Getting your business ready to open up can be a stressful time. With seemingly millions of things to think about – it can be easy to forget a few. This article aims to get you ready to go without missing something. You’d be surprised how many people forget something simple.
We’re going to assume you’ve already got the “big” things ready to go – like the idea for your business is already in place with a market for your product, premises, funding and legal status all secure. If you’re missing one of those things, you might need to have a rethink about opening for business soon. That being said, here are a few things you might have missed as you concentrated on other tasks:
Get a quality website
You might think this one seems super obvious – and it should be to many. In fact, if you’re running an online business you’ve probably already addressed it. However, in today’s market – every new business needs a website. Not just any old website either – a good one.
Even if you’re setting up a traditional bricks-and-mortar business, your website will present a professional image of your firm and it’ll often be the first thing a potential customer sees about you – which as a huge impact on how likely they’ll be to do business.
You’d be surprised how many “older” businesses are still running without a website – but that doesn’t mean they’re right. Try and get a jump on your competition by making sure your web-presence is second to none.
Fine-tune and pay attention to your business plan
You should already have a business plan. Actually, it should have been one of the first things you did when you were even contemplating starting this business. If you haven’t – go back to the start, you’re probably missing more than just what’s on this list. However, one big mistake many new businesses make is that once their business plan has been “signed-off” by the bank of investors, they lose track of what they were really trying to do.
With so many other things on your mind as you approach opening day – it can be easy to forget some of the fundamentals of your business plan and you could lose track of what you’re really trying to do. Make sure your business plan is at the forefront of your mind, and make changes to it if you need to.
One good trick is to cut the plan down to some main bullet-points and pin them to the wall of your office – to give you a constant reminder. You can see it as a mission statement or plan of attack, and it could help keep your mind on the goal.
Enlist friends and family
You don’t necessarily want to start recruiting your family to do unpaid work, but make sure you’ve got everyone on board. Aside from being potential new customers, getting your business out there is super important in the early days. One good (free) form of marketing is word of mouth – so make sure all your friends and family are trumpeting your business to everyone they know.
Get help from your Student Union
Whether you’ve just graduated or even if you’re still studying, you might find your Student Union are much more helpful than you think. Most universities want to help their alumni succeed so make sure you don’t ignore them.
Some universities will even offer business grants to current or former students, but even if that isn’t applicable for you – your university is a huge market for new customers or even employees. Even if it’s just a bit of free advertising in the form of a few posters – that’s not something to shirk at.
Build your social media presence
This one ties in with having a good website, but it’s another new step many businesses are still ignoring. Having a social media presence is not only a great way to market your business, but it’s also very effective in communicating with existing customers and building your brand.
Get some professional business cards
This simple tip is cheap and easy – but it’s another step many new business owners forget. Make sure your cards are high quality (this still shouldn’t be too expensive), and hand them out liberally whenever you talk about your business or meet potential customers (and clients).
Attend industry events and make the most of networking opportunities
These can be anything from huge industry-specific conferences to local business owner meetings. Most towns and cities run entrepreneur events or local business forums, and these are all great places to get your name out there and grow your business. They’re also a great place for your new business cards!
Make sure your staff are fully trained
Nothing screams ‘unprofessional’ like staff who don’t know what they’re doing – and it’s especially common in businesses that have just opened. You might think you workforce can learn as they go, but that’s a bad idea and could lose you business at the beginning.
If you can, fine tune what your staff should know and run through it meticulously before opening.
This is hugely important but also easily missed. Make sure you’re fully covered for the type of business you’re running, so you don’t get caught out.
Make sure your IT network is secure
If you know what you’re doing, you can set this all up yourself – but you might need to outsource your IT security if it’s not within your area of expertise. Making sure your data is secure is very important in today’s business world – so don’t skip this tip.
Get a business mentor
Here’s one additional tip that really could give you a leg up in the beginning and help get a break on your competitors – get a business mentor. You can often find these at local business events and some will even help you for free. Even if you have to hire someone, getting a professional who knows the ins and outs of your industry can be hugely beneficial, especially in the beginning.
Someone who’s been there and done that will really help spot problems that you might have missed and give you expert advice many new business owners often go without.
About the author
Keith Elton has had a few years away from the education industry where he has worked for a number of different businesses, mainly targeted at technology and science. His new role at a home tuition agency, SmileTutor has reintroduced him to the education sector and allowed him to share his expertise on how technology is dramatically changing the face of teaching and learning.