Summary: Launching your first business can be quite stressful, but these tips will help alleviate some of the struggle and proceed with your business goals.
If you had dreams of entrepreneurship in early 2020, the COVID crisis may have squashed these temporarily. But that doesn’t mean you can’t thrive as a small business owner. That said, launching a business can be nerve-wracking, though having a solid plan in place can help you keep those anxieties in check. Below are a few quick stress-free tips on launching your first business.
Research Local Needs
OpenStax explains that the first step toward starting any successful business is to research what needs are not being met. For example, if you live in a neighborhood without access to childcare, it might make sense to open a daycare. Similarly, you’ll also want to take a look at your area’s demographics, which you can do through the US Census Bureau or The Urban Institute. In a high-income area, opening a discount/overstock retail store may not be a wise decision, for instance.
After you have made a decision on the type of business, you can strategize its opening. Start by protecting your personal assets by establishing as a limited liability corporation, or LLC. By registering as an LLC, you can avoid double taxation and you may be eligible for certain tax deductions. This can get expensive, but you can reduce your expenses by skipping the attorney and using a formation service to form an LLC and get an EIN number online. Also referred to as a Tax ID Number, an employer ID number is required by the IRS to open a business account at banks and to hire employees.
As you create a business plan, carefully consider how you’re going to market your business. Create a digital marketing plan and hire a professional web designer to design an appealing and user-friendly website. Decide on how you’re going to fund your venture whether you’re going to take out a loan or find investors.
To save on expenditures, use free online tools like Evernote for digitized storage and file sharing; Google Drive for file creation and sharing; and Square for payment processing. Another handy online tool is Adobe’s tool to convert a PDF to Word, which is helpful when busy entrepreneurs need to edit, update or reformat files or marketing materials.
Focus on Networking
Effective networking can help you build relationships that provide opportunities to learn and bring in new business. While you might be nervous at first, try to make connections in your community, attend networking events, and practice articulating your goals and the benefits of the products or services your company offers. The more you do it, the less anxious you’ll feel.
One way to network is to get in touch with people you haven’t connected with in a while. If you’re looking to reconnect with old friends, use social media to find them and let them know all about your new venture. Also encourage them to spread the news to their circles of friends and professional connections.
Keep It Safe
Although the vaccine has significantly dropped COVID numbers throughout the US, you’ll still want to take steps to keep your customers safe. This might include measures like sanitizing high-touch surfaces and offering in-person office visits by appointment only.
Safety, of course, applies to the security of your business as well. Cyber threats are a serious threat these days, which means you should take the appropriate precautions to protect your and your customer’s data. This may involve working with an IT security firm to develop a security plan, as well as a recovery plan should you experience a cyber attack. Having these systems and protocols in place are an excellent way to reduce stress involving your business’s security.
Sustainable growth is the best kind of growth. Pay attention to your incoming orders and offer products and services that complement these. Be cautious not to grow too fast, however, as this might lead you to making panic decisions about your business. As you continue to grow, keep evaluating and analyzing each growth opportunity. Cranfield School of Management notes that you want to look ahead to potential future competitors, as well as how your business can adapt to rapid changes.
Opening a business is exciting and stressful, and it can be a positive experience, too. Keep the above tips in mind as you get up and running. Remember: Research, strategy, safety, and sustainable growth are the keys to a successful, stress-free business.