Getting your business off the ground is an exciting journey, but it’s not without challenges. There are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of decisions need to be made and a lot of money needs to be spent. If you’re not ready, it’s easy to be overwhelmed.
So much of getting your business running involves a feasible plan and the right timing. If your business is new, it’s crucial to have a checklist of your priorities. Here, we’re outlining everything you need to focus on in the first six months of your startup so you can sustain its growth.
1. Continue doing your market research
Research is essential for any new business, and there are several good reasons to continue researching even after you’ve started operations. First, the business landscape changes rapidly. What works today might not be what customers want tomorrow. Second, you might not be targeting the right demographics for your product or service.
By keeping up with new developments in your field, you can ensure that your business stays ahead of the curve. Doing a lot of research can also help you identify new opportunities for growth and expansion. Even if your business is doing well now, there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way forever.
2. Hire your core team
New business owners are notorious for single-handedly running the show. They wear many different hats in a day and oversee every aspect of the business from production to execution to customer service. However, you need to hire the core people in your team so you can focus on more important tasks.
Core teams are important because they help the owner understand and execute their vision for the company. These are the first people you need for your startup:
- Chief operations officer (COO) – manages the daily operations of the business.
- Chief financial officer (CFO) – responsible for handling the money in your business. They ensure that your capital is spent wisely and keep the books balanced. They also ensure that suppliers are paid on time and all taxes have been filed early.
- Product manager – stays on top of any developments in your product or service. They are your go-to for all things related to your product offerings, from documentation to design to training.
- Marketing manager – in charge of helping you promote your business and build your brand reputation. They create the content for your products, build your website or set you up for a press meeting.
- Customer support – someone who responds to client inquiries, suggestions and questions through various forms of communication such as e-mail, SMS, phone calls or social media.
- Sales manager – focuses on generating new leads for the company. They help you sell your products and services to customers and build lasting relationships with clients. Sales managers and marketing officers typically work together to find leads.
3. Keep your business plan within reach
No matter what type of business you have, you must always have a business plan. A business plan helps you steer your company as you start and grow. It sets the foundation for your company, specifies all measurable objectives and enables you to create a detailed strategy for growth.
Moreover, having a business plan can be a lifesaver when you’re applying for small business financing. Lenders want to see how you’ll make your business profitable and gain the confidence that you won’t default on your loan.
4. Build your online presence
With the help of your marketing manager, you can start building your online presence by setting up a website and optimizing it for search engines like Google. This is also the perfect time to set up your social media accounts such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
Since we’re becoming more digital than ever, you want to be where your customers are. In a survey conducted by Statista, 46% of respondents said they spend five to six hours daily on their mobile phones. A separate study predicted that by 2025, retail mobile e-commerce sales would reach $728.28 billion and account for 44.2% of retail e-commerce sales in the U.S.
These trends mean that you can leverage free digital tools like social media to be where your customers are. Depending on your niche, you can also tap influencers to help you introduce your products and services to your target market.
5. Seek feedback from friends and family
If your business is new and you don’t have customer testimonials yet, you can take this opportunity to collect honest feedback from your families and friends. You can ask them to post about your product and tag your social handles. You can also record good feedback on video and upload it to your website.
Getting honest feedback can help you understand what your customers want and need, identify problems with your products or services, and make necessary improvements. Soliciting feedback early can help you avoid making costly mistakes down the road.
6. Build your network
Building a strong network will help you connect with new clients, get advice from experienced entrepreneurs, and find potential partners or investors. It also enables you to get the word out about your business and your offerings.
To grow your network, you can start by joining industry events and meetups so you can meet like-minded business owners. If you’re shy and think that this is too much for you, you can join online groups, communities and forums that discuss topics related to your niche.
7. Get the right tools to automate certain processes
Lastly, set up the right tools to manage projects, boost productivity and simplify your tasks. Digital tools like Microsoft 365 or Google Suite can help you work and collaborate with your team in real time. You can also get accounting solutions to minimize human error in recording finances or managing cash flow.
Running your own company is a fulfilling journey
As with any new endeavor, growing your own business can be daunting. But with the right planning and execution, it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience. When things get complicated, always refer back to your business plan. This will serve as your guide in going through the tough times and achieving your business’ successful future.