Six Actions Small Business Owners Should Take Before, During, & After Start-up

You Want To Start Your Own Business…Now What?

Here are six areas to focus your efforts as a small business owner, whether you are planning to start your business or already own it. You don’t have to be an expert on day one.  The challenge is to continue to develop these skills and incorporate them into your business strategy.  Over time, your positive results will reflect your efforts. 

Develop your sales and marketing skills.

You can have a fantastic business idea, but if you do not know how to get the word out to potential customers and build your brand, the business is either going to fail or not live up to its potential.  There are several ways to develop your sales and marketing skills including working with outside consultants or hiring qualified talent.  Those options can be expensive.  A less expensive approach is to do it yourself.  Take a sales or marketing seminar, read some books, research other companies and learn from their marketing approaches.  You need to identify your target customers, a method to reach them and then educate them on your product or service.  No matter what approach you take to grow your business, make sure you have a hand in it.  This is your vision; you are the best person to lead the growth effort.

Maintain relevant market data.

Markets change, your customer’s requirements change, new competitive products or services enter, or your own reputation may be shifting.  These are just a few of the things you should be aware of and tracking as a small business owner.  If you make a concerted effort to follow these market conditions and allow yourself the flexibility to adapt, your company will see continued success.  If you wait to identify why your business is changing around you, then you will constantly be following and trying to keep up.  Market research will keep you in the lead of your market, more innovative and more successful.

Create a financial awareness.

It is your money; you should know where every penny is going.  Take the time to understand your financial software and get the most out of it.  Do not rely on someone to do your books without doing regular auditing of their work.  Consider taking some business administration classes, manage your budget and don’t overspend.

Hire good people.

Take the time to hire the right people for your small business.  You trust them with your livelihood, your money, and fulfilling your vision.  If they are not working out, cut your losses early.  You have too much at risk.  Try hiring people as contract workers first to ensure they are a good fit.

Stay courageous.

Starting your own business takes a lot of risk and self-determination.  Keeping it moving forward and growing it requires the courage to continue taking risks to fulfill your dream even when the results are not what you expected.  When you stay informed of your market, and educate yourself on all aspects of the business you will be more confident in the decisions you are making.  Self-motivation, creating clear goals and leadership with a positive attitude will take you very far.  Make sure you maintain this attitude over the long haul. Tenacity is one of your most important qualities if you want to succeed.  It never happens as fast as you like, so stay focused.

Protect your investment.

It is never too late to protect your investment by hiring a good attorney specializing in intellectual property or small business law.  Whether it is forming your LLC, establishing documentation to hire your first employees or trademarking your brand, there is support out there that will ensure you are covered accurately and legally.  If you can’t afford professional council, there are do-it-yourself websites and small business kits that you can use on your own.  Remember, you may be small today, but if your intention is to grow, you should make the investment in professionals that keep you secure while you focus on growing your dream.

I hope this perspective is helpful to you in your day-to-day life.  Test out these concepts and share your results with us.  Others can benefit from your experiences.  Good luck!

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Written by Lisa Woods, President Lisa Woods Consulting & Founder of ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a dynamic business leader & author located in Western New York with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she partners with business leaders to understand their vision, identify internal and external roadblocks, define a practical strategic path forward and guide a successful transformation. This work includes strategy definition & goal setting, organizational design, facilitating team buy-in, establishing visual metrics, internal and external research studies, business feasibility assessments, and investor insight into organizational strength, weakness & strategic opportunity. She helps business leaders drive growth & increase profits.

Strategic Consulting ǀ Management Consulting: Strategy Realized

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