Starting a business is an exciting time. In the heady days of starting up, it’s hard not to get swept away in the romanticism of everything. It’s your baby after all.
But as admin ramps up and you get bogged down with tax responsibilities and the minutiae of the day to day, you can quickly feel overwhelmed and burnt out.
If you’re in the throes of starting up, you might want to check out these essentials. In the meantime, there are some handy quick wins you can check off your list to help your business on its journey to success. Your future self will be eternally grateful!
1) Plan for the worst
This is tough to get your head around when you’re bursting with optimism in the early start-up days, but it’s good to bear in mind.
We need only cast our minds back to March 2020 to know a society-changing event can leap out of nowhere and upend everything. Sadly, we saw some local businesses struggle and even fail due to the global pandemic.
But we can learn from this and plan for the worst case scenario. You can make decisions about levels of insurance cover, contingency planning and savings for added security should the worst happen. Being realistic might seem a bit stuffy when you’re starting out, but your future self will definitely be on board.
2) Nurture those networks
There’s a tired cliché that success is all about who you know, not what you know. But it’s worth noting there’s a kernel of truth in it.
Of course, you won’t get very far in your industry if you lack key skills and knowledge, but with the average small business getting 60% of its business from referrals, who you know definitely comes into it.
Spend time nurturing your network, meeting other business owners in your local community, and developing strong feedback and referral processes for customers.
Think you don’t have time to network? Think of it this way: how much time would you normally spend on marketing? Think of networking part of your marketing strategy.
3) Know that timing is everything
This year has showed us that costs can change overnight. Things you’d factored in as comfortably affordable might suddenly be prohibitive.
Keep a close eye on any changes that impact your outgoings. So, for example, changes in base rates can impact investments and loan repayments.
The percentages you allow for when you start out won’t stay that way forever. Allow a buffer for increases and keep abreast of forecasted changes and predictions from government and other reputable sources.
Timing is key with keeping your cashflow under control too. Map out monthly cashflow so you know exactly what’s coming in and out. Offer time incentives to clients too and discounts for prompt payments. And know when to increase your rates.
4) Don’t do it all yourself
It’s tempting to think you’re saving money by not delegating in the early days. And it’s hard to strike a balance between doing everything yourself and getting overwhelmed with the costs of outsourcing and multiple subscriptions. But, there’ll come a time when you can’t afford not to delegate.
What’s the best use of your time? You know your strengths, and if numbers aren’t your thing, it might take three times as long to figure out your accounts than it would an expert.
In the end it’s a false economy, and because you’re not an accountant, you might not be au fait with the ins and outs of complex tax laws. You could miss out on significant savings, which could mean the difference between sinking and swimming.
5) Value Your Team
Yes, payroll is often the most expensive cost to a business, but investing in a strong team will pay off long term.
Don’t just pay lip service to your company’s culture. Get behind a considered work-life balance policy with benefits that actually matter to employees and make a difference in their lives.
A happy workforce is more productive and you’ll experience greater staff retention, leading to increased profitability. Something your future self will definitely thank you for!
Need help? Get in touch today.