August 28, 2017

Three tips for starting a small business

Taking the first steps to starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting opportunity. Here are three recommendations for starting out on the right foot.

The beginning stages of business ownership are an exciting time. We’re here to give you the information you need when you’re just getting started to help your business succeed in the long run. Here are three tips for getting your pursuit off the ground.

Lay the foundation

There are several key steps to take to ensure you’re covering all of your bases right from the start.

Plan your finances

Cash flow forecasting helps ensure the financial security of your business, as it tracks money coming in and out. This helps you plan essential activities, like how many staff members you can afford to have. It also lets you know what your projected income will be and gives you insight on when to scale back on expenses.

Build your business plan

Charting out a course of action with a plan for your business can help increase profits and pave the way for success. A good business plan should be flexible and adaptable so you can take advantage of opportunities and anticipate challenges down the road. Answer key questions when forming your plan like why your company exists, what your competitive advantage is. Stay up to date on industry trends, investigate consumer buying patterns, and be conscious of economic forecasts and supply chain dependencies.

Ask your mentors

Seek the expertise of those who can help move your business forward. Whether through networking with like-minded business owners, garnering advice and support from professionals such as lawyers and accountants, or tapping resources from small business organizations,  guidance like this can greatly benefit you and help refine your business plan.

Determine your business structure

Think about what kind of structure best suits your business. Do you want to go into business alone or with others? Different considerations are required, depending on whether you choose to launch a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

Hire your first employees

Planning your workload is important for evaluating your head count. How many people will you need to hire to execute on your goals for the first year? If you plan to do all the work yourself, remember that you’re limited to only the time you have available.

This is a good time to check in with who’s on board. What skills do you need to launch your business? This is a good way to evaluate what skillsets your business plan needs to reach your goals.

Research legal and compliance requirements

Your business structure will have a direct impact on your obligations going forward. Consult with a professional tax or legal advisor to determine which type suits you best. Then, register your business and consider whether there are any operational permits or licenses required. If applicable, seek out tools and obtain advice on how best to protect your intellectual property.

Grow your business

Your business’ future depends on having a solid plan for the future to survive and thrive. Where necessary, get the professional support you need to accomplish these tasks, so that you can focus on developing your business.

Develop your team

Working with the right people is essential to keep your small business going. No matter how small your team is, recruitment and retention efforts are an important part of your talent management strategy.

It’s important to think about the future and safeguard against turnover. Nurturing your talent pool is a good way to build your candidate pipeline. You can do this by establishing fair employment policies and communicating clearly—keeping your company’s social media updated, checking Glassdoor reviews, and engaging with commenters on LinkedIn. The goal is to build a positive brand reputation and shine a light on your values, which will help naturally attract talent when openings are posted.

Promote your new business online

One way to grow your business is through online promotion. A website may be your first opportunity to introduce your company to the world. Think about the messaging you want to convey, who your audience is, and what brand personality you want for your company.

A clean and concise website will invite visitors into your world of business, where they will make decisions on whether to purchase your product or service. A regular blog and social media strategy can be another organic way to reach your target audience.

Starting a small business can be the exciting beginning to following your passion and working for yourself. But while you’re focused on the strategic objectives of your business, your employees are there, at least in part, to earn their paycheque. Just as you would retain the services of a lawyer or accountant, access to a payroll professional can be important.

Exploring your options—to process payroll yourself or to retain a managed payroll service for that purpose—is a worthwhile exercise. Among all the decisions new business owners are called on to make, processing payroll yourself requires a certain time commitment. In contrast, payroll outsourcing services can give you accurately timely payroll with minimal administrative efforts, while offering you more time and freedom to focus on growing your business.

Gladys Miranda

Gladys Miranda is a Sr. Marketing Manager at Ceridian

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