Launching a new business is an exciting time, full of preparation, promise, and it feels much like the start of any journey. However, no matter how much forethought goes into your business plan, some lessons can only be learned through hindsight — unless you draw from the experience of others.Here are ten things to consider when launching your business that we hope will save you time and a few growing pains.
1. You (and Your Finances) Are Not Your Business
You pour everything into your business -- and quite possibly a lot of your personal savings. But, as a best practice, try to separate your personal finances from your business expenses. This compartmentalization will make your life easier.
Plus, there are a lot of small business funding options out there other than your savings account. If you are considering outside funding through a bank, starting to build your business credit score as its own entity and easily pulling your business financial report will be important and also teach you as you work with them.
A few other key steps:
- Register your business to receive your Employer Identification Number
- Open a business bank account that is separate from your personal bank account
- Apply for a separate credit card listed under your business
2. Find Your Network
Business owners have this misconception of being all alone on an island; that they must show strength and avoid any signs of vulnerability by not asking for help or advice. Starting a business is hard work but you aren’t alone! In fact, you’re part of a massive community that wants to listen and share their stories. So look to find a community of like-minded people, mentors who’ve gone on the same journey and learned lessons from it, and financial resources to help support you as you grow your business.
Find a Chamber of Commerce, Business Networking Group, or fellow business owners in your same position or, even better, already made it through the start-up process and can lend some helpful advice.
3. Choose Your Team With Care
When starting a business, it's important to have a support system. Maybe you have the funding to hire a small team or you might be a solopreneur for some time. Either way validate your connections and the people who support you: a partner, friends, or a coach. Lean on them and ask for help. When you are hiring, prioritize applicants with the right qualifications who align with your mission.
Small businesses tend to have smaller teams. It's crucial to surround yourself with people who believe in the company mission and want to see success and growth as much as you do. Because you’re not just hiring employees but rather building a tight-knit community.
- If you are planning on hiring new employees make time in your calendar to execute a thorough training and onboarding experience.
- Create a strong foundation to enable employees to build upon and grow
4. Don’t Try to Do Everything - Utilize Resources
Are you doing your own bookkeeping? If so, is this and the best use of your talents? Will it further your business goals? Automation is widely available for all types of business and marketing functions. By utilizing the financial and growth resources available, you then more efficiently and effectively reach your customers with your message and see a bigger return on investment (ROI) for your time.
Here are a few to get started:Accounting
- Notion - manage your business
- Slack - chat with coworkers
- Whimsical - create wireframes + flow charts Google Slides for pretty presentations
- Figma - Use this simple design tool that does everything
- Feather icons - Pull from a great free library of icons with a Figma plugin
- Dribbble - Get some design inspiration
- SparkToro - learn everything about your competitor's audience
- Hunter - find emails of article writers
- Snov - snag emails from LinkedIn at scale
- Snazzy - simplify with AI content generation
- Tally Forms - create better forms (a great alternative to Typeform)
- Weld - get ad and analytic data into Google Sheets (alternative to Supermetrics)
- HubSpot - Grow traffic, convert leads, close deals, and turn customers into promoters.
5. Guard Your Time
Sure, business owners can stay busy 14+ hours a day. But living a full life and taking time for yourself and those you love will actually recharge you for the work to come. Guard your time carefully. Plan out the most important activities and don't let anything intrude on those scheduled items. This includes time for your family and you. Giving yourself time to exercise or relax allows your brain the freedom to dream again.
- Group tasks by the project: arrange related activities on a single day to help you focus
- Create a day-by-day schedule: keep a routine with space for things that come up
- Plan for distraction: add interruption time into your schedule
- Dive into deep work: Keep a day on your calendar blocked off that allows you to focus full on one task
6. It’s All About Them
Think about that feeling of awe you experience when taking a moment to stare up at a star-filled night sky at the cosmos. Building a customer-centric perspective helps shape your perspective as well. When we focus outside of ourselves, such as on the wonder of the starry sky, this actually calms the fight-or-flight part of your nervous system. So focusing on your customer’s pain points and their experiences shifts your focus into a more productive mode.
Story branding and research on effective marketing confirms that content focused around your customers and how your business serves them and solves their problems, converts leads into customers and creates customer loyalty. Set up your website and outreach to allow for continuous feedback. When you are just getting started with launching your website, landing pages, and marketing materials, reach out to your customers, your team, and ask for feedback. Everyone appreciates empathy.
7. There Will Be Sacrifice
No matter how much you prepare, starting a business is all-consuming. We want to share some helpful tips on striking that balance between building your company and enriching your personal life. These are a lot like brushing your teeth in that they work out a lot better in the long term.
- Review your schedule and make sure you have time to engage in activities that bring you joy ( a 2 hour bike ride might change to a 30 minute cruise, but try to permit yourself time to do things you love.
- Notice the activities that drain and distract you.
- Each month set a new goal for yourself / business.
- Track your progress daily. Write it down and then reevaluate changes you can make to help support these goals.
And here’s what research has to say about the benefits of striking that work-life balance:
- Increased productivity
- Improved mental well-being
- A creativity boost
- More time for healthy habits
8. Details Matter
In the excitement of building a team, developing a marketing plan, and getting your product to market, remember to address the legal side. Permits, taxes, insurance, etc., may not be exciting, but understanding how they work and staying on track will help your growing business flourish financially.
Here are several necessary legal topics and steps to work on:
- Define your end goal: getting acquired, going public, creating an enduring brand, staying small, and providing supplementary income are just a few examples. Additional requirements like registering your business as a C-corp might be necessary. Learn more here.
- Protect your brand & intellectual property by learning about trademarks, copyrights, and patents
Select Your Type of Entity:
- Sole Proprietorship
- C Corp
- S Corp
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- General Partnership
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
- Limited Partnership (LP)
- Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)
- Register your business with your state
9. Make Mistakes
As humans, we’re afraid to make mistakes, but they often serve as our best teachers. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes. Try to look at mistakes and issues as learning opportunities and through the lens of a scientist testing a hypothesis. Scientists don’t attach emotion or judge themselves if an experiment doesn’t work. Instead, they study the results with objectivity and try again based on this new information. Each error only means you are moving closer to success.
As Albert Einstein said, “I have tried 99 times and have failed, but on the 100th time came success.”
10. Have Fun!
This is your dream. Soak it in. When you succeed, have fun and celebrate the win. Yes, we believe that mistakes are teachers but, when looking at the big picture, take time to recognize all the wins.
You probably experience giddiness and a thrill the first days working on your business. Let their memory be a guiding light as the journey continues on.