3 Tips to Start Your Business Year Off Smart

Tips to Help You Launch Your Dream Business in 2021

3 Tips to Start Your Business Year Off Smart

  • As 2020 winds down, now is a great time to look to 2021 to launch your business.
  • Careful consideration of your finances, business plan and customer base now can lead to benefits in the future.
  • Don't let the shared tragedy and hardship of 2020 sour your outlook about starting a new business in 2021.
  • This article is for any small business-minded entrepreneur looking to start a new venture in 2021.

As this unbelievably eventful year comes to a close, it's natural to wonder if 2021 will prove to be a more reasonable 365 days.

If you've spent this time of quarantine and remote working dreaming about starting a new business, the good news is there are things you can do today to turn your wishful thinking into a reality in the new year.

We at Business News Daily spoke with several experts, including an author, a successful business leader and an entrepreneur. Your budding business idea can flourish in 2021 by following five tips that center on careful planning, shrewd financial moves and comprehensive risk assessments.

1. Create a lean, yet solid business plan

If there's anything that 2020 has taught us, it's to expect the unexpected. Before March, no one could have predicted that a major pandemic would have turned the entire workforce, and how it operates, upside down.

And while scores of businesses were left in a worse spot than they were just a year prior as a result, Uri Adoni, author of The Unstoppable Startup: Mastering Israel's Secret Rules of Chutzpah, believes the past year has shown that fledgling small businesses need to “think a camel.

” He said camels are built to survive in some of the toughest climates on the planet.

“They are resilient and can survive for many weeks without food or water, still running fast when needed,” Adoni told Business News Daily. “Be cash-flow sensitive, have a lean organization, create a realistic and conservative operational budget, and make sure you don't deviate from it.”

As a former partner at Jerusalem Venture Partners and the former CEO of Microsoft Networks Israel, Adoni advised entrepreneurs to create – and stick to – a business plan. Drawing up a smart business plan is not only beneficial to how your business operates, but it can make it easier to obtain bank loans, it helps you set reasonable milestones and attract investors.

“Potential investors will want to see that you have a solid plan, that you know how to execute it in the best way, that you can outperform your competitors, that you manage your cash cautiously and wisely, and that you don't make any risky long-term financial commitments,” Adoni said.

Key takeaway: By creating a cohesive business plan now, you can start 2021 with a clear road map to guide your new venture's path through the first few months and beyond.

2. Simplify your life, and save up

Many small business owners try to separate their personal lives from their new company.

And while there are business structures that do that from a legal perspective, once you start a new business, it becomes a major part of your life.

Its costs are your costs, its hurdles are your hurdles, and its successes are your successes, regardless of whether you're a sole proprietor or the owner of a C corporation.

Tracy Timm, founder of The Nth Degree Career Academy and former human capital advisor, said simplifying your life should be a major goal as you head into the new year. One way to do that, she said, is to trim your personal budget.

“Stash away every spare dollar,” said Timm. “Stop dining out as often, or ever. Ditch the seven extra streaming services. Make your own coffee. You see where this is going? The simpler your life is, the more time, money and energy you'll have to dedicate to starting your dream business.”

Having started her own business while working a Dallas coffee shop, Timm said she would bring coffee she brewed at home to her job to save money. Her money-saving efforts extended to lunch and dinner every day, all so she could put those funds into her dream business.

“Every spare dollar I had went back into my business so I could give it the best chance of being the most successful,” Timm said. “If you're independently wealthy or significantly well financed, you can ignore this advice when it comes to money. But I would still heed this sentiment when it comes to your other commitments and responsibilities.”

Going into 2021, you should “make launching this business your No. 1 priority.”

“As much as possible, your mental and physical energy should be going to getting this baby off the ground,” she said. “Simplify your life, and your business will have its best chance.”

Key takeaway: Cutting costs and earmarking your savings to fund your business is a good way to kickstart your efforts in the new year.

While it's great to proactively establish a business plan and begin saving money now, it's also important to take a look back at your near financial past. Knowing how much money you've historically had coming in and going out is a great way to determine how your money flows, how you handle your funds, and where you can improve.

