up to be creative. So instead of learning how to do accounts in MYOB and instead of procrastinating for days on filing etc (after I gave both a go time and again) it was easier, quicker and more productive for me and my business to outsource it to someone who WAS passionate about doing it. Not only do they do it in a fraction of the time - but they do it well because they love doing it!
Of course I could easily keep going on - there's always something you learn in business - however I'm sure these 10 will give you a great place to start...
And one more thing ENJOY what you're doing - if you're not, you're definitely in the wrong game and now is a good time to change careers!
Abundant Success To You!
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This article was written by Rachael Bermingham, Australian business woman, international marketing strategist and entrepreneur.