Starting a new business, while an exciting and worthwhile endeavor, involves a lot of hard work. Many entrepreneurs struggle with the stress of making sure they are addressing all of the important tasks involved when getting a new venture off the ground.
There are legal requirements, fundraising concerns, marketing questions — the list goes on and on, and sometimes important items slip the minds of busy startup owners.
So, what are five important things every new business owner should be absolutely sure they do?
Make a Solid Business Plan
Putting together a solid business plan is a key factor in ensuring a business’s eventual success. A good business plan should contain all the basic information about the business, such as a company description, information about the management team, and what types of products or services will be offered.
Beyond the basics, a sound business plan should also contain thorough market research, which examines the business’s key competitors, and its place in the marketplace. Additionally, realistic financial projections are a must.
Not only will having a solid business plan in place make it easier to acquire financing, it will also give prospective business owners a reality check, which is sometimes much needed, and can help them hone their vague ideas into a plan that will work.
Get on Uncle Sam’s Good Side
It is very important that new business owners complete all the necessary legalities, or they risk getting themselves in trouble. Not only that, but they may be missing out on valuable opportunities, such as grants, tax breaks, or SBA loans.
New business owners should make sure they get a Tax ID (EIN), choose a legal structure (LLC, S Corp, etc.), obtain the necessary licenses and permits, register a business name, and register for state and local taxes.
Use Technology to Your Advantage, Now
It’s not new news that technology can level the playing field for small businesses, giving them marketing reach previously reserved for Fortune 500 companies. Despite this fact, some new business owners are slow to jump on the tech bandwagon.
All businesses should have an intuitive, well-designed website. It does not need to be too fancy, just simple to use, informative, and pleasing to the eye. Of course, social media marketing is an ideal way to drive customers to the website, by creating higher levels of engagement.
Mobile apps are another great way to make doing business easier. Business owners can take advantage of the proliferation of mobile data to track expenses, take payments, engage clients, and expand their share of today’s always-on society.
Register With the Business Credit Bureaus
The business credit bureaus cannot start tracking a business’s debt management habits until they know the business exists. This is why it is imperative that new businesses register with the major business credit bureaus.
Once the business is registered with the credit bureaus, payment history can be tracked, and a business credit rating can be built. Not only that, but business owners can sign up for services such as CreditMonitorTM from Dun & Bradstreet, which will alert them to any changes in their business credit rating, allowing them to track their progress, and correct any incorrect information which may appear.
Start Building Credit Early
The business world can be unpredictable. Passing fads, new competitors, and seasonal fluctuations in business can all result in abrupt changes to a business’s financial situation. The need for a sudden injection of capital can come out of nowhere. This is why it is very important that new businesses start to build a solid business credit rating as soon as they are able.
While it is true that new businesses are unlikely to qualify for unsecured business credit cards or business loans, there are other types of opportunities available to new businesses. Accounts with web-hosting companies, equipment leases, and vendor accounts with deferred payment options may be good places to start.