So, you’ve scoured the world for the best business ideas and are ready to move forward in the development of your business. Your service or product is ready to go, and you have a brand and logo you can be proud of. The most important thing you will need to do from here on out, as your small business begins to grow and thrive, is to keep in mind the fundamentals — the basics of business development and maintenance.
These are the singular “must haves” of your new business plan, and they will be the determining factors in whether you ultimately succeed or become another busted business.
1. A Plan to Manage Money
Keep in mind that the number one reason businesses go bankrupt is not the lack of a marketable service or product, and not even due to the lack of profits. The reason most businesses go bankrupt is the lack of cash flow. Think about the inventory you will need to buy and the cash required for that.
Consider the way in which cash comes into your business- do you collect payments from consumers? If so, what is the timeline required when you consider how long they have to pay you? Do you make regular echeck payments for a business loan or debtor that you must take into account? Good cash planning will consider all of the individual working parts that affect your cash on hand position. It is critical that you understand and plan for all of those, especially if any of them have fluctuating prices due to market conditions.
2. A Way to Reach your Audience
Begin by researching the competitors in your industry and find out who their consumers are. This is a fast and inexpensive way to provide you with information and ideas to follow. Once you have determined your target market, make sure to create and maintain a positive social media presence.
Don’t simply use your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to promote your business, but be sure to link into interesting and relevant articles, and respond thoughtfully to any and all complaints, comments, and suggestions. The most important part is ensuring that your consumers know that there are actually humans behind the business who are interested and who care about what they have to say.
3. A Higher Purpose that Matters
People want to work for and patronize businesses that are more than just revenue-generating machines. They want to believe in the value of what it is they are contributing time and effort to. This does not negate the significance of setting and maintaining sales or profit goals as part of growing your business and ensuring its viability.
It simply means that employees will work harder and consumers will be more loyal if they see what they are doing as a contribution to a higher purpose. Whether it is through the development of a scholarship fund for underrepresented college students or a give-back program that is built into your business plan, it is important for you to find a way to choose a cause that you, your customers, and your employees can embrace.
4. A System for Recruiting Talent
Recruiting and retaining efficient, effective employees that are a good fit is important for expanding and maintaining your business. It’s very important that you develop your employee pool before you actually need it, and the first step is to develop the most accurate job description you can. Knowing what knowledge and skills you need to find in your recruits will help you find people who fill the requirements of the job.
You may want to consider investing time in developing relationships with placement and career offices at universities, whose interest in placing graduates with degrees in the field or industry of their training is as high as your own. Also, contact recruitment businesses and executive search firms that can help you woo prospective candidates.
Additionally, online job boards are a place where potential candidates may post their resumes, even if they are not currently searching for a job. Some of the best online and paper resources include professional association websites and magazines, where candidates with your area of expertise will peruse employment opportunities is another idea, and your current employees may also provide an additional resource when they participate in professional conferences and associations. Some potential employees may be found on social media outlets, including LinkedIn.
Have you recently started a new business? What are some “bumps in the road” that point to things other entrepreneurs need to remember? Feel free to post your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions here.