Talk to many people who have started their own business and they’ll tell you that it’s one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. But becoming your own boss isn’t without its risks and it’s an unfortunate fact that a fairly high proportion of why startups fail to make it past the first year.
For some this is inevitable – perhaps circumstances beyond their control play a part or the customer base they were anticipating simply doesn’t exist – but paying close attention to four key areas can improve the prospects of success for any business.
The way you run the operations of your business can influence almost every aspect, from the premises you choose to your overall efficiency.
It’s useful to regard the operations part of the company as an over-seeing influence with a bigger picture of where you are now, where you want to be and how it’s going to get you there. Having a working knowledge of what business administration entails is an important place to start. It also touches on many of the following areas.
For businesses of every size, one of their greatest assets is undoubtedly the people who work for them. So it’s essential that you recruit the sorts of people who will share your goals and also buy into the company culture that you are aiming to create. That means you need to take great care about who you recruit.
Make sure that they have the experience and skills you need and that they’re as serious about success as you are. Although money’s likely to be tight for any start-up, it is also important for HR recruitment to pay a competitive salary if you want to attract the best.
Once you’ve recruited the right person or team, you’ll need to follow the best HR practices. This is a wide ranging area that covers everything from the conditions of employment to the perks, benefits and incentives you are prepared to offer.
It works both ways. By having defined HR guidelines, it puts you more in control and it also means your employees will appreciate the fact that you are taking your responsibilities as an employer seriously.
Perhaps you should also consider putting together an employee handbook which doesn’t have to replace a written contract but complements it in a more user-friendly and less legalistic way.
Last, but certainly not least, comes finance. Without effective control of your company’s start up costs and working capital, there’s no chance of success but with control, it can make it even more profitable and successful. One essential is to invest in quality online accounting software. This will not only keep you more in control of your cashflow situation, it will also automate a wide range of operations including invoicing and bookkeeping.
It is also crucial to understand the startup services that are available, often times free of cost, to help your business succeed. Startup Nation is one example, and the SBA, or Small Business Administration, is another excellent resource. These resources can help you answer questions like “whats the best marketing method?” or, “is branding necessary?” In addition, you can learn about topics like ecommerce for small business, leadership characteristics for business, ecommerce sales tax collection, differences between SEO and SEM, business financing trends and many more. If you want your business to succeed, remember to take advantage of any and all small business startup resources and tools made available to you.
It’s also important that you have a finance professional working for you, either as a contractor or an actual employee. Their expertise and experience will be essential in making your company a profitable success.
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