15 Essential Tasks To Successfully Start A Business
There are many pitfalls to starting a business, but once you have got through the initial stages and the business becomes established and successful, the rewards can be massive.
The first few years of a new business are critical and many entrepreneurs fail in these early stages. But sadly, many of these failures could be avoided, if these entrepreneurs possessed better knowledge of how to start a new business.
As a business coach and entrepreneur, I have started seven successful businesses in forty years, and I have helped many others start successfully.
Here in this article, I highlight ‘15 Essential Tasks To Successfully Start A Business’.
1) Research Your Trading Market
Before you start, it is essential that you research your trading market and everything within it. Your goal should be to understand all the parts and where your business will fit within it.
This means researching and comprehensively understanding the following:
your target customers
the products sold
the prices charged and paid for
the marketing methods used
the value of the market
whether the market is growing or shrinking
In particular, you need to know who your target customers are and why they would want to buy your products.
2) Establish The Demand, Sales And Profit Potential
Your new business will only be successful, if there is a large potential demand for your products and a large pool of target customers to buy them.
Furthermore, you need to establish that there is a great certainty of high sales and a great certainty of a high profit before you start.
One way to establish this is to quantify the level of sales from your likely competitors.
3) Create A ‘Customer-Led Business Model’
The most successful businesses are those that are highly focused on the customer, and to enjoy similar success, you must incorporate this same philosophy into your startup business, too.
Once you have established there is a high certainty of a large pool of target customers, you must think to create a ‘customer-led business model, where the whole business is run around the wants and needs of your target customers.
This should include an intense focus on the individual customer and the customer experience with the goal to build great customer loyalty and a high customer satisfaction-rating, encouraging customers to keep returning to keep buying and encourage them to tell others.
4) Create A ‘Killer’ Business Plan
A good comprehensive plan is essential to cover the major parts of your business.
But the plan needs to be high calibre that is capable of driving the high sales and high customer numbers need. Such a ‘killer’ plan should include:
products plan capable of delivering high quality products
customer plan capable of driving high customer numbers
selling plan able to create high sales and high profits
operations plan that can deliver efficiency and high productivity
financial plan, including projections for sales and profits and cash-flow that shows a good and robust financial base for the business
marketing plan that can create high awareness for your brand, driving the right targeted customers to your business
business model that is customer-led and is capable of working well, providing the right profits, etc.
As part of your planning, it is crucial that you create a business plan that works well to create the right level of sales and profit and enough profit to be able to reinvest.
A common mistake is not to plan properly – ‘failing to plan is planning to fail!’
5) Aim To Get Into Profit Quickly
The priority must be to get your business into profit as quickly as possible, by the best route possible, keeping all the costs low and avoiding all unnecessary expenditure. In other words, the focus should be on profitability rather than quick growth.
The failure rate for startup businesses is high and this often is due to the fundamental mistake of growing too quickly, creating cash-flow problems causing businesses to simply run out of working capital to keep going.
6) Get The Finances Right
It is essential that you plan your finances well, especially projected profits and cash flow for at least 12 months into the start of your business.
It is equally important that you continually review your plans, as you trade, amending your financial plan as you go.
If your business is incapable of generating its own cash through its sales, in the early stages, it will literally run out of money to keep going.
Good financial planning and execution of your financial plan should avoid this scenario.
7) Consolidate Your Business
Once a profit situation is achieved, a period of consolidation should follow. This should ideally be for a year or so, where the business still grows but the rate of growth is reduced while maintaining a profit situation.
During this period of consolidation, there should be a wholesale review of the business to get it right for when it is scaled up. Many businesses scale up before everything is ready and this can lead to massive problems.
Part of the process should be to ensure all the right systems are in place, by way of the operations plan, and there is an efficient back-office, from where the business is run.
Every part of your business plan should be reassessed, as listed above.
All plans should be devised to keep the business in profit and to maintain a positive cash-flow throughout, for the following two to three years.
8) Scale Up The Business At The Right Time
Then, when the time is right and with all the right systems and the right plans in place, growth should be accelerated as part of the scaling up process and your business plans should be used as guidelines for the growth.
Another common mistake is to create nice plans and then not to use them.
