Building Your Briefcase: Seven Strategies New Business Owners Should Always Carry With Them

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Starting a new business always comes with a great deal of risk and personal liability. But the personal satisfaction of working for yourself, and the potential financial rewards you might reap, revs the start-up engine forward. Below are the tools you should always have at your disposal on the path to a successful, long-term small business.

1. Personal Capital- A small business owner has to create a business that is self-sustaining. In order to gain investor confidence, you must build a company that has a client base and earnings that prove it can function on its own. Investors help a company expand more quickly while making a profit off its growth. You must present them with a business plan that shows your own financial investments have already paid off. Experienced investors will only take a chance on a product or service that sells. Ultimately, they will not take a risk until you do.

2. A Solid List of Contacts – Start Local A small business must be built with a target consumer base in mind. The best way to build a client list is to start in the community in which you live. Get involved in recreational and volunteer activities in your area so that your friends can be your first clients. From there you can generate a positive reputation that will help you expand your list outward.

3. Appropriate Technology and Tools. Technology is key to staying organized and maintaining proper bookwork. Going digital with your business from its inception is crucial because it helps you reduce costs and keep your business organized. In addition, setting up a website is incredibly important because the internet is where consumers will go first to look for goods and service providers within your niche market. Developing a social media presence is also critical to staying relevant because newsfeeds on outlets like Twitter and Facebook are quickly becoming many people’s major source of news. Advertising placed there will maximize visibility.

4. A Healthy Snack- Your company is only as good as its base. Maintaining healthy habits of nutrition, exercise, and regular sleep will enable you to successfully carry out a business plan that depends on you. It may seem worthwhile to burn the midnight oil in the short term, but those sacrifices may lead to diminished productivity over time. Encourage your team to do the same, and everyone will be more efficient, effective communicators.

5. A Mirror- Keeping your ego in check is a fundamental part of running a financially efficient business. Be honest with yourself about whether certain expenses, like renting a luxurious office downtown or buying 5,000 laminated business cards, are actually necessary. You can still take pride in your new company while living within your means. Starting out on a smaller scale will cut costs dramatically and allow you to more easily recover from early financial setbacks.

6. A Fine-Tooth Comb- Don’t be afraid to be selective in hiring your employees. Your staff will ultimately be most cost effective if you hire only a few workers whose skills are extremely well suited to your specific business.

7. A Calendar- Staying organized is your best defense against having to pay penalties or getting into legal trouble. Pay your taxes and bills as early as possible to maintain employee confidence and preserve your company’s reputation. Put all agreements like contracts and company regulations in writing and get receipts for all of your transactions so you can prove if need be that all of your actions have been legally sound. Incorporating your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) also might be a good idea – discuss these things with a trusted attorney.

Creating your own company is an opportunity for you to pursue an exhilarating career. Taking the first leap into working for yourself is often the biggest hurtle. With these tools in your briefcase, you can build a strong foundation for your business that can weather the storm of a competitive marketplace.

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