Running a small business can be an extremely rewarding.
But success doesn’t happen overnight and you’ll have challenges to face along the way.
And while many entrepreneurs might think they’ll make money as soon as they open their doors for business, it’s rarely the case.
A successful business is built on a foundation of pre-planning and organization. So before you launch, it’s worth taking the time to work out all the necessary steps before you launch.
Here are 5 things to get you started off on the right foot.
1) Get business funding
U.S. lending standards are getting stricter. And as every business has different needs, finding the right loan and lender can be confusing and time-consuming.
There are, typically, three main funding options available for small businesses:
Government funding programs – If you don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan or you need additional financial support, there are programs on offer which may be able to provide you with a government-guaranteed loan.
Bank loan – Some banks, such as J.P. Morgan, Chase and Bank of America, provide loans specifically designed for small businesses.
Alternative funding – If your financial track-record isn’t the greatest, you might want to think about finding an alternative lender. But while their lending policies are more flexible, you might find their interest rates are significantly higher than a bank’s.
2) Improve your customer service skills
Providing customers with excellent service is vital to your business’s growth and success. So identify the ways your product or service meets their needs and build trust by communicating with them in a way they understand.
Be open and honest at all times. And encourage your customers to the same, by leaving feedback or criticism of your services.
3) Market your business
Small business success massively depends on marketing.
Marketing is the process of introducing and promoting your business offering to potential customers through advertising, public relations, promotions, and special offers.
In today’s competitive environment, marketing is a powerful tool. Used properly, it will help your business stand out from the crowd. You may well offer the best products or services in your industry, but without marketing, none of your potential customers will know about it.
If time and resources are limited, it can be difficult to hit the ground running with your small business marketing. But if you can manage the following activities, you’re on the right track:
- Set up social media profiles and grow your presence through attention-grabbing posts designed to engage your audience
- Attend local and industry-relevant networking events armed with branded leaflets and business cards
- Pay for advertorials (advertisements that look like articles) in local and industry-relevant media
- Network with local news outlets
- Create a website and blog and post regular news and business updates.
4) Build business partnerships
Owning and running a small business sometimes feels lonely and stressful. But don’t let those feelings hold you back from success. By forming strategic partnerships with other like-minded business owners and individuals, you’ll build up a reliable support network.
The simplest way to start establishing partnerships is to attend networking events, local business groups, or charity fundraisers. Better still, host your own event and invite others to attend.
5) Insure your business
Setting up and running your own business is often risky. So, it’s important to understand which risks to take, which to avoid, and which you can protect yourself against. A lot of time, money, and effort goes into establishing your business. Don’t risk sabotaging all your hard work because you haven’t got adequate insurance in place.
Whatever industry your small business is operating in, insuring yourself and your company is essential. It’s coverage for when have made a mistake, as well as when you haven’t, and a customer tries to sue you.
Small business insurance is designed to protect you, as well as cover any legal fees so you can defend yourself,or your business, in court if you have to.
Disclaimer: Before embarking on any business venture, InsuranceBee recommends consulting an expert.