9) Create A Cash ‘Rainy Day’ Contingency Fund
In business, you should always expect the ‘unexpected’, such as a pandemic or a new government changing trading conditions, such as the ’spooking the ‘markets’ and the pushing of borrowing rates ‘through the roof’, as happened in September 2022.
For such instances, it is highly beneficial to have a good cash reserve to fall back on, if sales take a dip.
To create one, it is wise to retain some of your profits and to save these in an easy access cash account. Then, with some cash in reserve, you will have a cushion and money to fall back on, if things get tough.
Many startup businesses fail simply because they do not have this cushion.
10) Constantly Review Progress
It is essential that the right results and the right progress is achieved, with everything working according to your ‘killer’ business plan. To ensure this, everything should be constantly monitored.
Another big mistake by many business startups is to not review progress.
Many will simply look at their bank account and think a good cash balance means good cash-flow. This is often not the case and is certainly not the way to quantify your profitability.
Quarterly management calculations of the ‘profit and loss’ and cash flow situations is essential.
Then, if something is not working right and if the profit is less than should be expected, things should be quickly investigated and changes made, to keep the business on track.
Trading markets can be in constant ‘flux’ and can change over time, especially when new competitors enter and change the dynamics or when customer buying habits change. For a business to remain viable and to survive, you must be aware of what is happening and must be able to adapt to the changes.,
Furthermore, if a new competitor appears, you need to know about it quickly. The internet makes this research comparatively easy.
Your business model and your business plans must be reviewed at least annually to ensure these are still working right. Many businesses fail because their business models and business plans become outdated making their businesses dinosaurs.
11) Get The Marketing Right
Good but simple marketing including ‘free social media’ and a good website is paramount for good growth.
This will allow you to put your business in front of target customers and for them to find your business by searching Google, etc.
Amazingly, 50% of businesses do not have a website; this makes the business less visible online to potential customers.
Marketing should include your products offered and their benefits along with other information, as well as customer reviews, etc.
Another big mistake is to use expensive advertising before exploiting all the ‘free’ routes.
12) Communicate Well
Good communication is another crucial element of a good business. This includes good communication with:
This again is an area where many business owners are poor or fail, often to their detriment.
For a business to thrive, a good internal culture is essential, but many business owners do not realise how important a ‘good culture’ is to optimise their productivity, sales and profits.
Poor communications can lead to a poor culture within the business and amongst the employees, resulting in low motivation.
Good communications are also essential with your customers, if they are to make an informed decision to buy from you and if you are to create customer loyalty and strong customer relationships.
Poor communication with customers can also lead to customers migrating to competitors.
13) Learn To Be A Good Leader
Startup business owners need to learn to be good ‘leaders’ rather than ‘managers’, and there is a big difference.
Managers give out instructions to their employees and tell them what to do, while good leaders inspire and motivate their employees and mould them into effective and functioning teams.
Only through good leadership, will you achieve the best possible results and optimised productivity.
14) Keep Learning
If you are to keep your business at the ‘cutting edge’, you must keep acquiring new knowledge and new understanding of how to run a good business for profit.
Masses of good information exists on the internet and in the form of good books from good business coaches and experienced entrepreneurs; so, there is no excuse not to tap into the best available.
But sadly many businesses fail because the owners do not seek to learn from the ‘best’, and, as a result, can get left behind by their competition.
15) Keep Gaining New Skills
The final task in this list of fifteen, is having the right skills.
Acquisition of the right and relevant skills and the adding of new skills for yourself and your team is imperative, if you are to keep progressing as a business.
Such skills are important:
product creation skills
employment and leadership skills
running a business skills
Many business owners are weak in many of the above and more
In particular IT skills, especially for marketing, running their offices and payroll can be weak, as can be customer and employment skills.
The consolidation period is the time to gain many of these skills, especially as time maybe short, once you start to scale your business up.
I Hope This Article Helps You
Starting a business is tough at the moment, so if you are starting a business, please read this article carefully and take the contents on board. I am absolutely certain that if you adopt these 15 tasks and implement them well, your new business will be a far greater success, than if you do not do any of these.
Best of luck and please let me know how you get on.
Please Contact Me, If You Have Any Comments Or Questions About This Blog Article. I Would Be Pleased To Help You
Robert Viney Is An Award-Winning Business Coach
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