Turning the key: 7 tasks to complete during the early days of your business
Walking into your new office, it’s more than likely that your first step will be to procure yourself a vacuum cleaner and give the place a good go-over. Beyond the things that are staring at you in the face, there are some key steps to follow to avoid future headaches as a business owner, and a few things to always keep in mind as you start to grow your fledgling business.
1. Ensure you register and insure your business. This is an important first step as it will set you up correctly for tax reasons as well as starting you off on the right foot when it comes to your business finances.
2. Gather key resources that are integral to the running of your business. This could be relative equipment, such as IT, furniture, office/warehouse space, staff (only if necessary; if you are a one-person business, you could establish a plan for future scaling of the business and required staff) and log these expenses for tax.
3. Set up your financial tracking and project management tools. A financial tracking tool may be as simple as a template, depending on the nature of your business, or it may be financial software that you can link to your bank account if you so choose, minimising the amount of manual data entry required. Project management tools, such as Trello, allow you to easily create hierarchies to your tasks and to archive all completed projects for future reference. It is important to establish these practices prior to running your business so that you don’t have any headaches down the track.
4. Research your market. This will help you market yourself strategically. Knowing the various ways in which you can market and build your business will help you choose the right fit for you. If you aren’t aware of the different methods of marketing or the different ways to structure your business, you will just be following your nose without any insight into your options.
5. You should already have a business plan. If not, develop one! The next step is to implement your marketing plan, the largest part of which is establishing your branding and setting up customer contact points, including social media and websites. Avoid skimping on your branding but instead look at using an agency that can produce branding and a website that you can easily manage and that translates to all marketing collateral (business cards, social media images, newsletter branding etc.). There are many freelance and start-up agencies that can help you build your brand correctly from the beginning.
6. Establish goals. Writing down your goals for the business and work with an advisor, whether it be someone else you know in business or a government service, to structure your goals according to feasibility and the reality of how your business will grow. Creating small and large goals will help lift you out of the quagmire of stress and anxiety that can occur with running a new business.
7. Prepare for lulls in your business flow. Both financially and in your capacity to work, there will be ups and downs. Be aware that the time of year will affect your business, such as post-Christmas and end-of-financial-year. Just as your business will have ebbs and flows, so will your ability to work at 100%. Taking an hour to walk through a park or at the beach is not slacking off, but allowing your mind time to clear itself for new ideas to appear.