“Deeply understand your cash flow, especially in the early years,” said Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage. “Set goals, create budgets, and have funds allocated for unexpected costs.”

In addition to cash flow, Petralia says data collection could also help ensure that your business is on the right track from the get-go. For example, if you don't “solve for the customer,” which Petralia says is a core tenet at Kabbage, then you run the risk of not fostering a good environment for business growth.

“We've found that if you ensure every decision and product feature is rooted in the benefit of the customer – instead of you, your profits or prospects – then growth will take care of itself,” she said. “This continues to prove true, and I strongly encourage companies to approach business the same.”

Key takeaway: Data collection can illuminate what your customers' needs are and how your new venture can best serve customers. By focusing on solving customers' problems, your business in a strong position to grow.

Risk is an inherent part of starting a small business. Depending on how you structure your company, you may be held liable for everything that goes wrong within the company. That can potentially put your personal finances and assets in jeopardy. You can take steps to make sure you're ready for any potential issues that come up.

Andrea Sager, a small business attorney and serial entrepreneur, said regardless of what stage of business you're in or how much money you're making, never overlook the potential risks – and their consequences – facing you and your business.

“If you have a business, you're leaving yourself open to many risks, and you have to take the necessary precautions to ensure you don't get sued,” Sager said.

Sager recommended that new business owners hire a lawyer or legal team, draw up customer contracts or waivers if needed, and set up the business so the personal risk you're taking on is mitigated. Legal issues aren't something you can handle as a layman, so seek help if necessary.

“Speak with a small business attorney prior to starting your business, just so you are aware of the specific risks involved with your business,” Sager said.

Key takeaway: Risks are unavoidable when starting a new business. Discuss your plans with a lawyer, and draw up any necessary legal plans ahead of time.

5. It's OK to be hopeful about 2021

It's easy to look back on the last year and wonder if 2021 will be any better. After all, scores of small businesses will ly never come back because of the pandemic. While your trepidation is justified, nearly everyone we spoke with was optimistic for the coming year.

For Timm, who started her business after being fired from a job she didn't , there's no better time than a moment of personal hardship, since it often serves as a catalyst for pushing for success.

“While we all know intellectually that a new calendar year is an arbitrary point in time and nothing will fundamentally change, other than the number we write on the date, there's something about a new year that inspires hope and gives us the freedom to imagine that life can and will be different or change for the better,” Timm said. “Honestly, I think there's no better time to start a business than when you've experienced a significant setback or experienced a lifetime low.”

Sager said 2021 is the perfect time to start a dream business.

“So many people are in limbo not knowing whether they're going to have a job or not, so starting the new business on the side while having a steady income stream is an ideal situation,” she said.

Others feel that there's no such thing as a bad time to start a small business – at least when it comes to a collectively bad year 2020. As Adoni points out, some of the largest companies making headlines today, such as Uber, Slack and Airbnb, started in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. However, he pointed out that a shared tragedy doesn't inherently equate to success.

“The saying that every crisis brings new opportunities is true and will ly be proven during the post-COVID era,” he said. “There are new needs that have emerged, old solutions that are no longer relevant, and new companies and solutions to be introduced.”

Key takeaway: While 2020 has been a highly unusual year, don't be deterred from launching your dream business. With the right effort, you can make 2021 the start of a successful new beginning.

Источник: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15949-tips-to-launch-dream-business.html

5 Tips for Success in Starting a Small Business

3 Tips to Start Your Business Year Off Smart

Starting a small business is a massive but rewarding undertaking. Part of starting a small business is doing things in a way that makes the most sense to you, but a little guidance can help as well. Consider these tips for starting your own company and incorporate them as needed:

1. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses

Every small business owner has certain skills, abilities, knowledge and experience that give them an edge when it comes time to build up a business and start operating it. However, no small business owner is so adept that they can be an expert in every single process related to developing a new company.

While you’ll have to wear a lot of different hats, especially during the business’s earliest stages, don’t place too much of a burden on yourself for too long or expect yourself to dive into a highly complicated task with no prior training. Develop a strong understanding of your skills and weaknesses so you know where to best focus your attention.

