Updated: Jan 21, 2022
Congratulations on your budding online business! Starting a new venture is an exciting time, and a task that requires constant planning. If you want your business to succeed, you have to make smart decisions every day. Here are a few tips to help you get started out on the right foot. This guest post is much appreciated by Sumo Digital. (Thanks Ted!)
Recognize your top priorities for starting a business.
In the early stages of launching your new venture, there is seemingly a never ending list of critical things to tend. For starters, as the Small Business Development Corporation notes, you need a name that conveys what you’re all about and which is unique to your industry. You also need to take care of outreach basics, like creating a logo and building a website.
While those things can be fun and exciting, you should also cover a couple of more mundane concerns. One task that is often pushed off is setting up a financial and bookkeeping system. Keeping tabs of the books is an ongoing and constant task that can quickly eat into the precious working hours, which is why many business leaders outsource or directly hire a pro. Fortunately, there are many ways to find and retain top talent in this area, so research and budget for bringing someone on board by looking into bookkeeping services pricing. It’s well worth the investment, leaving you time to tend to other matters, like running other aspects of your business.
You should also put together a formal business plan, regardless of whether you choose a brick-and-mortar or an online business. You might think you’re too small to bother, but a business plan helps you hone in on your goals and how you’ll reach them. Plus, it can come in handy if you ever want to apply for a loan or grant, or if you’re courting a potential investor.
Know which expenses are worth the cost...
HR Zone explains that it takes money to start a business. And of course, there are some expenses that are more important than others. Startup costs you should never skip include the must-haves mentioned above and, of course, marketing. The latter may include email blasts, business cards and promotional materials, and banner ads on websites your target customers might visit.
You should also consider investing in business coaching. You might think it’s a service best saved for when you hit hiccups, but just the opposite — now, when you’re just getting started, is the perfect time to invest in coaching to ensure you’re going down the path to success, and before you hit a roadblock.
… and which are not
As much as you want to dote on your employees and showcase your newfound financial freedom, you also need to be realistic about what you can afford as a small business owner. Expensive office parties, unnecessary personnel, and excessive stock are things that should be cut from your financial roster.
You can also reduce your overall operational expenses by culling employees who underperform. While it’s not easy or desirable, you sometimes have to cut ties with employees who don’t have your company’s best interests at heart.
But you still need to keep your employees happy.
It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to keep your people happy. If you’re just starting out, what’s most important is actively showing how much you value your employees. You can do this through regular communication, team calls, an open-door policy, offering reasonable time off and acknowledging when a job is well done. More than anything, however, you also need to keep your payroll on point. Missing payroll dates or not catching inaccuracies can lead to a lack of confidence in your business and leadership skills. That’s why it’s important to learn the ins and outs of how to process payroll. With a solid understanding of how to process payroll and by using tools like payroll software, you’ll ensure your employees are paid on time and without any mistakes.
You have to keep your customers happy.
One of the biggest challenges of owning a business is keeping your customers happy once they’ve used your services for the first time. This means upping your customer service and making sure projects are completed and/or deliveries are on time. If you ship goods, consider swapping to a quicker shipping method, which will allow you to be more expedient when responding to your customer’s orders. Another way to keep your customers happy is by passing cost savings along to them.
Taxes are a whole new ballgame.
As a business owner, the IRS demands more. This depends on whether you operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, or LLC. There are several different ways to prepare your taxes, but your best bet if you want to ensure accuracy is to partner with a certified public accountant who knows the ins and outs of business taxes, which change from year to year.
It takes money, time, and dedication to properly run a successful online business. However, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, you have a good chance of achieving the success you so desire.
Sumo Digital Agency is focused on impactful, result-driven, functional and user-centered websites and applications that help high-growth startups and enterprises elevate their business. Let’s team up today!