While the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately hit small businesses and startup ventures, now that the tides are turning, it represents a prime opportunity to move forward with new business plans. As with any venture, preplanning and research are essential to success — as are budgeting, developing operational priorities, and putting financial management and branding strategies in place. The Brand Castle can be an exceptional resource when it comes to establishing your company in the minds of consumers.
It’s a Good Time for a Startup
While the world is emerging from the pandemic, historically low interest rates allow access to “cheap money.” This essentially means you can invest in your business from a more financially secure position than when interest rates are at a peak. While sadly, many small operations went out of business during the shutdown, those closures mean an opportunity to buy liquidated inventory and equipment at exceptional prices.
You may also be able to hire skilled employees who were displaced by these closures. Don’t feel like you’re taking advantage of someone else’s bad situation by capitalizing on these opportunities. In reality, you’re helping former business owners get a clean slate from which to launch their next venture.
Business planning is an important element of a small startup, but it’s even more critical in a market that is still finding its footing. Developing a comprehensive business agenda includes securing a location and hiring staff (where appropriate), developing a marketing plan, and getting your budget and financial management plans in place.
Knowing where you are from a money standpoint is key, not only for daily operations and purchasing decisions but for tax reporting and budgeting. A flexible platform like QuickBooks Advanced, used in conjunction with a Google Sheet, can make it easy to access a suite of reporting tools. Essentially, you can expect better decisioning with financial reporting software.
Manage Your Money
A key to business success is in making wise financial investments. Part of your business plan should include a detailed financial analysis that outlines where your funding is coming from, how it will be used, and what your revenue and expenditure projections look like. Your operating budget isn’t something you create once and put in a file cabinet; it should be reviewed monthly to begin with and be referenced and revised as circumstances or the business climate changes. In addition to accounting software, having a good bookkeeper or accountant on your team can also be an asset, even on a freelance basis.
Getting your company into the public eye is a vital first step for a startup venture. Establishing an interactive website and putting together an agenda for digital marketing, publicity functions, and a robust social media presence will help you promote your business.
Exceptional degrees of customer service will also set you apart from the competition. Conduct consumer research, ask customers for feedback and referrals, and strive to create long-term relationships over single interactions and purchases. When you’re cultivating clients, look for innovative ways to over-deliver on value, whether that’s through a loyalty program, special events, or highly personalized and individualized services.
Leave Your Fear Behind
Launching a business has the potential to be challenging in the best of times, and is even more so on the heels of a pandemic. However, smart and well-vetted approaches and a carefully established financial plan can help set you up for success. Get yourself into a healthy headspace in which you maintain a positive outlook, put contingency plans in place, and strive for good time management and a work-life balance from the start. This will position you to pivot as necessary, see potential problems before they get out of hand, and grow your business in short order.
While we’re all still moving into this post-pandemic phase of life with caution, small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies, and making a smart foray into the world of small business ownership will support long-term recovery. And if you’re looking for a way to get your business off on the right foot, a comprehensive marketing strategy is essential. Reach out to the experts at The Brand Castle for a consultation.