How to Set Up Your Business for Success

If starting a business is on your to-do list for this year, it’s important that you lay the foundation so that you can maximize your success as you build and grow the business. To that end, here are a few areas you’ll want to focus on when you first launch:

Have a Plan

Even if you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, you really need to slow your roll when you start a business and get a plan. Having a business plan will not only give you guidance for where you want to take your business, but also help you get thoughts to paper about how you will achieve your goals.

If the thought of creating a business plan gives you a migraine, cut yourself some slack. It doesn’t need to be 20 pages long, or written by someone with an MBA. The important thing is that you define your vision of your business, discuss the products or services you plan to offer, and outline who your customers will be and how you’ll reach them.

Network to Expand Your Reach

Attracting new customers, at least initially, may be a slow effort, so whatever you can do to get a leg up, do it. Networking, both in person and online, can be huge in creating awareness of your brand and bringing you new business.

Online, make sure you are on the best social networks to reach your core audience. Keep your profile updated and have a steady stream of useful updates and content. Make an effort to follow people who are talking about your industry.

Offline, find networking events in your area, where you can meet potential customers and business partners. Remember that networking, in any form, is a long game, so don’t look for one mixer to net you tons of new sales. Instead, work on nurturing the relationships you develop.

Build Your Credit Score

Even if you start your business well funded, there may come a day when you want to take out a loan. And, while there are bad credit business loans available even if your credit score isn’t stellar, you will get better rates if you can boost that score.

If you don’t have a business history, lenders will look at your personal credit history and credit score to determine how risky you are as a borrower. So, take time to look at your credit report, clear up any discrepancies and pay down your personal credit card debt. Always, always pay your bills on time, and try not to carry over a balance if you can help it. This will, over time, raise your credit score and make you eligible for more lending options.

Hire Stellar Employees

So many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to do everything themselves when they first start out. Certainly, if funds are limited, you’ll want to work as much as possible to cut down on costs, but in the long run, there are likely positions that you are better off hiring for so that you can focus on running your company.

Think about the various roles you have at your company and decide which you’re best handing over to someone else. Craft a job description, outlining exactly what that role will require. If you’re not sure exactly of what the job title should be, search on job boards to get an idea of the positions other companies hire for.

Once you have that put together, post the job listing on your website and on job boards. Take your time going through applications and resumes, as well as in the interview process. The more effort you put into assessing who the best candidate is for each specific role, the more likely you are to hire someone who will give you 1,000 percent and stay with you for years.

Keep an Eye Out for Burnout

As excited as you may be with your new business venture, there will come a day when you can’t give a single ounce more. Congratulations – you’ve found the imbalance of work and life. You’re willing to do anything to grow your company, but you have to also be willing to do anything to reduce your stress and keep your sanity.

Take time off. Shut down at 6 p.m. and don’t check work email. Focus on yourself and your family on the weekend. Getting away from your business can actually make you more rejuvenated and ready to get back to it tomorrow.

The more planning and effort you put into the front end of your business, the more solid the foundation will be for growth over time.