How to Set Your Business Up for Success in Year One
How to Set Your Business Up for Success in Year One
You want to hit the ground running when you start a business, not spend the first-year fumbling as you learn the ropes. To do that, you need to take high-impact steps now that improve your business’s performance tomorrow. Below, Konsole discusses the systems and practices that entrepreneur need to leverage to earn and grow more.
Start with a plan
Many business owners will tell you that a business plan isn’t necessary unless seeking financing. However, the reason so many entrepreneurs find business planning fruitless is because they fail to follow the business plan once they write it.
Not every startup needs a formal business plan, but you do need a roadmap that defines your goals and lays out your action plan for achieving them. A basic business plan should include these key components:
- Executive summary
- Market analysis
- Marketing plan
- Goals and objectives
- Financial plan
Do your research
Business planning also forces entrepreneurs to think critically about their business idea and separate the passion from the product. Market research in particular reveals key information about a startup’s customers, competitors, and industry that entrepreneurs can use to refine their business plan. Without it, you risk investing time and money into a business without a market.
Key market research tactics include:
- Online research
- Focus groups
- Social media listening
- Competitive analysis
Mitigate financial risk
Starting a business without a plan is dangerous, but that’s not the only way entrepreneurs expose themselves to unnecessary risk. Other common mistakes first-time business owners make include: operating as an unincorporated business, commingling business and personal finances, and not purchasing business insurance. While operating informally offers convenience, it can go very wrong. While tedious, incorporating and insuring a business is worth the effort.
Structuring your business as a corporation or limited liability company offers valuable benefits, but it also comes with certain responsibilities for business owners. Familiarize yourself with important tax and compliance requirements including filing annual reports, paying state and federal taxes, and maintaining licenses, permits, and certifications.
Understand your responsibilities as an employer
Businesses that hire staff are also required to comply with employment laws. This includes following Federal Labor Standards, displaying the required workplace posters, adhering to workplace health and safety laws, and withholding payroll taxes. Employer businesses also benefit from establishing training procedures and employee policies prior to recruiting.
Optimize payroll processing
Payroll, in particular, can be a time-consuming task for employers, especially for very small businesses that can’t justify the costs of payroll software. Yet regardless of business size, employers are required to maintain accurate payroll records. Businesses that haven’t automated payroll should use payroll templates to ensure accuracy, organization, and compliance with regulatory requirements. Integrating payroll templates with time tracking and scheduling further improves business efficiency, while a payroll calendar ensures you’re paying your employees on time and provides a year-over-year view of payroll costs.
Build a robust business network
When it comes to business structures, payroll taxes, and other financial matters, it’s best to make decisions under the advice of an accountant. An accountant is the number one professional that every business needs on speed dial, however, entrepreneurs shouldn’t stop networking there. Local businesses can connect with CPAs, business attorneys, suppliers, and other business owners through their local chamber of commerce. Industry associations and entrepreneurs’ organizations are other great places to network.
Much of a company’s success is determined by the steps it takes before earning its first dollar. That’s because once a business is up and running, there’s little time to ponder strategy — and you need to ensure you’re focused so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed. By establishing efficient and effective systems from the onset, you can focus on building your business instead of merely getting through the day-to-day.
Written by Chelsea Lamb from businesspop.net
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