Launching and growing your own business can be extremely satisfying. And when done successfully, your business can generate profits that allow you to live an extraordinary life.
So, how do you effectively launch and grow your business? Below are five keys to your success.
1. Start with a business plan
Numerous studies have shown that having a business plan greatly increases your chances of success. A business plan forces you to think through the key strategic issues your business will face. For example, how will you most cost-effectively attract new customers? How will you create lasting competitive advantage? How will you best staff your business? Answering these and other key questions before launching your business will prepare you for success.
Also, your business plan will serve as a roadmap for your growth as you can compare actual results with the results forecasted in your business plan.
Fortunately you don’t have to create your plan from scratch. Rather, there are many start up business plan templates you can use to more quickly and easily develop your plan.
2. Choose the right tools
Today there are numerous tools you can use to more efficiently launch and manage your business. For example, there are content management systems that allow you to easily develop a website and update it over time. There are customer relationship management (CRM) systems that allow you to manage contacts more easily, or you can set up your own CRM in Excel. There is payroll software, time management software, project management software, accounting software, marketing automation software, etc. In short, there are many tools that help you to manage your business with less employees and greater control and effectiveness than ever before.
3. Choose the right people
The best business concept in the world will fail with the wrong people. Conversely, even a terrible concept could be successful if you have the right people leading the way. As such, spend time finding the right people for your company and train them. A great quote/question in this regard is as follows: “Question: What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us? Answer: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
4. Get your finances in order
Most businesses require funding in order to launch and grow. While sometimes this funding comes from outside parties like banks, angel investors and venture capitalists, most often it comes from the founders’ savings or credit cards. In either case, it’s important to plan for the financial needs of your business.
Particularly in the beginning, your business will spend more cash than you generate. As such, make sure you have the appropriate financial reserves so you don’t run out of money. Think through cash flow issue too. For example, let’s say you sell a large order but the client can’t or doesn’t pay you for six months. Do you have enough cash to pay for the cost of the order now and not get paid for 180 days?
Understanding and making financial decisions throughout your business’ life cycle is critical.
As a business owner, it’s very easy to have “shiny object syndrome.” Shiny object syndrome is when you get distracted by new opportunities or ideas. For example, you may have an established marketing plan in place and then learn about a brand new marketing strategy or medium. Many business owners make the mistake of veering off their established plan to try the new, “shiny” idea. Doing so is rarely successful.
As you run your business, you should keep your eyes open to shiny new ideas. But rarely should you execute on them right away. Rather, write them down. Then, in your quarterly and annual reviews of your business’ performance, look at them again. Review the ideas and determine if they should be part of your future growth strategy. Oftentimes, in the weeks and months between when you first learn about the new idea and when you review it, the glamour of it fades away and you’re happy you didn’t pursue it.
Launching a new business can be extremely satisfying and rewarding, particularly if you keep the above five keys in mind. Keep them handy and enjoy growing your business.