If you have a business you’re just trying to get off the ground, this might be an exhilarating time for you. Maybe you’ve thought about this startup idea for years, and you finally found the funds and means to get to work on it. Doubtless, you want it to succeed, and you’re going to dedicate lots of your time and resources to make that happen.
During these early stages, though, it’s easy to make a mistake. Unfortunately, there is no limit to the business-related missteps you can make.
Some are more common than others, though, and those are a few of the ones we will address today. If you avoid these early business errors while you’re getting your startup going, you have a much better chance of getting through those first tenuous months and becoming a fixture within your niche.
Don’t Count Your Profit Before You Make It
You probably came up with a business plan before you started in this endeavor. Hardly any companies begin without a business plan you use to attract investors. These plans also allow you to sketch out a blueprint that makes sense for what you have in mind.
You can’t always count on every aspect of the business working precisely the way you thought it would, though. That means you should never rely on having exactly the amount of profit you thought you would after the first month you’ve been open or after the year’s first quarter.
Determining how much money your business will make is never an exact science. In some respects, it’s like calculating pain and suffering after a car accident. There are plenty of moving parts, and there is no tried-and-true formula.
It’s best during the first months your company is in business to take the profit as it comes without counting on any particular number. You can hope to hit a profit milestone, but if you don’t do it, try not to let it discourage you.
Don’t Skimp When Creating Your Business Website
You should also make quite sure you have created an excellent business website before you ever open your company’s doors to the public. That’s true regardless of whether you have a physical location or only an eCommerce business model and no brick-and-mortar stores.
Your site tells a lot about your business, and it shows people how seriously they should take your company. If your website is an afterthought, and it has poor UX, that’s going to reflect badly on you.
Your website should have clean, concise copy that tells who you are and what products and services you offer. It should be easy to navigate, and you should have things like a FAQ section and an About section that would-be customers will expect.
If you’ve got someone on staff who can create your website for you, instruct them on what you’d like to see there. Maybe they will have some additional suggestions, such as adding a company blog or creating some compelling video content you can feature. If you don’t have a permanent web designer on staff, you can hire a freelancer and probably save some money that way.
Don’t Forget Any of the Insurance Policies You Need
There are dozens of insurance policies you can get for businesses. Some of them you won’t need for certain companies, and only for others. Still, there are some insurance varieties you’ll need for almost any business, regardless of the particulars of what you do or sell.
You might want to get what the insurance industry calls a business owner’s policy, or a BOP. It is three insurance types in one: business income insurance, commercial property insurance, and general liability insurance. Those three types, combined into one, will come in handy.
You might also think about getting professional liability insurance. You will certainly need worker’s compensation insurance to protect your employees. You may also look into commercial auto insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and perhaps a data breach policy too.
If you’re not sure about what kinds you need, talk to an insurance broker. There are some who focus on business-related insurance, and that’s probably the individual you want.
Don’t Settle for Inferior Employees
You should also be extra careful about who you hire. Remember that you’re trying to establish a particular culture and work ethic, and everyone you bring on should fit that mold.
You can use sites like LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed to find recruits. You might also think about hiring individuals in your field right out of college.
Above all, you don’t want to hire anyone who doesn’t seem like a good fit for the job. You shouldn’t offer someone a position if they don’t feel quite right, but you’re in a hurry, and you feel like they’re the best candidate.
Try to follow your instincts with your hiring practices. If a candidate doesn’t feel like a slam dunk based on what you know about them, keep looking till you find someone more qualified.
Use Your Marketing Budget Carefully
It’s impossible to overemphasize how much marketing matters, especially if your business has not been around for very long. If you are a newcomer within your niche, no one knows much about you, and you must work twice as hard to get them to notice and buy from you.
You will only have a limited marketing budget, and you can’t misuse any of it. Bring on some skilled marketing individuals, and have your team get to work thinking about the best ways to spend the money you have for them.
They will probably want to think about what social media platforms you should use. They should also think about whether more traditional channels will work, such as billboards, radio spots, TV commercials, sending out ads through the mail, and so forth.
Pay attention to all the areas we’ve mentioned, and you should have a good shot at making it and becoming a known and respected entity within your industry.