By this point, you have surpassed some of the biggest challenges of establishing a startup—coming up with a plan, putting it into action, and raising enough funding to get your idea off the ground. However, the hard work isn’t over. In fact, you have far to go. While it might be hard to figure out exactly what steps to take to build your business, you are not in it alone. Here we’ll cover 5 principles you can apply to help make your small business a success:   

Hire Carefully

The people you hire now will have a lasting impact on your company. From your company culture to the reputation you build, your employees represent your business both internally and externally. Odds are pretty good that your first employee will be someone you know well. However, when you start expanding to new candidates, there are a few hiring principles you should keep in mind: 

  • DO ask detailed interview questions—this will help you both determine whether they’re a good fit  
  • DO request work samples if they’re relevant—this is the best way to gauge their skill level   
  • DO perform a background check before you actually hire someone—you can never be too careful 
  • DON’T hire just for the sake of hiring—build your team as your necessity arises  
  • DON’T bring every person in for an interview—narrow down candidates with phone interviews first
  • DON’T forgo a formal hiring process just because they’re a referral—it could come back to haunt you

One of the most important factors to consider when hiring is our budget. Hiring is one of the biggest expenses your company will face and should always be budgeted for appropriately. 

Automate What You Can

Time wasted is money lost, especially when you’re operating on the limited resources of a startup. Working smart now will help you grow your business faster so don’t overlook the value of the many valuable tools at your fingertips

While you might think you’re at a disadvantage because you have a niche business, that isn’t the case at all. In fact there are plenty of tech solutions designed for every aspect of running your business, no matter your industry. Here are just a few examples of the exciting tools you can use to make the ins and outs of operating a business run smoother: 

While you might have to spend a little money up front, these solutions will undoubtedly prove their worth in no time as you’re able to spend more and more of your time on the most demanding aspects of your business. 

Continuously Monitor Your Finances 

The main culprit of small business failure is financial issues. So, how can you prevent your company from becoming another statistic? The key is carefully monitoring your finances on a regular basis. If you’re not familiar with business finances, these are the key things you need to keep in mind: 

  • Keep your bookkeeping up to date 
  • Monitor your cash flow on a monthly basis (at the very least)
  • Have a separate account for personal and business finances 
  • Have a good invoicing system in place to make sure payments don’t fall through the cracks 
  • Set aside money for tax payments 
  • Hire a professional bookkeeper and accountant when you can 

These are just a few starting points. However, it’s highly recommended that you educate yourself about best business finance practices if you haven’t already. 

Invest in Marketing 

One of the biggest mistakes startup owners make is underestimating the importance of marketing. Whether you’re running a neighborhood bakery or an online store, funding a marketing strategy is essential to the success of your business. 

First things first, you need a website. If you can’t create one yourself, hire someone who can help you, and fast. Next, you want to find an SEO company who can help you decide how to best spread the word about your business online. And finally, if you’re primarily focused on providing services to your local area, spend any time can networking and building buzz about your business in the community—this can include sponsoring teams, tabling at local events, or working out an exchange with another business to help promote one another.  

Prioritize Client Relationships 

Your reputation can make or break your business, which is why it’s critical to nurture customer relationships and always strive to provide the best possible experience, whether that’s in person or online. Providing thorough training for employees, emphasizing the value of customer experience, and investing aspects that will improve your products or services will help you establish a loyal customer base. You should also take the time to respond to reviews, both good and bad, and strive to take all feedback with poise. Showing your customers that you want to make them happy will have them coming back. 

While making your startup a success is much more complex than just these five steps, these are a great place to get you on the right track. 

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