incorporate.com partner, Hiscox Insurance answers the question, “I’ve started my new business – now what”?
Once the initial excitement of having started a new business subsides, many entrepreneurs find themselves wondering how to move forward and put the company on the path to success. It’s normal to feel a bit confused or overwhelmed when you get to this point. Use the following checklist to establish a firm foundation for your new business, to better guide your business towards a prosperous future.
1.) Set Goals and Track Progress
Establishing goals for you and your team gives you something concrete to work toward as you build your new business. Get everyone together to brainstorm, including smaller goals within larger goals, and the dates for when you expect to reach each goal. For example, if your goal is to grow sales 30 percent in the first year, establish an end date, and then break this goal down according to the number of products or services you need to sell each month working backwards from the end date. These smaller monthly goals make the final goal seem more accessible, and give you tangible markers to track as the year progresses.
2.) Give Everyone a Role
Whether you have one employee or a hundred, make sure everyone on your team knows what they are supposed to be doing and how their contribution helps the company achieve its goals. Delegate responsibilities based on the talents of each employee, and implement a tracking system to keep an eye on everyone’s progress. Have regular meetings to check in and address any concerns or questions so that the whole team stays on target.
3.) Form a Top-Notch Sales Team
Sales are the backbone of your company’s success, and you need a brand advocate with strong selling skills to ensure that you get good responses from customers. Who on your staff has the background, experience, and personality to win people over? Consider this person to be the leader of your sales department, and strategically hire those with matching skillsets to build a persuasive sales force. Once you have your team in place, continue to train the team to improve success rates and increase conversions. Whether your sales team works online or handles transactions in person, preparing them to respond directly to customers’ needs and deliver exceptional service is vital to the success of your company.
4.) Cultivate Culture
Company culture is often associated with larger corporations like Google® and Apple®, but small businesses can also benefit from having strong corporate identities.
To define the culture of your new business, ask yourself:
- What does my business do?
- What image or values do I want to project?
- What qualities do I want my company to be known for?
- What atmosphere do I want for my team’s work environment?
These factors combine to create the defining personality of your new business within the workplace and in outside transactions. Keep in mind that these values should come naturally to you, as the owner of the business, because you’ll be leading by example, and that’s how a strong culture really takes shape. Also keep the cultural “feel” in mind when hiring employees, and choose people with talents and personalities in line with your company’s values.
5.) Ensure Stability with Insurance
As much as every entrepreneur would like a hassle-free business, unforeseen events have a way of popping up and interrupting plans for growth. This is where small business insurance comes in. More than just putting you in compliance, insurance provides peace of mind. A knowledgeable agent can help you find the best policies for:
- Professional liability
- General liability
- Workers’ compensation
With these policies in place, you’ll have peace of mind about your new business. From natural disasters to lawsuits to disgruntled customers, your business will be better prepared to bounce back without losing momentum.
6.) Increase Productivity by Outsourcing and Delegating Regulatory Tasks
How much of your day is dedicated to the basic tasks required to run your business? Free yourself from the tedium of juggling schedules, answering emails, and creating content for multiple channels by outsourcing to experts in each area. When you let someone else handle these distracting jobs, you suddenly have much more time to focus on reaching your business goals.
Virtual assistants, social media managers, and content writers have the resources and the talent to dedicate to areas you would not otherwise be able to address. The result is a more robust image for your business without any added effort on your part.
7.) Don’t Get Bogged Down by Accounting
Taking care of the books is one of the major tasks you should outsource. Partner with an experienced accountant or find a reliable online service to handle banking, accounting, and payroll. If you choose an internet-based accounting program, use the reporting features to keep track of your budget, profits, and other major business markers. When working with an accountant, meet regularly to get reports and make any adjustments necessary to keep your finances on track.
8.) Stay Compliant as Your Business Grows
Most state, county, and local governments require companies to have the right licenses and permits in place before they open their doors. Depending on your particular industry and where you operate, any number of licenses and permits may apply to your new business. Once your business entity is established, you will have to maintain and manage it through business filings and annual reports.
9.) Get Online.
Today, having your business online isn’t a nice-to-have, it is essential for success. When seeking a domain name, or website address, aim for something that’s as close to your company name as possible. Setup a website early so your company is ready to be found by customers searching for your type of business online.
10.) Make Time to Be Social
Engagement is the buzzword in today’s online world, and every business must take the time to connect with its customers. Meet your audience where they are and grab their attention through authentic interactions. Your audience will prefer to interact with your brand and feel as though you know them individually.
Whether you handle social media with an in-house team or outsource to a third party, make sure you stay true to the voice of your company. Use company culture as a guide to convey your personality into every social contact, and make meeting the needs of your customers a top priority.
Stay Focused on Your Vision
Entrepreneur burn out occurs as companies grow quickly and daily work becomes more demanding. Avoid this hurdle by revisiting your goals often and reminding yourself why you started the business. Schedule regular meetings with your team to discuss visions and goals for the future. This helps your team stay focused, maintain enthusiasm, and ensure that everyone is moving forward in the same direction.
Focus and dedication can go a long way toward transforming a simple startup into a successful company. It is important to stay focused on your goals and leverage available resources as you grow your new business.
About Hiscox Insurance
Founded in 1901, Hiscox is a global specialist insurer that has provided business insurance to companies in the United States of America for over forty years. Hiscox is located in thirteen countries with more than 2,300 employees worldwide. A valued partner of incorporate.com, Hiscox is committed to meeting the needs of businesses and offers a range of specialty insurance products through United States based brokers as well as directly online to small businesses.
Want to learn more? Get our free incorporation toolkit, complete with a step-by-step guide, business plan template, and more!