Don’t be afraid to learn how to handle new responsibilities and workloads – it’s essentially a requirement for growing small businesses. You also shouldn’t shy away from working with business partners, family members, employees, independent contractors and others to address major needs and make sure important concerns are handled successfully.

2. Start with a simple business plan and grow it as needed

One of the first things you should do as a small business owner is develop a business plan.

It’s vital that you develop this essential document to steer future work and hold yourself accountable, but it’s also important to not go too in-depth during the early stages of developing your concept.

ABC News contributor Tory Johnson said a simple business plan is often the best approach when in the beginning stages of developing your organization.

A shorter plan, about one page or 500-600 words, can give you direction without requiring you to answer questions that won’t have solutions presented until later on in the process. Johnson suggested focusing on your products or services, target market and customers, basic prices and costs and the work needed to turn the concept into a reality.

As work progresses and your idea moves closer to actual operations, you can expand your business plan. Over time, include more accurate estimates, actual costs, longer-reaching projections, mission statement, company summary and other elements commonly seen in fully developed documents.

3. Focus on something you have a passion for

Having a passion for something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your all-time favorite activity or type of business. It does mean that you won’t quickly grow tired of running that type of business, that parts of it appeal to you and, ideally, you can use some combination of existing knowledge or skills related to parts or all of the operation to your advantage.

Finding an existing need and targeting it is a major element of starting a successful small business, whether it’s providing accounting services to other companies or setting up a bakery. Pairing that need with something that excites, interests and motivates you can lead to substantial development and returns.

This piece of advice is relatively basic and most useful when deciding what type of business to start as opposed to getting a specific concept off the ground. Focus on your passion early on and pair it with a strong business plan to give yourself the best chance of crafting an enduring and popular organization.

4. Understand your target customers and existing market

It’s possible to develop an excellent business concept and deploy it in the wrong area.

That’s why it’s important to understand the area in which you want to start your small business as well as your target customers.

An idea that could work out very well in a large, densely populated area simply may not get the amount of foot traffic or number of customers it needs in an area with fewer residents.

Assessing the market for your products or services, seeking out the presence of potential competitors and conducting an assessment of how your business will hypothetically perform can all move your idea in the right direction.

You can also look to competitors and similar businesses for ideas and guidance, although indirectly. Visiting their stores, looking at their websites and marketing materials and other intelligence-gathering initiatives can help you fill in pieces of the puzzle.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Even when a business is on the right track, unexpected issues and chances for growth and improvement can quickly pop up. Addressing these problems and opportunities is critical for long-term stability and prosperity.

As a small business owner, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek out alternative business financing in the form of a small business loan from National Funding.

Our fast and easy application process can give your business a quick decision and the funds you need in just days.

Источник: https://www.nationalfunding.com/blog/5-leading-tips-for-starting-a-successful-small-business/

5 Tips for Setting Smart Goals in Your Business Plan – business.com

3 Tips to Start Your Business Year Off Smart

When setting goals, if we choose SMART goals, they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based.

This means the goals are very clear and easily understood.

Both in our personal lives and business career, it is important to have goals, because without goals, we are not in charge. This often means that other people will set goals for us, or worse, we will drift aimlessly along. Follow our 5 tips for setting SMART goals. Isn’t setting SMART goals a smart idea?

1. Specific

A specific goal clearly states what is to be achieved, by whom, where and when it is to be achieved and sometimes why.

Non-SMART goal: Market my business in Toronto

SMART goal: Start a monthly networking group for women on event planning in Toronto with a monthly attendance goal of 20 women, with 2 per month signed up for my “How to plan your wedding without stress workshop”.(Wedding Planner)

2. Measurable

Measuring the goal is applicable both to the end results and the milestones along the way. The measurement helps to assess if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. It answers the questions, how much, how often, how many?

For example, if your goal is to reach sales of $96,000/year, your milestones could be sales of $8,000/month. By having a process to focus on achieving $8,000/month, it will add up to $96,000/year. The goal of $8,000/month is easier to attain, because there could be multiple ways of getting to this goal and it is less stressful to think in smaller amounts.

