Launching your own business is one of the most thrilling and satisfying things that you can ever do. You are turning a dream into a reality; you are bringing your concept from an idea that you have spit-balled with your friends into something that is going to make money and provide you with your livelihood. It is also one of the most stressful and demanding things that you can ever do. This is something that is going to demand your full attention from the very first moment that you start thinking about it as something that you are going to take seriously.
When you are embarking on a journey like this, it can sometimes feel as though there are potential pitfalls at every turn. It can be very easy to start thinking about the path forward as being nothing more than a list of things that you could potentially get wrong. What’s more, we have all seen just how tough things are for small businesses out there right now. But staying positive is crucial, and so is making sure that you are as well prepared as you can possibly be. Here are a few tips to help you get your business up and running smoothly.
Have A Concept That You Are Clear On
There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that they have a great idea for a business. But how many of those people are able to not only explain what they want to do, but make it sound exciting to investors? To be able to explain who the target audience, where it could grow to in five or ten years, and how it would actually make money? The first step in any small business owner’s journey is whittling their pitch down from a vague concept to an actionable idea.
Do Your Market Research
Once you are crystal clear on the concept for your business, it is time to start scoping out the competition. The recent difficulties mean that competition is more ferocious than ever out there. It is so important to have an understanding of what other businesses you are going to be going up against. You need to look at what they offer that will directly clash with your business, as well as potential niches that you could exploit. You need to look at how they have pivoted to online in the wake of the major changes of 2020. You need to look at how they interact with customers, and how they advertise their product.
Make A Business Plan
Before you start taking your business idea out to investors and potential collaborators, you need to draw up a business plan. Simply put, this is the long version of your concept pitch that should be backed up with a ton of market research and a breakdown of what financing you need to make your concept a reality.
You need to create detailed customer profiles, including age range, income, and online habits. You should expect to answer a lot of questions ranging from why you are interested in this field to very specific details that could be on anything from packaging to office location. As an entrepreneur there will be a lot riding on your ability to sell yourself, but you need to make sure that you have the data and the research that you need to back up what you’re saying.
Find The Right People
As much as some entrepreneurs might like to tell you otherwise, running a business is not a one-person operation. Of course, you are going to need to take a lot on your own shoulders, especially when you are just getting started, but as you get further along your journey you are going to need some help. It is going to be very important for you to sit down and work out exactly what kind of skills you need from any employees or partners. You need to be brutally honest about which tasks and responsibilities require skills that you either do not have or are not as confident as you need to be.
When you are in a rush and you are on a budget, it can be tempting to lean on friends and family who are willing to lend a hand. However, in the long run it makes more sense to cast a wider net and look for people who can offer expert advice. Be sure to interview any candidates before offering them a role, and always check work experiences and references to be on the safe side.
Stay On Top Of Your Finances
One of the most important duties that you will have as a small business manager is keeping on top of your finances. Remember that if you have any concerns about managing the budget, then it is well worth talking to a financial advisor or using an accounting firm to help you understand your responsibilities. It seems fair to say that any entrepreneur who has had success raising the funds for their own company and getting it off the ground probably has a pretty good head for figures, but you are going to have a huge number of different responsibilities to keep track of.
Using a professional could help you to not only keep your attention focused on other problems, but it could help you to identify possibilities for adding further revenue to your company, as well as saving some money. They can advise you on whether you may be eligible for any grants from the government for example.
You also need to make sure that you do not lose track of your personal financial commitments during this time. It is easy enough to do when most of your day is spent worrying about your company, but you do not want to end up getting a late payment notice on your income tax, for example. If you are looking for an income tax calculator in Ontario, then you should head over to Wealthsimple. They have a range of tools and services to help you keep your budget running smoothly.
Start Working On Your Online Strategy Now
We all saw how businesses in every sector were forced to pivot to online back in 2020. While there has been a lot of discussion in the media about just how permanent this pivot is, and whether or not we have seen the beginning of the end for in person shopping and office buildings, the fact is that any new business is going to have an uphill struggle when they are entering the online marketplace. Remember that your competitors have had at least two years to think about the best ways to capture their target audience’s attention and drive business. If you are launching a business this spring, then this needs to be near the top of your to-do list.
First, create a website that is eye-catching and accessible. If your homepage looks templated or it is difficult to figure out where to find things, then the average user is just going to click away and find somewhere better. Start working on some SEO-driven content for your website. Good content does a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to getting people to your business. You also need to remember that Google updates its algorithm constantly, and that it factors in spam and user experience. That means that you need your content to be well-written and informative. You should also consider featuring other media on your site, such as video or podcasts to demonstrate your experience.
When it comes to social media, you need to think carefully about which platforms your target audience uses most frequently. It is not worth spending a lot of time on visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, for example, if your company does not offer anything that is easily digestible on those platforms. Remember that your social media presence needs to reflect your business’ personality. We are all spending a lot more time online these days and customers are smart enough to recognise a half-hearted channel.
Work On Your Work-Life Balance
Now, when you are launching a new business, you should expect it to consume the bulk of your waking life. You need to make sure that you are committing enough time and headspace to this venture to give it the best possible chance of success. However, we have all read about the impact of burnout over the last couple of years. A lot of us have a much better understanding of how a lack of balance between our work and our personal lives can lead to serious issues.
With that in mind, try to find time in the day where you can switch off and stop looking at your messages for a little while. Sleep is so important when you are pushing yourself hard, and you should be getting around seven to nine hours every night. Try to make sure that you are eating healthily during this time and getting plenty of outdoor time and exercise.