Budding entrepreneurs beware: advice is everywhere and it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of research rather than getting anything accomplished. If you want to be successful you need to stay organized, prioritize and keep on moving forward. Keep these tips in mind as you perform the juggling act that is entrepreneurship.
1. Collect & Organize
You don’t have to have to be a day away from signing your business lease before you begin to think like a business owner. The road to owning your own business can take years. For instance, if you know that you’ll be selling vintage fashion online, start collecting discarded dressmaker dummies and mannequins before you even graduate from college. Your spare bedroom may appear creepy for a few months but that’s nothing compared to the thousands of dollars these necessary display pieces could cost you if you had to purchase them in a few short weeks.
Make that list or lists of tasks to do and items to acquire and add to them as needed. Establish a budget before the business begins based upon your best and most realistic projections, not your best dreams. Will you require a business wardrobe or will you work from home in your pajamas? Have you saved money for most of your known startup expenses or otherwise arranged financial backing? Though it’s often true that “Cash is King,” be certain to have reviewed and applied for at least one of the small business credit card offers that will arrive in your mailbox as an emergency backup.
2. Learn Basic SEO Tips & Usage
Update and optimize your social media presence often and with interesting content. Register your business with sites like Google, Yelp and an industry-specific direcctories so you’ll appear in local search listings. Connect your Facebook status updates to your business Twitter account in order to force a faster indexing by Google. There are a lot of people using the Internet, so why wouldn’t you use it to reach them?
3. Schedule, Record, Observe & Analyze
If necessary, invest in cloud data storage and the operating systems that will allow you to share your calendar on your smart phone, work PC, laptop and tablet computer. A missed appointment is more than a missed potential, it’s the establishment of a reputation that you’re not a dependable business partner or contact. A task list is more than a way for you to feel as if you’ve accomplished certain tasks during the day. Rather, the reappearance of certain items on a regular basis gives you a huge clue that this task should become a formally scheduled occurrence. This will help you learn to delegate time and task management. Track your progress and results to see where you’re succeeding and where you need improvement.
4. Network, Network & Network
If you’re shy or tongue-tied around strangers, it’ll be a major hurdle. Find a partner to handle the necessary social aspect of building your business, take a class in public speaking or just get over it. You’ve worked and planned too long to let this aspect of customer acquisition wither with your business growth. Get professionally designed business cards on appropriate stock, with a design and font that is fitting to your business and your brand. Especially at the beginning, this is one luxury to include in the budget. A smile, a handshake and an offered card is often your customer’s first impression of your company. Be certain that it’s a positive one.