You have just starting your own small business and, once the excitation has worn off, begin to wonder what to do next. There are a wide variety of things that you can and should be doing at some point. However, business owners need to prioritize those things that build a strong foundation for success. Here are some tips on how to move forward.
o Make sure you have a business plan written and ready to implement. You never want to "plan as you go" and you need to have a plan that reflects your vision for the company as well as outlining your strategies, goals, and milestones. You need to adjust the plan on a regular basis based on conditions and challenges that you did not expect.
o Get your financial reporting in order at the very beginning. It is much more difficult to create a reporting plan after you have been in business for awhile. Talk to your CPA about the things you need to document and track and then set up your bookkeeping in Quickbooks or some other financial software or hire a bookkeeper to set it up for you. This is a step that people often downplay at the beginning because money is not coming in yet and it seems like something that can wait. Well, it can not wait and you will pat yourself on the back for being so resourceful when the money does start coming in and you have your financial tracking in place.
o Most business owners have to borrow money at some point for expansion or to cover expenses during economic downturns. Begin the process of establishing good credit at the beginning by obtaining credit cards and paying them off promptly and setting up vendor accounts. You want to minimize the use of your own personal credit as much as possible because that can be a slippery slope and can damage your own ability to borrow down the road.
o Study your market to identify the major players who can help you with referrals and general advice. It takes time to build credibility with referral sources but you can save time by identifying those people or organizations that can send customers your way. This is true for a business that is Internet-based, home-based, or brick and mortar. You can also join the local Chamber of Commerce which can be a source of very useful information and contacts.
o Spend some time acquainting yourself with management and leadership concepts that can serve as a foundation for success. You will certainly learn as-you-go in many ways but try to reduce the learning curve and trail-and-error period by learning the basics up-front. There are some very good Internet-based management trainings available as well as a wide variety of management consulting companies that offer workshops on management concepts.
A successful small business start-up can be complicated and challenging but, if you cover these areas initially, you will have a much easier time getting your business up and running.