Just like when you build a house from scratch, starting out the right way will give your business a strong foundation. That will make you readier to respond to demand and cut down on the time it takes to maintain or adjust critical elements from day-to-day. You’ll even find it easier to apply for unsecured business loans and buy equipment.
Having a great idea is always an excellent place to start, but even the best business concepts will become hard work if you don’t put some basics in place from the get-go. In this article, we’re going to look at five things you need to know before starting any business. They’re easy to implement, simple to design, and you won’t need in-depth or specialist knowledge.
1. Write a Business Plan
Writing a great business plan is one of the best things you can do for your future self when you start a new business, and it’ll help you with all of the other items on this list. One of the best things about a business plan is it gives you a bird’s eye view of your venture. Thinking critically about your goals will help you identify any potential pinch points before they happen. You wouldn’t set off anywhere else without a plan, so take the time to map things out before starting your business journey. You’ll find it easier to talk about your services, you’ll feel more confident about where you’re going, and you’ll be better able to promote your strengths.
2. Think About Funding
Most businesses can’t trade without funding. They use unsecured business loans to provide cash flow finance, small business loans to cover all sorts of things like taking on extra staff, and asset leases to fund equipment, vehicles, and machines. If things go well and your venture is ready to expand, you’ll likely need to access additional funds.
Many business owners make the mistake of tackling funding when the need for unsecured business finance arises, but it’s a much better idea to stay ahead of the game. The fewer documents you have in place, the more expensive small business loans will be. The good news is, your business plan stands you in good stead, and it’s one of the first things an investor will look at when they’re assessing your business.
You can make your venture even more finance-friendly from the start by keeping the following items in order:
- Up-to-date cash flow forecasts: When you need investment or unsecured business finance, having your latest cash flow forecasts on hand is a quick, simple way to display where you’re at and where you’re headed.
- File your tax returns on time, every time: Whenever you need to apply for secured or unsecured business loans or leases, lenders check your returns to gauge how healthy your business is. Staying on top of tax is essential for many types of small business loan applications.
- Keep your accounts up to date: Whatever funding you need, whether that’s small business loans or asset finance, you’ll need to have up-to-date financials like accounts. Especially with unsecured business loans, providers need an accurate illustration of how your business performs, and your accounts provide that.
3. Make Some Marketing Plans
You can’t establish a successful business without customers, but potential clients won’t even know you exist unless you figure out ways to reach them. That’s why it’s essential to plan a marketing strategy from the start of your venture. Don’t forget that marketing costs money and effort, and ROI is important.
So, how will you know when you’ve optimised your marketing plan? Maximising sales means you need to monitor your marketing activities at all times. Luckily, the digital age makes that more painless than ever before, but you might need to brush up on some skills to take advantage of that. The simplest way to monitor your online marketing is by using Google Analytics, but there’s a range of tools out there, so do some reading and make sure that your marketing plan is doing the business.
4. Work on Your Website
Your website is your business for many potential clients, so you need to make sure it makes a good impression. You can use your website in several ways, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to reap rewards.
- Authoritative content: Even if you don’t sell online, your website is a place where people can find you, and learn about your business, so it’s good to convey expertise. Use a blog to inform your customers, promote it on social media, and regularly update the content.
- Top tip: Search engines like Google put a lot of weight on how authoritative a website is. If you can provide great content and answer lots of questions for visitors, that will go a long way to getting you to a good place in search engine land, which brings us to the next point:
- Learn some SEO basics: For businesses, ranking is everything. You’ll want to use your website to the max by appearing near the top of search results for your niche. It’s a great idea to find out how search engines like Google rate websites. Do some research and watch your website climb to the top.
5. Get Organised
Finally, there’s a lot to stay across when running a business – especially a new one. Often, just being organised and efficient can cut your workload considerably. Luckily, there are several digital tools for project management and collaboration out there. When you’re trying to keep track of a whole bunch of things, like website content, social media marketing posts, and making sure orders get fulfilled, try a tool like Monday.com to make things more ordered and trackable. It’s a place to list the status of jobs like your business plan, blog post scheduling, and even financial tasks like unsecured business loan applications – and it’ll make it easier to keep on top of everything.
About Author: Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the founder and CEO of Savvy, one of Australia's leading financial institutions. Established in 2010, Bill turned Savvy into one of BRW's fastest growing companies in 2015. He frequently shares his knowledge and ideas on finance, mortgage, money, and investment in the media.