A checklist for small business success


Starting and running your own business is one of the most demanding challenges that you could take on but the rewards, both financial and in terms of personal satisfaction, can be enormous. It is for this reason that many people are tempted to try it for themselves and see if they can succeed where so many others have tried and failed. If you would like to run a profitable business, the checklist below covers some of the major points that you will need to consider, both before you start and in the years to come.

Choose a location for your new company that is convenient not just for you and any future employees, but also for your customers. In the first few months of operation, you may decide that the best choice is to run your business from home but when you have secured a few lucrative contracts and your corporate cash flow is looking a little healthier, it is a good idea to look at new premises. Renting fully equipped office space in a central location is an excellent way to impress prospective clients and ensure that your company projects the right image. Working from home may make good financial sense at first but senior executives from global organisations are unlikely to be impressed if you hold negotiations for a new contract at your kitchen table.
Following on from the above point, you should think carefully about the layout and design of any commercial space that you use as a base for your operations. This is important not only because the right environment can inspire employees to be more productive and creative but also because the companies with which you wish to do business will base their opinions of your organisation partly on the type of headquarters that you occupy. Whether you opt for managed suites that come with 24-hour support or choose to go it alone in a small building on your own, studying interior design principles and implementing them in your office can help to ensure that visiting clients form a positive impression of your new venture and that your employees are able to work to the best of their abilities on a daily basis.
Research the market for the products or services that you are going to be providing. Even if you think you have come up with a killer business idea that cannot possibly fail, it is vital to conduct market research before you invest time and money in your new venture. Countless commercial ventures fail because the queue of eager customers that the people who started them were convinced would form at their door never actually materialise. Whilst you do not want to give away any new ideas that competitors could steal, you should sound out potential clients and make sure that the gap in the market you believe exists is a commercial reality and not a figment of your overoptimistic imagination.
Be very careful who you hire when expanding. Handing over responsibilities to newcomers can be very difficult for small business owners that have grown used to dealing with everything by themselves but learning the art of delegation is of vital importance if you wish to expand your field of operations and increase the turnover and profits generated by your company. However, without the right kind of employees on which to rely, you will never be able to delegate with any degree of certainty that your wishes will be carried out effectively. Hold second and third interviews for key positions if you feel the need, as it is vital that you hire the right people when attempting to grow a small business.
Even if you follow the above advice and any additional tips that you pick up from more experienced entrepreneurs, you may still find that ensuring your new company remains profitable over the years to come is sometimes a real struggle. Nevertheless, those who take on the challenge of business ownership and succeed often find that running their own firm is every bit as exciting and rewarding as they imagined it would be so do not let fear of failure hold you back if you think you have what it takes.

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