Owning a small business is one of the most rewarding and challenging things you can do. You’re responsible for your success and get to focus on doing things your way.
Though it’s ultimately up to you, there are a few things you’ll need to do to make sure your company can be as successful as possible. Here’s what you need to know to get started and continue growing.
A Solid Business Plan Is a Must
Before you can launch your business, you need to create a business plan. This is an outline of everything you’ll do to be successful. Include your values, your company mission, your goals for each quarter and explain how you’ll grow your company over time.
If you’re planning on getting financing from a bank or an investor, you’ll need to explain how you’ll start repaying them once you’re up and running. Typically, the more detail you can provide, the better.
As you grow your company, you can revisit this business plan and add to it.
Loans Can Help You Grow
Taking out a loan isn’t something to do lightly, but it can give you the capital you need to launch your company or keep it running during slow periods.
You have two main options: speaking with a traditional lender at a bank or looking for loans specifically designed for small businesses.
The Small Business Administration can help you find lenders that work with small businesses specifically. The loans backed by the SBA are more flexible and many business owners qualify for them even when they don’t qualify for a traditional business loan.
Set a Budget
Your budget will change over time, but it’s something you need to have in place before you open your doors. Think about how much you’ll spend on rent, utilities and inventory. If you’re planning on hiring employees, use an employee cost calculator to narrow down how much you’ll spend on their wages, training and benefits each month.
Once you have these numbers in mind, think about what you can realistically expect to bring in each month. You’ll want your expenses to at very least zero out with what you’re bringing in. If you consistently spend more than you bring in, you’ll end up going into debt or, worse, having to close your doors.
Stay on Top of Record-keeping
Once you’re up and running, you’ll need to keep track of everything you spend and everything you bring in. Get started on the right foot by implementing a comprehensive record-keeping system.
Hold onto your receipts, make notes of your earnings, and keep track of all invoices each quarter. If you hire employees, maintain statements for each paycheck and maintain updated wage and job information for each team member.
Should your company experience losses throughout the year, document those, too. You’ll need this information when you file taxes at the end of the year.
If you’re not comfortable handling the record-keeping on your own, you can always outsource the task to an accountant.
Never Lose Sight of Your Mission
The most successful businesses are ones that know why they’re offering the services they provide and continue to find ways to provide better quality services to their clients. Keep this in mind as your business grows.
If you start to lose sight of why you opened the business in the first place, take a step back and reconnect with your mission. This way, you’ll continue to offer consistent services and can develop a reputation that withstands the test of time.
As the needs of your clients and customers evolve, you’ll need to tailor your services to keep up. However, those changes should always be in line with your mission and your company’s values.
Owning a small business can be rewarding, but you’ll need patience and dedication to get things off the ground. As long as you’re providing quality products and services and keeping your clients in mind every step of the way, you’ll be on track to stay successful for years to come.