Starting your own business is an exciting time, but it can also be incredibly daunting. You’ve built a venture from scratch, with the aim to watch it grow and thrive.
Whether you’ve just started your own business, or are considering it, what can you do to ensure it’s a success? Here are several tips you shouldn’t overlook.
1. Develop an agile long-term plan
Having a long-term plan can help you focus your efforts, without which your business can fail quickly. It’s impossible to account for every contingency, and part of developing a good business acumen is learning to react quickly to unexpected events. But, your business has a much better chance of success if you have a series of goals and milestones you wish to accomplish in a specific timeframe.
Make sure it’s an effective plan
The best way of creating a plan is by taking it step-by-step. Asking yourself specific questions can help you identify exactly what you want your business to achieve and where you should spend your money, time and effort.
Ask yourself three key questions
Where am I now? Take a close look at your business and where you’re spending the most time. Are you neglecting your social media marketing efforts? Do you even have your business properly registered and launched? If you’ve yet to set up your new business, it’s time to move from the planning stage and take action.
Where do I want to be? After taking stock of where you are and what you have, you are in a much better position to determine what you want to achieve. The key here is to set conservative goals. A five-year plan is great, but difficult to monitor and analyse at regular intervals. Where do you want to be in 30-days … 6 months?
How can I put this in action? In order to achieve a goal, you need a solution. This will depend on your main objectives. For example, if you want to increase conversions, maybe you need to revisit your landing page and include some slick web copy that will entice visitors.
If you’re worried about high bounce rates, research User Experience (UX) and usability. Finally, make this plan tangible. If it’s written down, not only will you be reminded of your goals, but so will your team. They’ll know exactly what steps need taking to help the company reach its targets. By setting realistic objectives, you’ll see the progress as it happens. Don’t forget to revisit your timeline at halfway points and revise when necessary.
2. Don’t neglect online marketing
Marketing, especially online, can be the one thing that sets your business apart. Gaining customers is all about visibility, so an effective marketing campaign is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal.
SEO and SEM are critical. SEO, search engine optimization, is what makes it easy for potential customers to find you online. If someone is searching for “lawyers jersey” in Google, if you’ve optimized your website for that keyword, then you’ll be ranking in front of your competitors who don’t. When paired with SEM, or search engine marketing, (i.e., buying traffic through paid search listings) you can easily get in front of active online searchers with an interest in your products and services.
Don’t overlook social media. Social media can be a great way of connecting with your customers and getting positive feedback and testimonials. Not only that, it can establish your business as an authority in your industry or niche, by producing and sharing relevant content that provides value to your followers.
3. Consider the legal implications
Getting your business up and running is often the most difficult part of the process. This also means that there are certain legal aspects you will need to take care of.
Determine what sort of business you are running (Here’s a nifty guide from my firm to get you started). Are you a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company? The type of business you are running will dictate what legal requirements you need to meet.
Create an HR strategy and roadmap
If you have (or plan on having) a number of employees, you’ll need to ensure you have employment contracts in place. While in an ideal world you won’t have any issues with your employees, if they’re underperforming or you face allegations of unfair dismissal, a legal team who specializes in employment law can help you resolve the case without resorting to costly legal measures.
While it’s not always possible (or even advisable) to be best friends with your employees, you should maintain a positive relationship with your team. Setting regular KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) can help you keep track of employee performance and are useful should you need to dismiss them.
Prioritize workplace health and safety
If you run your business out of an office and are responsible for the safety of your staff, you need to be aware of health and safety regulations. While it can be complicated, it’s incredibly important and can have a major impact on your business.
For instance, conducting regular risk assessments of all potential hazards is one way to protect yourself and maximise workplace safety.
Your business is your pride and joy, so you’ll do everything in your power to make sure it’s a success. Knowing what to do next can be intimidating, but having a plan, marketing your business and seeking legal advice when necessary, puts you in the prime position to build a profitable business.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Carl Parslow is the managing partner of Parslows’ Jersey office. He has 20 years of experience practicing law. Carl was initially called to the English Bar in 1996 and in 2003 he was called to the Jersey Bar as an advocate. He is an Honorary Librarian of the Law Society of Jersey and serves on several Law Society committees. Carl is an extremely experienced SME and employment lawyer. Connect with @parslowsjersey on Twitter.
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