Starting your own small business can be extremely rewarding. It can also be somewhat daunting. No longer will you have the security blanket of working for someone else. If something goes wrong it is you who needs to deal with it. If there are staffing problems, you will need to step in. It’s a huge responsibility but it is also a great way to turn your dreams into reality.
You will no doubt already know what your business will sell or the service that you will provide. All you need to do now is make it a success. Here are some things to consider when starting a small business.
Where will you work from is a huge decision when starting any small business. If you intend employing staff you need to make sure your premises are big enough to accommodate your team. If working from your home isn’t an option, renting premises is a good idea and provides flexibility should you expand or decide to relocate at any point. Make sure you are fully conversant with the terms of the lease. Check the minimum rental period and notice provisions on both sides. Check who is responsible for insuring the building. If it’s the landlord, make sure you are given sight of the relevant documentation. You will most likely need to obtain insurance for your contents as well as cover for incidents involving health and safety. If you are in doubt as to any of the provisions or covenants contained in the lease, have a professional look over it on your behalf.
One of the most important things in any business is its staff. Employing the right team is crucial and personalities can sometimes be just as important as experience. It is crucial in any small business that you work well as a team. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Provide all staff with contracts and carry out inductions when they first join. Schedule regular progress meetings and keep them abreast of company performance. Carry out annual appraisals and where appropriate set individual or team KPI’s. A motivated and happy team is more likely to work as hard as it can.
You must know everything you can about how your company is performing financially to allow you to fine-tune things as necessary. You may want to hire an accountant to do your yearly accounts if you aren’t as au fait with the processes as you perhaps might want to be.
If your employees are paid by the hour or per project then timesheet software is a fabulous idea for your business. Not only will staff find it far easier to log their hours of work but you can track how long projects are taking and whether your cost projections are on track. This is a great way to analyze actual versus budgeted data for each project element. It also works particularly well in an environment where clients are billed based on company time.
Keeping in touch with what your competitors are doing is essential in any business. Carry out regular competitors’ reports. If they are selling and you are not, find out why. Maybe you need to adapt your products or look at your advertising strategies or pricing. Review the facts and figures and make the necessary changes as you see fit.
If your company relies on stocks from other suppliers make sure you are getting the best unit prices. Whilst you don’t want to be changing suppliers regularly, you do want to make sure that they are doing all they can to keep you as competitive as you can be in terms of sales prices.
Marketing and advertising
Regularly review your marketing and advertising strategies and try to prepare these in advance. If your company is one where the time of the year dictates sales, make sure your advertising is targeted to take place at the right time and in the right places. Ensure you know the demographics of your target market and where possible use your social media presence to capitalize on that.
Running your own small business can impact your family life so your family must be aware that things might be slightly disrupted, particularly in the beginning. You may be spending a lot more time at work than you were previously so having a family meeting and discussing concerns is a good idea. Having their support can make all the difference.