It’s always a worry, or a lingering thought at the back of your mind when starting up an SME, especially if it’s your first foray into the world of business. Or if you’ve been burned by an attempt in the past, it can send shivers down your spine to think about entering the arena again.
Here is a handy list of questions to ask yourself when starting your business to avoid falling into business bear-traps and negotiate your way through the difficult early years.
Are You Organized?
It can never be underestimated that organization is such an important factor in getting your business started. If you are running the business as a one man band, you need to get everything in check. If you’re the kind of person that thrives with chaos, it will make for a chaotic organisation. So get everything ready before you start.
Do You Have A Business Plan?
You must have a business plan! And you need to know where your business will be in one year, two years, five years, and so on. Having a business plan will keep the momentum going as opposed to wandering aimlessly.
Do You Know Your Competitors?
Do you know your innovative idea that no one has ever thought of before? Someone else out there is very likely to have the same idea and is managing to run it successfully. That’s not to say you should throw in the towel, it’s time to get creative. What can you offer potential customers that these other businesses cannot? If you feel you’ve exhausted your efforts in originality, see if you can partner with these businesses somehow by offering help.
Are Your Employees The Right Kind Of People For The Business?
This one is very important. Do the people you have on board fit the bill? Not just for the role, but can you work with them? Do you understand each other and are working towards the same goals? So often you hear employees talk about their job in the terms of the people instead of the actual work. You need people who are willing to put in the extra effort for the business and not just people clock watching until it’s time to go. If you have many applicants for a handful of roles, focus on the top ten or fifteen and get to know them better. Investing in the people can pay off more handsomely than investing in an ad campaign if you have the right people.
Do You Understand The Sector?
If your business sells fish but you don’t know what fugu is, do your research. Understanding your product and everything about it is what you need to do. Get experience in the sector you intend to work in, or do your research. Only then will you feel equipped enough to take the business where it needs to go.
Are Your Finances In Check?
Not just the business account being all set up, but have you seen what financial assistance you are entitled to, like startup loans? Or do you have enough working knowledge of your financial outgoings in relation to your expenses? Chartered accountants like Raffingers can offer advice if you’re feeling stuck, and advice from other established businesses cannot go amiss.
Are You Marketing Your Business Effectively?
Do you have knowledge of your target market or have you communicated your brand as best as you can? Even something as common as your website needs to reflect your business ethos and be as attractive as possible. Going back to your product, do you know it inherently enough to advertise it, gaining maximum exposure and custom?
Are You The Best Manager You Can Be?
If the answer to that is “no”, then it is time to change that. A good manager is a friend, confidante and leader. Look at leaders you idolize, what is it about them that you hold in such high regard? Improving yourself is never an overnight job, but today is the best time to start. Leading your business to success will encourage trust, in yourself, in your brand and in your business.