No one can stop you now. You’ve made it through launch week, and stuff’s just got serious. Here’s how to steer the train, ship, hyperloop pod, or other transport metaphor, in the right direction.
Keep an eye on the pennies
Most startup failures are due to lack of cash, so cash flow management is crucial. Every area might benefit from a little extra spending, but you should only do what’s necessary. Do it well and do it cheap. And remember to keep something in reserve for emergencies and your tax liabilities.
Stay on top of your invoices too. Wherever possible, ask for payment up front so your bank balance is always a few steps ahead.
If you’re processing any personal data or keeping client records, you should register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
You should also make sure you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is all about handling customer data in the right way, especially when it comes to emailing them.
If a big chunk of your business comes through your website, you should perform a regular SEO audit to make sure you’re ranking well in Google for all the search terms your target customers might type in.
Network, network, network
If no one knows you’re in business, it doesn’t matter how good you or your product is. If you’re running a digital business, join a co-working space to work among like-minded entrepreneurs. Huckletree in London is a good example.
Get active on social media, and engage in conversation with your target audience and even your competitors. Linkedin is great for B2B networking, while Facebook and Instagram allow you to target consumers better.
Find local networking events and meet up with other business owners in the area. You never know who might need what you sell, or who they could put you in touch with.
Look for backers
Investors could be your secret weapon to turbo-charge your route to market. Tools like Invest Europe can help you find potential backers. And if you’re taking investment, you can get your investors a 50% discount with tax relief from the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
Be a good boss
If you plan on employing someone in your business, choose an automatic enrolment workplace pension. The Pensions Advisory Service tells you everything.
Learn from the pros
A business coach could be a wise investment to guide you through the coming weeks, months and years in the smartest way. Or, if you can’t afford one, ask another business owner with a few years’ experience if they’ll mentor you. You’ll be surprised how helpful people can be.
Separate business from pleasure
The moment your work life takes over your home life, you’re doomed. If you’re a sole trader, it’s easy to lose yourself in the business and very hard to break bad work habits once it takes off.
Establish a routine early on and stick to it. Otherwise you’ll find it hard to switch off and you’ll risk burnout.
One last thing to remember
Never let the superhuman commitment slip. All the best businesses have it in abundance.
And that’s it.
There you have it - one dead easy guide to startup success. There’s lots to do, but as long as you tick every box, you’ll have every chance of bossing your first year in business.
To get a head start on the money side of things, head to Countingup to open the business account that does your books. It takes 5 minutes to set up, then frees you up to focus on what really matters.
Go here if you get stuck.