It’s easy to start a new business. But managing a business well and making it a success is the real challenge. To get the most out of the investments you’re putting into a new start-up, there are several things you should consider doing to give the company a head start.
- Create a Business Plan
This is a critical first step to ensure you’ve covered all bases of your new business. Your business plan should be a document that can be shared with your staff members internally, so they understand the goals and approach of the company they are working for.
It should include details about how the business will be run, how it will deal with customers, and how the company will be funded.
As well as serving its purpose as a plan to revisit over the coming months, drafting a business plan in the early stages of a new start-up can help with defining the company’s tone of voice, purpose, and overall objectives.
- Develop a Strategy
Another important document for any business is its strategy. This is separate from the business plan but should be closely linked. The strategy will set out the vision for the company and what it seeks to achieve over a certain period – normally 5-10 years.
Once your business plan is in place, you can take a bit more time to develop the strategy. It is sensible to draw up a strategy once you have senior people in place. Be ready to change your draft strategy accordingly.
Alongside the strategy, your company should develop a plan for implementing the strategy. This could form a part of the business plan, or it could sit as a separate document that is reviewed more frequently.
- Be Prepared to Improve
Remaining open to feedback throughout the cycle of any business can help to drive success. Implement feedback mechanisms between leadership and other employees, and between customers and the business.
This can significantly help to tailor marketing and communications material to your customers and make the most of suggestions made by those working for the company.
- Start Networking
Investing some of your time to connect with other business leaders and entrepreneurs can give you a head start with any new venture. Attending networking events, speaking with CEOs, and building long-term relationships can help to spur your business onwards.
Networking and connecting with others in the world of business can also help you to stay up to date with what’s going on. This is particularly important during times of national or international change, such as financial recessions and changes to business or tax rates.
- Know Your Target Audience and How to Reach Them
A great business idea can soon collapse if you aren’t able to reach the right people. Many new start-ups recruit a consultant or marketing expert to help identify their key target audiences and the best ways to reach them. Deciding on this information as soon as possible will enable you to plan more effectively and start out as you mean to continue.
The wealth of online tools available now makes it simpler to find out through market research which demographics are most interested in what your new business is offering. This can help you decide which marketing routes will be most effective and bring your business the best value for money. For example, a brand that wants to reach a young audience should invest in social media marketing and focus on new platforms and networks.
- Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
In the early stages of your business, setting key performance indicators (KPIs) can help to keep employees on track and give you a better way of measuring progress.
Once you have defined your business goals and the way the company will operate, set KPIs and ensure everyone working for the company is aware of them. You should discuss KPIs with new employees as they are hired, making sure they know exactly what is required of them.
The best and most effective KPIs are those which are clear, measurable, and have a strong relevance to the business. In other words, when people look at the business KPIs, they can clearly see how improvement in one area would lead to the desired business outcomes.
- Take Time to Find the Right People
To give your new firm the best chance of success, take your time finding the right people. Rushing into establishing a new business could result in hiring the wrong people, which can, in turn, lead to lengthy processes finding new staff and letting existing workers go.
Hiring the wrong people can also waste time during the training and induction process. When time and money are invested in new starters who then only stay in the business for a few weeks, business expenditure on staff costs can dramatically increase.
Search for the right staff through multiple avenues. Speak with recruitment agencies and consultants, particularly when hiring senior roles. Advertise on social media as well as jobs boards and online job websites.
Conduct a comprehensive interview process that will allow you to get an overview of all the skills and expertise of candidates who have applied. Investing the time early on can save you a lot of time and hassle in the longer term while getting your business off the ground.
- Focus on Retaining Talent
A disorganized or unwelcoming business will prevent people from staying in the company and giving their skills and talents to the overall success of your new start-up.
The work doesn’t end when you’ve hired people and they’ve signed the contract. You should think about what you can do to make the business a better place to work, encouraging good staff to stay longer.
Company benefits, flexible working hours, wellbeing, and mental health provisions, and a friendly and open culture are all significant factors that can help with retaining talent in the long term.
- Grow Your Business on Social Media
Social media is a useful tool during any point of a company’s life. But in the early stages, social media platforms provide a great way to get free and cheap advertising and visibility for your new venture.
Create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms can help to establish your brand while keeping costs minimal. Consider investing a small amount of your budget into social media marketing. A pilot project will allow you to assess and monitor how well your ads are performing before deciding whether this is a priority area for investment.
Putting faces and personalities to the business can help draw people in and build trust and confidence among your target audience, particularly as a new start-up. This is often the CEO or director of the company, but you can delegate the responsibility to a marketing executive or communications director who will take day-to-day responsibility for this element of the business.
- Prioritize Customer Service
Most businesses will interact with customers on some level. Whether you are interacting with members of the general public or you’re involved in business-to-business marketing, you should give plenty of thought to customer service and customer care.
Appoint a staff member or team responsible for customer service. This should be somebody whom customers can approach with complaints or concerns about the business or services they have received. Having this mechanism in place will help to monitor and review customer feedback and complaints, as well as ensuring your company is prioritizing good customer service.
- Review Your Plans Regularly
In the early stages of any business venture, you should review your plans and outcomes regularly to ensure you’re adapting as needed. The initial days and weeks of starting a new company can throw up many questions or problems and being ready to review and reassess accordingly will help both immediately and in the long term.
Your business plan and strategy should be reviewed at least on an annual basis. But for new businesses, reviewing each month can be useful in tailoring the strategies for optimum success.
Recruiting a consultant to review your plans and provide recommendations specifically for your business can be invaluable in the short and long term.
- Be Solution-Focused
Running a business will bring many challenges and problems along the way. Focusing on solutions and trying to find a way through will help you and your business to become more resilient.
Being a solution-focused business will also help to build trust and confidence among your employees, customers, and other businesses. You will earn respect and a good reputation for creating solutions rather than problems.
Starting a new business is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. The key to success will depend on many factors and will be driven by you and your team’s aptitude, drive, and determination. Connecting with other businesses, remaining focused on solving problems, and keeping your overall strategy in mind are some of the best ways to give your business a great head start.