Starting your own business is an exciting time, but it can also be incredibly daunting. You’ve built up this alive venture from scratch, with the aim to watch it grow and thrive. Whether you’ve just started your own business, or are considering it, what can you do to ensure it’s a success?
Have a Long-Term Plan
Having a long-term plan can help you focus your efforts, without which your business can fail quickly. It’s impossible to account for every contingency, and part of developing good business acumen is learning to react quickly to unexpected events. But, your business has a much better chance of success if you have a series of goals and milestones you wish to accomplish in a specific time-frame.
How Can I Create an Effective Plan?
The best way of creating a plan is by taking it step by step. Asking yourself specific questions can help you identify exactly what you want your business to achieve and where you should spend your money, time and effort.
Where are you now?
Take a close look at your business and where you’re spending the most time. Are you neglecting your social media? Do you even have one set up? If you’ve yet to set up your new business, it might be that you’re still in the planning stage but have yet to take action.
Where do you want to be?
After taking stock of where you are what you have, you are in a much better position to determine what you want to achieve. Do you want to have set up your website and social media? The key here is to not be too ambitious. A five-year plan is great, but difficult to monitor and analyse at regular intervals. Where do you want to be in six months? It might be that you want to increase your conversions or develop a regular newsletter targeted directly to your customers.
How can I put this in action?
In order to achieve a goal, you need a solution. This will depend on what your main goals are. If you want to increase your conversions, maybe you need to revisit your landing page and include some slick web copy that will make visitors want to buy from you. If you’re worried about your bounce rate, you can do some research into User Experience (UX) and usability. Finally, make this plan tangible. If it’s written down, not only will you be reminded of your goals, but so will your employees. They’ll know exactly what steps need taking to help the business reach its targets. By setting realistic objectives, you’ll see the progress as it happens. Don’t forget to revisit your timeline at halfway points and revise it if necessary. It might be that you’re ahead of schedule!
Don’t Neglect Marketing
Marketing, especially online, can be the one thing that sets your business apart.
Gaining custom is all about visibility, so an effective marketing campaign is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal.
It’s all about SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is what makes it easy for potential customers to find you online. If someone is searching for ‘lawyers jersey’ in Google, if you’ve optimised your website for that keyword, then you’ll be ranking in front of your competitors who don’t.
Don’t forget social media
Social media can be a great way of connecting with your customers and getting positive feedback and testimonials. Not only that, it can establish your business as an authority in your industry or niche, by producing and sharing relevant content that provides value to your followers.
Consider the Legal Implications
Getting your business up and running is often the most difficult part of the process. This also means that there are certain legal aspects you will need to take care of.
Helpful tip: Determine what sort of business * you are running. Are you a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company? The type of business you are running will dictate what legal requirements ** you need to meet.
Employment and HR
If you have or plan on having a number of employees, you’ll need to ensure you have employee contracts set in place. While in an ideal world you won’t have any issues with your employees, if they’re under-performing or you face allegations of unfair dismissal, a legal team who specialise in employment law can help you resolve the case without resorting to a tribunal or court appearance.
Helpful tip: While it’s not always possible (or even advisable) to be best friends with your employees, you should maintain a positive relationship with your staff. Doing regular KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) can help you keep track of employees’ performance and are useful should you need to dismiss them.
Health and Safety
If you run your business out of an office and are responsible for the safety of your staff, you need to be aware of health and safety regulations. While it can be complicated, it’s incredibly important and can have a major impact on your business.
Helpful tip: Conducting regular risk assessments of all potential hazards is one way to protect yourself and maximise workplace safety.
Your business is your pride and joy, so you’ll do everything in your power to make sure it’s a success. Knowing what to do next can be intimidating, but having a plan, marketing your business and seeking legal advice when necessary, puts you in the prime position to build a profitable business.
About the author: Carl Parslow is the managing partner of Parslows’ Jersey office. He has 20 years of experience practicing law. Carl was initially called to the English Bar in 1996 and in 2003 he was called to the Jersey Bar as an advocate. He is an Honorary Librarian of the Law Society of Jersey and serves on several Law Society committees. Carl is extremely experienced in law relating to SME and property.