Starting a business is a dream for many people, but around 595,000 companies will fail or close this year alone. Incorporation is the easy part, but you’ll also need to do a lot of things right if you want to be in operation one, five, or ten years from now.
Follow these points to strengthen your existing business or improve your odds of success when creating a plan for your new company.
Starting a Business: 7-Point Checklist to Success
1. Hone the Right Mindset
Do you have the right mindset for your business? Short-term and long-term goals need to be set, and the things you do today should push the needle forward to build the company you envision five years from now.
However, you must also be mentally strong because no one’s business journey is smooth or predictable. The truth is:
- You’ll have major wins
- You’ll have losses
Mistakes and failures are a part of doing business, and you can’t allow them to set you back. It’s important to recognize and accept that you’ll lose customers and team members throughout the years.
You’ll go from many customers leaving rave reviews to one complaining and being extremely unhappy (even if they were provided a great service or product). The ups and downs can take a toll on your mental health if you don’t have the right mindset and prepare yourself for these highs and lows early on.
2. Plan Before You Open Your Business’s Doors and Never Stop
Before you start your business, you need to understand:
- The route you plan to take to reach success
- The ups and downs you may face along the way
- That business climates change, and you’ll need to adapt
- That monitoring and realigning can mean the difference between success and failure
You need to have a plan before you start your business and another one to follow throughout your company’s operation. But – don’t allow your plan to paralyze you. The most important part is to start and then review your plan daily.
Before you start the day, ask yourself: are things that are outside of your control impacting your mindset?
As discussed above, business comes with its own set of challenges. You’ll likely have times when good employees quit or big deals fall through or key customers leave, but you should accept that this is a part of business, and it shouldn’t impact you long-term. At the end of every week, review what happened during the week, and ask yourself: Am I moving in the right direction? Do I need to make any changes?
If you do need to make adjustments, it’s easier to have a few things baked into your overall plan. For example, related to staffing, you can plan for:
- What to do if someone quits.
- Where you’ll source new talent if necessary.
- Jobs and their descriptions that you’ll need to fill.
When you have a plan to follow, it will provide you with a roadmap to overcome business hurdles.
A lot of time in business is spent on budgeting, but don’t forget about pricing. You need to spend time understanding your competitor’s pricing, your target demographic, and the price your target is willing to pay.
- Low pricing may attract initial customers and clients for you, but if your margins are low it will likely limit your growth, and when costs rise, you may lose them when you raise your prices.
- High pricing may limit the number of customers and clients who can afford your services.
You also need to determine your differentiator, or why someone should use your company over a competitor.
4. Know and Communicate Your USP
Your USP, or unique selling proposition, is your differentiator. Low pricing can be your USP, but it’s often a bad one because it limits your growth potential. You may choose a USP based on customer experience or anything that you’re sure you can do better than the competition.
Not sure what your USP is just yet? Ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you going into business?
- What makes your business different from others?
- What can you do better than the competition?
- Why should a prospect buy from you?
One word of caution is that once you have your USP, you need to fulfill this promise. You need to walk the walk, so be sure that whatever promise you make, it’s one that you’ll be able to keep over the long term. In other words, build your operations and processes around it
Your USP can help you find clients you’ll love working with.
5. Identify Your Ideal Client
Every business owner has clients they love working with, but also those who demand more time and often seem to have a complaint about your services. It’s always in your best interest to find ideal clients, and this means identifying:
- Who is your ideal client?
- What do these clients need?
- What problems can you solve for these clients?
- What can you offer these individuals?
You don’t need to be all things to all people. In fact, you may want to consider niching your product or service down to meet your ideal client’s needs better and do more of the work you love each day.
Once you know who you want to work with, it’s time to begin marketing to them.
6. Market to the Right Market
Uncovering your ideal client helps you know who your target market is, but you also need to figure out:
- How you’re going to reach this market
- The message you want to send to your market
- Where best to reach your market
Working with a marketing agency that specializes in your target market can make this process infinitely easier.
7. Accountability and Support
If you’ve done everything on this list so far, your business’s future is in good shape. However, you also need someone to keep you accountable and provide support. This is where a good advisor can help you stay on track and grow your company.
Remember, a good advisor:
- Helps with processes
- Isn’t your friend – they will be 100% honest with you
- Knows your industry and has experience in it
- Helps you avoid bad decisions
- Provides sound advice
As your entity grows, it’s important to be willing to free up your time. You may not want to offload core tasks, but you can hire someone to deal with payroll, cleaning, or other tasks that take up time that could be better spent on growing your company.
Starting a business is a major commitment and undertaking. You need to adapt to industry changes, plan for the future, and focus on your present goals. If you follow the points above, you’ll be well on your way to creating and growing a long-lasting company.
To learn more about starting a business or to schedule an appointment, click here.