Planning the nuts and bolts of your business is a key first step to starting off with the best chance at success. Determining what the product or service will be, what to name the business, whether it’ll be strictly e-commerce or a brick-and-mortar store and many other considerations are all at the top of the to-do list for new entrepreneurs. Other aspects of launching a business may fly under the radar, however.
Below, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members lists some unheralded aspects of starting a business that first-time entrepreneurs may not be planning for and why they should if they want their businesses to thrive now and in the future.
Building a Business? Remember These 12 Tips.
- An exit strategy.
- Your salary.
- Hiring correctly.
- Audience behavior.
- Company culture.
- Long-term strategy.
- Customer service.
- Key performance indicators.
- An emergency fund.
- Legal considerations.
1. An Exit Strategy
What’s your exit strategy? Many founders forget that when they start their business they should already be looking ahead to the last day they’re going to be in the business. We’ll all exit our businesses in one way or another. Having a strategy and plan from day one will enable us to control that exit and maximize its value. — Jessica Fialkovich, Exit Factor
Devise a plan for sustainable business practices. Sometimes these practices are mandatory to comply with local regulations, but often they’re not. “Going green” has an upfront cost, but it’s the right thing to do, and your savings down the road will increase your bottom line. — Kyle Michaud, Carolina Dozer
3. Your Salary
Pay yourself! Founders can sometimes have so much passion and will for bringing their vision to pass that they forget to pay themselves. It’s important to bringing the vision to life, however. A founder can only perform at their best when their basic needs are met. Pay yourself through the growth phase so you can grow a strong company with a solid foundation. — Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
4. Hiring Correctly
Hiring, hiring, hiring. Hiring right is absolutely crucial to the success of an early-stage company. Hire slowly, and make sure to conduct reference checks. “A” players will bring other “A” players into the organization, whereas “B” players will likely bring “C” and “D” players — Chenyu Ren, Markai, Inc.
Build possible pivot points and multiple functionalities into your business model. Agility is more important than rigid structure when you’re first starting out. If you acknowledge the reality of pivoting early on, you wind up designing a more dynamic and diversified framework than if you go into your plan committed to executing one mission and one mission only. — Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
6. Audience Behavior
Growth isn’t linear or consistent. Some months are better than others, and nitpicking data can cause unwarranted frustrations. Focus on how you can better understand your audience and their purchasing behavior because each industry has different customers. By studying this, you can then create a marketing and sales funnel to reach a steady, predictable growth strategy. — Julian Hamood, Trusted Tech Team
7. Company Culture
One aspect that many first-time entrepreneurs might forget to consider is their company culture. Founders should think about what kind of company culture they want their startup to have before they start working on the nuts and bolts of their business. Culture can make or break a startup. — Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
8. Long-Term Strategy
Getting caught up in day-to-day issues that become the focus of a new business is easy, especially when money gets tight. But remember that, in addition to these day-to-day issues, you must also address the longer-term strategic aspects of the business. Ensure that you’re looking over the horizon and laying the foundation for the business’s future success. — Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
9. Customer Service
One important point that first-time founders might forget to consider when planning the nuts and bolts of a business is to invest in customer service. Offering good customer service can help you nurture your customers, create a loyal user base and generate positive word-of-mouth, all of which are extremely important for a new business. — Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
10. Key Performance Indicators
Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) for yourself and your team is critical for first-time founders. KPIs help you track progress on long-term goals while still managing day-to-day tasks. Things can get very hectic during the initial startup days, so having concrete performance numbers is vital for keeping things running smoothly. — Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
11. An Emergency Fund
A lot of the time, people forget to keep an emergency fund aside when planning the nuts and bolts of their businesses. It’s one of the most important things to do, even in the early stages of your business. That way, you’ll have something to fall back on if an emergency arises. — Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
12. Legal Considerations
You’d be surprised how often founders run businesses without paying adequate attention to law and expertise. Sometimes this neglect starts with basic things like registering your business, opening accounts and finalizing trademarks and contracts. In other situations, regulations and industry restrictions are ignored. — Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS