You've completed the planning and mapped out your route to success. Now the focus is on execution. Take a deep breath, and prepare for the adventure that is starting your new small business.
With the excitement of the launch upon you, it's important to stay focused to ensure your first days are a success. You have spent a significant amount of time and energy creating your business plan and finessing your strategies ahead of time, so it can be easy to get distracted during the whirlwind and excitement of actually beginning the venture. Following your business plan and each of the detailed steps mapped out will help keep you focused. Refer to it regularly and keep track of all your accounts, invoice documentation and correspondence. Detailed notes on how various situations were handled can provide insight on how to, or not to handle similar challenges in the future.
As detailed and structured as your business strategy may be, be aware that shifting economies, trends and unpredictable events may have you rethinking some aspects of your plan. With experience comes the knowledge of how to make processes more efficient, so if you are modifying your course of action, be careful not to leave any areas out.
Get your name out there
Some of the most successful Canadian entrepreneurs conceded that an effective way to invest in your business is through a robust marketing campaign. Drawing attention to your brand will attract customers to patronize your business and let them know you're open and ready. Whether you do it yourself or hire the services of a marketing firm, an impactful advertising campaign that targets your desired audience and captures customers' awareness is vital for an impressive start.
Social media is your friend. Use it to create some buzz around your new business on channels relevant to your business including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, among others. Accumulating "fans" and "followers" before Day 1 will allow you to communicate with them in the weeks leading up to your launch. Also, if applicable to your marketing efforts, it also often allows for easier paid social advertising, if accounts are populated ahead of time.
Entice your prospects with a reward. Specials and samples can be included in your marketing campaign to encourage potential customers to use your products or services prior to a greater commitment. Consider loyalty programs and incentives to remind clients to return.
Assemble a winning team
You know your product or service inside and out. Make sure the staff you hire does, too. Your frontline staff are the collective face of your company, as they will be the first to interact with your customer. A negative first impression can be extremely costly to a startup; it is human nature to share and discuss a negative experience over a positive one. For customer-facing businesses, consider performing trial days with your staff, where they can provide mock service to friends and/or family who won't be affected negatively. This way you can test out your operations and employee abilities before you invite customers.
Give yourself time
Newsflash: You are your biggest critic. Set yourself reasonable expectations and know that it takes time to establish a new business. After the whirlwind of the launch has died down, you can continue drawing attention to your business with a mix of marketing techniques such as website development and promotion, presence at local events or markets, or creating a referral system.
Your new life as an entrepreneur
You've undoubtedly come to realize that small business owners don't just work the typical 9 to 5 schedule. Getting your business of the ground will take investing hard work and long hours until you begin to gain traction. However, there are some effective business tools out there that work around your schedule.
- Simplify with techology: Experiment with technology and evaluate whether it could simplify your workload. Setting your network to function remotely could allow a clearer line of sight into operations when you're physically absent. Examine whether mobile telephone packages make better business sense than the traditional landline phone.
- Find tools that save you time: Ensure you are using banking that fits your limited and often hectic schedule. Look for institutions that offer services that reduce the need for visiting a branch and offer an array of services online, such as Scotiabank. Recently they introduced an online account opening process for new operating and saving accounts. These accounts adjust to usage volumes, allowing businesses to achieve their goals with fewer fees and higher interest rates on savings.
The time and expert dedication you devote now into getting your new business off the ground can increase your potential for success and the rewards you've been working toward.