Starting your own company is both the most freeing experience and the most terrifying. While there is the promise of substantial monetary rewards in your future, there are also numerous threats that can sink your business before it even gets started.
Here’s what you need to know in order to build a business that can survive and eventually thrive:
Managing your company’s finances isn’t exactly glamorous, but it forms the backbone of any commercial entity. Therefore, it needs to be given the full attention of a qualified accountant, assuming that’s within your budget. Forgoing the professional help of qualified accountants is ill advised, but small businesses with small budgets sometimes sometimes have to manage under less than ideal circumstances. However, this is one such concession that you shouldn’t make for too long, because accurate financial records can prove to be a make or break factor for your business model and for compliance with federal regulations. Accountants will be able to provide not only accurate bookkeeping, but also peace of mind, because they can give your finances the attention they deserve while allowing you to concentrate on the areas in which you excel. For example, your accountant will be able to provide YTD statistics for your company’s earnings, YTD meaning “Year-to-Date,” a figure that will figure heavily into earnings reports and budgeting.
Like hiring an accountant, professional marketing is an essential part of any successful company. Likewise, small business owners may have to settle for less in some cases, and this can be incredibly detrimental. Marketing is the primary means that a business has to expand its reach and bring in new customers, something without which your company will fail. Professional marketing services are even more essential when you consider how obviously low budget advertisements can become the subject of infamy for years to come without contributing to the ever important uptick in sales figures that will help your business grow. You’ll need to enlist the services of a marketing agency in order to ensure that your message doesn’t fall upon deaf ears, especially because marketing is much more involved than advertising alone.
Branding is especially important, because it sets the tone for everything your business does. Your company’s brand will consist of numerous aesthetic characteristics, such as an eye catching color palette and a unique logo, and these elements will convey the personality of your company. This will in turn inform the tone of your ads and press releases, for example. Creating a compelling brand is one of the most important things any business can do in order to make a name for themselves and eventually become a lasting and successful company.
Marketing is a crucial way that your business can be introduced and endeared to consumers, but PR representatives also have a role to play in the public’s perception of your company and your brand. There is some conceptual overlap between marketing and PR, but the two are unique in the tricks of the trade and the end goal. For starters, hiring a spokesperson is a PR technique, even though spokespeople tend to feature in advertisements and other promotional materials. Spokespeople are arguably a more human, more down to earth alternative to mascots that may be inappropriate for some business models, for example, and their role is to endear the company to the public by giving it a name and a face.
PR firms are also indispensable sources of crucial market data that can inform your business’s strategies and those of your marketing firm. Surveys conducted by PR professionals form the backbone of market research in most cases, so this is an expense that can’t be avoided. PR reps are also a valuable way to communicate with press outlets via press releases, something that can serve to announce new products and services to the public or address current events or controversies. The latter is a service that any business owner hopes to avoid entirely, but when and if the time comes, you’ll be glad you invested in the expertise and resources you need.
Building a company from scratch will be a tremendous challenge, no matter what, and the vast majority of small businesses will fail within one year. Your business doesn’t have to be one of them, but avoiding that fate will require dedication and research. These tips will give you a healthy place to start.