In today’s digital age, there are more opportunities than ever for budding entrepreneurs looking to set up and grow a business from nothing. The Internet makes the world a smaller place and opens global markets to everyone, and barriers to entry and startup costs for web-based companies are lower than ever.
However, this has encouraged a fiercer competitive market across all industries, where only the strongest can survive. According to some oft-quoted research by Bloomberg, an astonishing 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first 18 months.
What are the essential steps to ensuring that your new business stays in the top 20 percent for a successful and thriving future?
1. Look after your finances
One of the biggest challenges that you will face is maintaining your bottom line over the first few months and months of operation, so it is essential to manage your cash flow effectively.
Looking from the outside, this may sound like an obvious statement, but the fact is that most entrepreneurs are so focused on driving their businesses forward that mundane matters of budgeting, forecasting and generally staying on top of finances are not given priority.
The answer is simple: you cannot do everything, and it is a worthwhile investment to appoint a finance manager or hire a local accounting company.
2. Have a plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quote is as true today as it was 250 years ago.
The day-to-day business of operating your new enterprise will place immense demands on your time and attention, but keep in mind that you ignore the future at your own peril.
There is no doubt that both your business and the marketplace will be evolving at an enormous speed. Give yourself some space to step back and review your overall strategy from time to time. This way, you can spot both opportunities and threats as they emerge and steer your business toward the prizes and away from the icebergs.
3. Manage your documents
This is the age of big data. Companies have more documents streaming in and out than ever before, and if you don’t have a system in place from the get-go, then you will end up drowning in them. The right system will facilitate document flow quickly and securely.
Finding such a system is sometimes easier said than done, but entrepreneur and business leader Keith Krach has presented a solution that is proving hugely popular with both new businesses and long-established major players. His DocuSign range of digital products make authentication, identity management and workflow automation quick and easy.
It is far easier to install systems such as DocuSign from the outset than to try to retro-fit and change your operating practices around them later.
4. Embrace digital technology
Your virtual shopfront is just as important as your physical one, and every new business needs a strong digital presence to succeed.
Sit down with a digital marketing expert at the first opportunity to get your web design, SEO and social media campaigns running and on brand. Anything less will place you at a huge disadvantage from your competitors.
5. Do good work
A straightforward yet highly important way to grow your startup business is simply to do good work. Establish a reputation for meeting your customers’ or clients’ needs in a timely and effective manner, and strive to meet and exceed every goal that you set on or ahead of time. A positive performance can make all the difference when it comes to having a business that thrives in the long term.