What get measured get done. Therefore if you measure you will focus to achieve the goal. One good way to measure is to have a dashboard measurement by month. For example:

Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 6 month Total

Sales 6,500 7,500 9,000 8,500 8,500 8,000 48,000

Quotes over $1,000 5 5 5 5 5 5

Quotes to Sales 45% 50% 55% 55% 55% 55%

3. Attainable

When setting your goals, ensure that they are achievable. If you believe yourself that you can reach the goal, it is more ly you will be to get there. It is a mistake to put out goals that are unreachable , because you are setting yourself up for failure from the very beginning. Don’t let others set your goals.

This is also true with teams. If the goals that are being set are unrealistic, you won’t get the buy-in from the people you are setting the goals for.

With teams, you want them to share in their goal setting so that they contribute to the attainability and own the goal.

You can tie a performance incentive to the goal, so that your team knows you are serious about their goals and want them to stretch themselves to reach the target.

4. Relevant

When setting goals they fall into long and short term. Understanding how these fit into your organizational or personal vision, mission and purpose is important.

It is tempting to set a goal because it is either easy or sounds great, only to find out later that it has no long term importance to what you want to achieve as an individual or an organization.

5. Time based

This ensures that you put a time-frame to your goals. This can be a great motivator and shouldn’t be seen as a detractor.

If for example, you want to run a marathon in one year, then this long term goal can be achieved by concentrating on the system that will get you to run the marathon in one year.

This could be going to the Running Room 2x week, for 3 months, 3x week for 6 months, working up to a ½ marathon at 6 months etc. Gradually you will have achieved these short term time based goals which all add up to running the marathon in one year.

This can also help you avoid procrastination because you know you will reach your goal if you stick to your process.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

If you find yourself unable to set a SMART goal, it is usually because that your future plans are not clear enough and you need to do more work to clarify exactly where you want to go within a set time period. Don’t try to skip the process of SMART goal setting and just “go for it”, without analyzing your goals and match them to your vision.

Doing this exercise carefully at the beginning will save you lots of time and disappointment at a later stage and could help you avoid making costly mistakes.

What are your goals? Writing them down, helps clarify your thinking. Can you stretch yourself both personally and in your business by setting three goals in each area?

Personal Goals

Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

Business/Career Goals

Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

A Systems Focus Helps You Reach Your Goals

Once you have set a goal, find a way to develop a system to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to write a book in one year and you are not an author, that goal might be overwhelming.

Instead, why not try writing 250 words per day. Don’t agonize over what you are writing, just write.

At that rate if you write 5 days per week (240 days/year) you will have 60,000 words in a year, which is approximately a 200 page paperback in 1.5 spacing.

The same happens for the entrepreneur. Set the goal, and then find a system to help you reach that goal. Your focus will be on the system and not the goal, but in the end you will reach the goal. In the case of the sales goal, all it may take is consistently achieving 10 quotes per month with a 50% success rate.

Do you have a system to help you reach your goals? Tell us about how you reach your milestones.

Источник: https://www.business.com/articles/5-tips-for-setting-smart-business-goals/

5 tips to achieve your business goals in 2021

3 Tips to Start Your Business Year Off Smart

Setting goals is a foundational step of building your business. Business goals are the motivating force behind successful companies of all sizes. They keep your business moving forward, and without them, you can’t get from where you are now to where you want to be. While most people know the importance of setting goals, achieving them is the hard part.

Other than your business idea, having goals is an essential ingredient in your company’s success. A quick Google search will yield tons of results about goal setting and what the most effective methods are. While there are many goal setting strategies, what they all have in common are long term goals, short term goals, and a roadmap of how to get there.

In this post, we’ll discuss the top five tips on how to set and achieve your business goals for 2021.

1. Learn to set business goals properly

To set a goal, you must first learn proper goal setting. It seems obvious, right? Yet, this is the area where many entrepreneurs get stuck. Without thoughtfully created goals, you run the risk of spinning your wheels and burning out. It’s better to pause and take the time to create your goals rather than rushing into it just to say you did it.

