Hundreds of new businesses are launched across the nation each day as entrepreneurs strive to achieve their dreams of owning and successfully operating their own company. While some triumph, others are not so lucky. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that even though the creation of new businesses has been on the rise since 2010, the success rate is falling just as sharply. If you are in the early stages of creating a business, there are several steps that you should take that can increase your chances of succeeding, both initially and in the long run.
1. Determine a Solid Business Plan
One common reason new businesses fail is because their owners underestimate costs and do not raise enough start-up capital to get their company off the ground. A solid business plan will help guide your business in the first year. You must figure what business success essentials are needed while drafting your business plan. Once finalized, you need to address how your manage your finances in the short- and long-term.
In order to balance your finances before you officially launch your business, you must take the time to carefully consider all of your expenses. Take note of items that you will be paying for on a monthly basis, such as business insurance premiums and communications fees. Since start-up capital will be supporting your business during that important first year, ensuring you have enough to cover all of your expenses is key for survival.
2. Build a Customer Service Ethic
While you might understand the importance of quality customer service on the surface, being able to offer it to your customers can be a daunting experience and launching a company without having a customer service ethic in place may destroy it quickly. In fact, thanks to real-time online company reviews and how easy it is for anyone to access them, customer service issues may stain your reputation as a businessperson before you can initiate damage control.
Before you plan a launch date for your business, you may want to map out a plan for creating a customer service ethic for everyone at your company to follow. For example, outline how you plan to handle grievances, who will be handling those complaints, and how you plan to prevent problems from arising in the first place. When you and your employees are all on the same page when it comes to quality customer service, your business has a better chance of succeeding.
3. Invest Time in Succession Planning
The way you manage your employees and plan for how they can best help your company succeed is another important facet of owning a thriving business, and succession planning can help you accomplish it. Put simply, this is a game plan for promoting talented individuals within your company and allowing them to fill positions you know they will excel at when those slots become available.
For example, if you hire a data wrangler who also has a secondary talent with web design, you can help him or her develop and nurture that talent through a number of different employee programs and then promote this individual into your design department when a position opens up. Such types of succession planning can allow you to fill entry-level positions more quickly and recognize and retain talent within your company.
4. Create a Timeline
Now that you have most of the elements in place that may make your business more successful, it is time to create a timeline for the launch of your business. From choosing a launch date to when you plan to have your website up to when you want to have key employees in place, creating a timeline can help you see how viable your plan is and where you might need to make some adjustments.
For example, if you want to launch your business to coincide with a major holiday, you may want to consider how that might affect marketing and whether that holiday will overshadow any social media posts you plan to put out there. Creating a timeline before you launch your business may give you the flexibility you need to move dates, cash, and employees around so that your company is in the best shape possible before you debut it.
The Bottom Line
Creating a business from the ground up can be a challenge for you as an entrepreneur. However, with careful planning in the financial, customer service, and employee sectors, your chances of success are bound to increase.
Image Credit: Steven Zwerink