Small businesses are in a precarious spot. The opportunities for success are great, but so are the chances of failure. Operating on slim margins with few employees leaves them vulnerable to market fluctuations. From the beginning, these small companies have to be optimized. Here are six ways to set up your business for success.
Optimize Your Company’s Structure
Your choice of business structure will have ramifications on every business process. Different legal structures come with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, the “C Corp” is known for offering strong liability protections, balanced by increased costs. Visit the IRS website for a full rundown of obligations and incentives.
Don’t forget about insurance, either. Business insurance varies widely by state. Insurance companies often employ insurtech solutions to streamline the quote process. Even so, these decisions will still require a lot of thought and consideration. Seek help from financial and legal professionals instead of going it alone.
Have a Professional Web Presence
One common mistake made by new business owners is skimping on web content. It all starts with the landing page. A good website should look polished and attractive. Take a look at the science that goes into creating a webpage that’s readable but also engaging. Putting the focus on written content is also advantageous. Long-form content channels like blogs are more conducive to search engine optimization (SEO) marketing strategies. Creative content also shows that your company is about more than making money.
Define Metrics for Success
“Success” can be a nebulous concept. Defining and refining the goals you intend to achieve is pivotal to growth. So is learning to use objective metrics for progress. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are data sets used to establish a definitive measure of achievement. Net income, lead generation, conversion rate, and customer satisfaction scores are all examples. Once you have the numbers, they become actionable. In business, knowledge is definitely power.
Recruit the Right People
A good team creates operational agility. A lackluster one leads to poor performance at the worst times. Hiring new workers based on technical skills alone is tempting, but doing so is often a mistake. The so-called “soft skills” like creativity and empathy are more effective predictors of long-term success. This fact ties into another facet of building great teams: training. Studies continue to show that consistent training builds team unity, boosts morale, and increases skill. Your best employees might be the ones you nurture, not the ones you hire.
How does your company stand out from the crowd? Within any industry or niche market, there are a slew of companies competing for limited customers. Competing on product quality has historically been a good decision. Engage with customers using market research strategies like surveys and focus groups. Doing so will help you identify shifting trends in demand. Cultivate a reputation for care and authenticity by giving multiple customer service options. Set your company apart by asking what your unique offerings can do to improve the lives of your customers.
Protect Yourself From Loss
A vital part of making money is not losing money. Loss can take many forms, from business process inefficiency to employee theft. A common source of lost revenue in the digital age is cybercrime. Recent research showed that employees of small businesses are 350% more likely to be targeted by scams than employees of large companies. Hackers are betting that small companies are less prepared for a data breach than big businesses. They’re usually right. Maximize your defense by investing in high-quality antivirus software. Augment this with firewall systems that filter email traffic. Always assume the worst of any new user on your network, and insist upon rigorous verification standards.
Giving your business a strong start can avoid many problems down the road. Analyze your goals, then make a solid plan to achieve them. Never be afraid to slow down and take your time. These tips are merely a beginning.