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4 Best Practices to Follow When Starting a New Business

You’re finally doing it: You’re betting on yourself, your expertise, and your potential and starting a new business. What once was a dream is now on the cusp of reality. Before you launch, though, there are a few bases you’ll need to cover. Put yourself on the path to success by following these four best practices in your new endeavor.

1. Build Out Your Business Plan

A new business without a plan is at risk of failure, no matter how good your idea may be. Develop a core plan that builds off the work you’ve already done to identify your customers and market demand. Determine your mission, vision, and outlook for the future. Identify what success looks like and what it will take to achieve your goals. 

Establish a budget for startup costs, carrying costs, and what you’ll need to bring in each month. Most endeavors will require seed money, so calculate this amount and identify potential sources. If you’re planning to pursue a business loan, review the potential lender’s requirements for your application. You may need to demonstrate proof of expertise, show an existing client list, or provide collateral against the note. 

Review the legal requirements for your venture, which may include licensing, insurance, and registration. Choose a name for your business and obtain the necessary rights to do business in that name. Register with taxation entities to ensure you’re collecting the necessary tax from customers and withholding appropriately for employees. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce, which often has an entrepreneurship services team that can offer resources and business coaches.

2. Research the Market

You may have all the expertise you need to launch your business, but don’t dismiss market demands. Conduct a thorough audit of the current state of your industry, your competitors, trends, and potential customers. Consult existing publications, journals, and the news to add to your body of knowledge. 

Once you have a baseline, do a pulse check of the market by conducting surveys and polls, says BND. These can be formal or informal, depending on your potential endeavor. If your business will be local, focus your research accordingly. If you plan to sell in the e-commerce space, you’ll need to match the range of your research with your potential reach.

Use your findings to fine-tune your plan to align with market demands. If your original vision differs from what your surveys and market exploration tell you, be prepared to pivot. You may think your industry expertise and novel idea makes you an exception to the market research rule, and maybe that’s true. However, it does increase your risk. You’re better off ensuring your business plan takes your values and skills into account while aligning with identified market demand.

3. Create an Online Presence

Establish your brand online early, which can also serve as a pulse check on market demands. Create your website, obtaining your core domain and adjacent ones that could be relevant to customer searches. Cover the basics of your business on your website, but integrate content into your strategy, too. A robust content creation strategy can boost search engine optimization, driving your company to the top of the search results.

Start with a company blog, which allows you to develop a narrative around your offerings. While you may be tempted to wax poetic about how great your products or services are, take a different approach. Do an exercise in which you consider the key problems and challenges your potential customers may face. Document your ideas and then use them to develop content pillars that you can use to establish authority on a topic. These posts are designed to be comprehensive and will point readers to smaller offshoots of information. 

For example, if you’re a flooring installer, you could create a pillar about the entire wood floor installation process, incorporating likely questions and relevant keywords and keyword phrases. This piece will drive traffic to your site, and the high-quality information you provide will establish your authority and build trust with potential customers.

4. Assemble and Train the Right Team

Some new businesses may be solo endeavors, but most require direct hires, vendors, or key business partners to succeed. Look at your business plan to determine your primary hiring needs and your budget to do so. Then, establish the core expectations for those working in and with your business. Consider outward-facing things like uniforms, customer care, and service quality, documenting them in an employee handbook. 

Use your handbook to outline training and hiring standards for your team. If you want to differentiate your customer care strategy, use that component to effectively recruit and train talent. Guide new hires through a training process that ensures they are prepared to execute to your specifications. 

Be prepared to be high touch with new hires, as you won’t have the advantage of long-time staff to assist with onboarding. A training road map with scheduled checkpoints can help guide the journey and produce well-aligned team members. Investing time, energy, and resources in training your people will ensure your new business is well-positioned to earn and retain clients.

Forge Your Path Toward Success

Being an entrepreneur is exciting, and the chance to create the future of your dreams is worth the effort. Kick off your entrepreneurship journey with a well-developed online presence, a solid business plan, and a thoroughly trained team. By differentiating your offering, you’ll separate yourself from the competition, gain loyal customers, and build the life of your dreams.

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