The most well-known method of goal setting is SMART goals. The concept of SMART goals was coined in 1981 by a consultant named George T. Doran. Since then, it’s been used by countless executives and business owners to grow and transform their businesses systematically. To help you get started, here are examples of what SMART goals look .

  • Specific: Vague goals won’t work. Be as specific as possible. A vague goal would be “grow my website traffic.” A specific goal would be “drive traffic to attract 500 unique visitors per month.”
  • Measurable: Your goals should include milestones and metrics. An example of a measurable goal would be “produce two blog posts per week to increase website traffic at a rate of 10% per week.”
  • Attainable: Make sure your goal is realistic. While it’s great to shoot for the stars, seeing results is what will ultimately keep you going. Big long-term goals should involve achievable, shorter-term goals within them, which allow you to see quick wins, keep motivation high, and momentum going.
  • Relevant: Make sure your goal fits with your overall business plan and makes sense for you to go after. For example, you’ve determined that your website is an issue, and it needs to be rebuilt. However, when you look at the cost plus all of the time and resources it takes to build a website from scratch, it may not make sense for your overall business goals. Perhaps editing and optimizing your existing site would be more worthwhile.
  • Time-Based: Your goal should be time-specific and deadline-oriented. Deadlines will allow you to work backward and see how much activity is needed daily to produce a result.

“Studies have shown the most important element of goal setting is not achieving every task exactly as you had imagined (or when), but putting in the work at the beginning to determine and outline your goal. This process of envisioning the steps to get where you want to be helps you define the right path early on, so you don’t waste time aimlessly wandering toward your goal.”

Allison Dundovich, CEO of Bloom Mindfulness

2. Clarify and commit to your business goals

Once you’ve learned to set goals, it’s essential to choose your goal and commit to it. A common mistake is setting too many goals and then completing none of them. Becoming hyper-focused on a goal supercharges results. While there are several areas of your business that may need improvement, it’s crucial only to pursue the most important goals.

  1. Make a list of the areas of your business you’d to improve.
  2. List them in order from the highest importance to least.
  3. Choose the top 2 or 3 goals to focus on and make sure they’re achieved before moving on to the other goals on the list.

After you’ve clarified which goal (or goals) you’ll go after, it’s time to commit. This may seem obvious. If we choose to go after goals, of course, we’re committed, right? Not necessarily. It’s easy to commit to a goal when it’s new and exciting. But when reality sets in, you’ll realize that the day-to-day demands of reaching your goal can be tedious and tiring.

Committing to your goals means sticking with it, even when it’s no longer fun. It means showing up on the days that you don’t “feel” it. It means following through even when your goal has lost its appeal.

When you choose a goal, make the decision that you will continue even when it gets hard. The practice of committing is a valuable life skill that yields success in multiple areas of life, not just business.

“There are four quarters in a basketball game. Look at your business goals the same way.

Surely you have that huge 2020 goal you want to accomplish, but every quarter there needs to be one or two mini-goals that connect to your larger annual goals.

Focus is a superpower, so if you can tap into that superpower of being ultra-focused in accomplishing those goals each quarter, that one-year goal becomes easier to achieve.”

Daniel Blue, President of Quest Education

3. Learn time management

Once you have your goal and the steps it takes to get there, it’s time to get to work. Getting started on your goals requires forethought. Remember, we want to avoid burnout and spinning our wheels on unproductive activities. Time management is necessary to make meaningful progress toward our goals.

The freedom and autonomy you have as a CEO or founder can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have control over your schedules and decisions. On the other hand, you have no one to keep you on track other than yourself.

The antidote to not having guidance is time management. A Google search of time management could lead you down the rabbit hole as this is a hot topic that many entrepreneurs struggle with. Focus and prioritization is especially relevant today with the ever-growing amount of technological distractions.

One of the most well-known time management techniques in business today is called Pareto’s Principle, or the 80/20 rule. Pareto’s Principle states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities.

In other words, if you had a to-do list of ten tasks, two of them will be worth more than the other eight.

The reason why people lose productivity or don’t accomplish their goals is that they procrastinate on the most valuable items and waste time on the less productive tasks.

