It’s exciting to start a business. How can people know what company will work for them with all the information today? Every business owner should understand that a plan is essential for success. Many new business owners need guidance, clarification, and support in creating a plan. Business owners should treat their goals like a prescription. Each step is a dose of medicine to help you build a healthy business.
There are some important decisions to make before you begin a business.
1. Who are my customers
2. Where are my customers located?
3. How can I attract my customers?
4. How do I deliver my product/service?
5. How can I manage my finances effectively?
6. What are my options?
Each of these questions reveals the foundations of a healthy business. Many people find these questions confusing or need to be more comprehensive to help them understand what it takes to build and sustain a healthy business.
These questions are the Prescription for Healthy Business.
Where and who are my customers?
Customers are the foundation of any business’s success. One of the small businesses’ most costly mistakes is not knowing their customers. Consumers are becoming more educated and have more purchasing options today than ever before. The consumer is also more conscious of spending and has a more strategic buying approach.
Understanding your customer’s needs and how you can attract them to your product is easier than knowing what your product does.
New business owners often come from businesses that deal with customers who use the product or service they are interested in. The business owner will gain insight into the customer profiles to understand their customers better.
Understanding your company’s competitive position is important. Before profiling customers, make sure that you have a non-compete agreement.
Subscribe to data mining services if you are moving into a new location or have a confidentiality or non-compete clause. Service providers such as Sales Genie or Hudson offer cost-effective mining tools that allow you to see customer information to learn everything you need about your new customers.
How can I attract my customers?
Once you have a clear picture of your customers, their business locations, and what they may need for your products or services, you can create a plan to bring them to your company. It can be hard for some to understand what customers are looking for to make buying decisions. However, it is possible for others. Many commodities, like services or products, may be selected for price or delivery speed. Others may be chosen based on necessity, rarity, or region. The relationship purchase is where you have an established relationship that can influence your customer’s buying decision. Each buying parameter must be understood to make the best buying decisions for your specific product or area of expertise.
If you don’t have a relationship or a location advantage, commodities will be the hardest area for new businesses to enter. Due to the competition for customers, it is more difficult to compete. You can differentiate yourself from other companies by having a better image of your company, better customer service, or a different delivery model. It only takes a little to maintain a professional appearance.
Your regional advantages or the ability to find rare or difficult-to-find items should be included in your presentation or image to let companies know that you are different than your competition. A professional branding company can help you create your vision and reach your customers differently. This will give you a great return on your investment.
Although social media outlets like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be great avenues for businesses, they are still relatively new in the marketing world, and it isn’t easy to quantify their impact on purchasing decisions. All offer free accounts, which should be used to promote your brand and provide an additional access point to the market.
A website is just as important as an email address. Websites can be simple and simple to be successful. People need to be able to access websites quickly and understand the company’s products and services. An easy-to-remember and use email address will allow people to contact your company easily and let you start building a relationship with potential customers.
How do I deliver my product/service?
Your business’s success depends on the delivery of products or services. Delivery of products and services can be synergistic with Customer Service, but it is also completely separate. While product delivery problems can be met or exceeded by customers’ expectations, they can also prove costly, inefficient, and hinder a business’ growth.
The first step in understanding how your market expects you to deliver your product or service is understanding the market. The supply chain can make or break products and services. It is important to understand and have in place the procurement of contractors and vendors that will assist in developing and delivering end products and services.
Vendors and contractors should be held to the same standards as employees. Or better, the criteria that you expect of your customers. Make sure you have a clear and concise vendor performance policy. If your industry is unique or has special contractual obligations, you should not use vendor terms or contracts that are too complex. Complex legal documents can cause inefficiency, poor relationships, and difficulty resolving issues.
Create a simple customer feedback program that customers can easily use and track. Include the customer’s feedback in your regular employee meetings to ensure that all employees know what customers say about you, your products, and your staff. Don’t use criticism to discipline your employees. Instead, use it as a tool for growth and improvement.
How can I manage my Finances?
Finance management is something you can do with others. A professional can help you set up your company and provide legal guidance. You can make important financial decisions, such as whether you want to be a Sole Proprietor or a Limited Liability Company.
Many companies can help decide the best legal structure for you. LegalZoom is a company that specializes in assisting people in choosing and understanding the right corporate structure.
Another important decision is to hire an accountant. To be successful in the long term, you must understand your tax requirements and have guidance. It is costly to be ignorant of tax law. Most government entities have severe penalties for late filings or delinquent payments of Sales, Franchise, and Payroll taxes.
It is important to have a system in place for keeping track of your money. There are many options for financial tracking techniques. A cash drawer and ledger may be sufficient for retail environments. However, a cash register or point-of-sale system is required. Other companies must keep track of inventory, customers, vendors, accounts receivable, payable, and payroll. These financial issues can be tracked using simple ledgers and fully functional accounting systems like QuickBooks, Peachtree, etc. There are sites like FindAccountingSoftware.com that can help to understand the choices and how they apply to your business.
Remember that your personal and business money should not be merged. To make it easier for you and your team, keep written records. Your chances of success with money will increase if you have your money organized and accounted for.