Business Must Haves for Success

┬áStarting a business is very scary, especially if it’s the first time you are venturing into the corporate world. In order for your business to run smoothly and flourish, you must have certain plans and systems in place to enable this.

A business plan is exactly what the name implies, a plan for your business. A business plan seems antiquated since it has mainly been used to obtain funding from financial institutions, but it has other uses too. A business plan includes your business mission statements and your goals for the next three, five and ten years of the business. Setting dates and goals is a great way to gauge how well your business is doing, as you can review the “health” of the business at the end of the year to see how much closer to your goals you are. Being able to see what has been achieved lets you put your efforts into the goals you have not met yet. Putting your goals and business expectations down on paper enables accountability from you in ensuring the goals are achieved.

In today’s society, any business that does not have a marketing/branding plan is setting itself up for failure. Social media has transformed marketing, as it is easy to market a business to the local community, as well as internationally, in a matter of seconds for free. Word of mouth about a business can spread like wildfire in a matter of seconds, so taking the time out to formulate a strategy on how the business will be marketed is imperative. Using the many avenues available to market your business requires a plan, especially if you run a one man show because marketing/branding can take up a lot of your time allowing other areas of your business to become neglected.

An operations manual is the management bible for the business. It states the day to day activities, job descriptions for all employees, customer service procedures, etc. This manual allows for the business to flow smoothly whether you are present physically at the business or not. Your employees will be able to handle what needs to be done without being told what to do because it is already in writing. Even if you are the only employee of the business, having down in writing what needs to be done helps you stay on track with the business activities. Being the only for the business can be overwhelming and you can easily neglect the biggest task as an employee you have, taking care of yourself. Knowing when and how to do things sets up limits on the amount of time and activities you dedicate for the business. It is easy to overlook things that need to get done, especially when you are the accountant, secretary, manager, janitor and receptionist, all at the same time, for the business.

Last but not least is a continuity plan, which is often overlooked, but it is essential for all businesses, yes, ALL. A continuity plan is a plan that states how certain situations are handled within the business. These situations can include customer service issues like problem clients, customer disputes and things of that such. Also super important to include is how maters will be handled before, during and after a natural disaster. I learned this lesson after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when my house was damaged and subsequently looted when the National Guard closed the street off until the area was safe to walk through. My brand new computer was stolen with all of my business records. I had hard copies of the documents, but the water damaged those too. I lost over $50,000.00 on my lost records alone because I did not have a plan for the business during a hurricane. Lesson learned and now I beg everyone to ensure they have a continuity plan in place covering all situations, probable or not.

Planning is essential for things to run smoothly in life, and in business it is no different. We have calendars and planners to help keep us organized and on track, and all businesses should have these plans/manual so they can also stay on a success track. Businesses run smoothly and succeed when systems are in place and these plans are the basic systems all businesses need. If you need assistance in one or more of these plans, please feel free to CONTACT ME.