To put the 80/20 rule into effect with your SMART goals, make a list of tasks that will help you achieve your goal. Then ask yourself, “if I could only accomplish two things today, which ones would make the biggest impact on my goal?” Those tasks then become a priority.

Not only will this help with prioritization, but it can be useful for other areas of your business. For example, many business owners realize that 80% of their business is coming from 20% of their customer base. Recognizing this allows them to double down on the 20% instead of investing time into less lucrative aspects of the business.

“The Power of saying “No.” cannot be underestimated. There simply are not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished, and allowing other people to set your agenda is an awful way to remain productive. Saying “No” to irrelevant tasks that distract from the important priorities in an agenda is the only way to be truly productive.”

David Reischer, Esq. Business Attorney & CEO of LegalAdvice.com

4. Track and measure

Once you’ve set your goals, how will you know you’re on the right track? Right after you set your goals, decide how you’ll measure them. Do not begin to work toward your goals without a tracking technique.

You want to be sure that your output is productive and moving the needle. You cannot be sure of your progress without tracking. You’ll also want this information so that you can repeat your success in the future.

Reaching your goals is an incremental process. It isn’t enough to set a goal and then regroup once it’s been achieved. To make sure you’re headed toward your goal, you must create key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are benchmarks that guide you along. They also enable you to experience little wins on your way to the ultimate goal.

To create KPIs, determine your goal and then reverse engineer the steps it will require. For example, let’s say your goal is to produce $25,000 in revenue per month.

You might determine that you need to meet with ten customers per week to achieve your monthly revenue goal.

To get ten meetings, you’ll need to cold-call or email 65 customers per week to get ten customer meetings. Your KPIs will look this:

  • Goal: $300,000 per year
  • Monthly Revenue: $25,000
  • Weekly Customer Meetings: 10
  • Daily Number of Cold Calls: 13

By looking at the end goal and working backward, you can determine the KPIs you need to achieve it. KPIs will show you where you are in relation to your goal, but they’ll also motivate you.

Science has proven that we feel accomplished when we experience quick wins or check off small goals on our way to bigger ones. When we’re just starting, our goals can seem vast and overwhelming. That’s why it’s more important to focus on incremental KPIs than the end goal.

“To achieve our goals, we implemented a key performance indicator (KPI) system in accordance to each team and their workflows. The KPIs range from project duration to ad revenue. The KPI per team is the most important quantifiable measure of the whole team’s performance.

Since implementing this KPI system, company performance has dramatically improved.

We’ve seen great collaboration within teams, more innovative thinking, a greater work ethic, and improved morale with the increased transparency and being part of a team that is working towards a clear and common goal.”

Kean Graham, CEO & Founder of MonetizeMore

5. Accountability and support

To achieve your business goals, accountability is essential. That’s why it’s so important to involve others in your goal setting process. Whether you post your goals publicly on social media or share them with your team, you must let someone else know what you’re working on.

If it’s not your style to publicly proclaim your goals, an accountability partner allows you to have skin in the game without feeling exposed. The point of letting others know about your goal is to feel as though something is on the line.

If you keep your goals to yourself, it’s easy to let yourself off the hook. When someone else knows about your goals, you’ll feel obligated to follow through and avoid looking bad.

There’s nothing worse than someone asking you about your progress and having to explain that you didn’t put in the work.

“Tips that I use to achieve my business goals are to write them down… but then get an accountability partner and set up weekly calls to make sure I accomplish them. When you have someone asking you about them, you are way more ly to get them completed.”

Bryan Sebring, Owner of Sebring Design Build

Conclusion

Every business has different goals, but all goals must have a framework. Loosely made goals without structure have the lowest probability of being achieved.

Before haphazardly throwing out goals you think will move the needle, pause, and think through a strategy. Your goals must be adequately set, committed to, and measured.

Time management techniques and outside accountability will assist you along the way.

Most importantly, make sure your goals are true to yourself and your business. Your business goals don’t have to be the same as others. Ultimately, you’ll find more success going after goals that truly motivate you.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for relevance. 

Источник: https://www.sage.com/en-us/blog/tips-to-achieve-your-business-goals/

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