Organizing Your Startup Business
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In my post, Are you in it for the long haul?, I offered five strategies to position your business for long-term success. For more on this subject, I’m pleased to welcome Savannah Hemmings, who shares four important aspects of planning your startup business.
Every month, more than half a million new small businesses open their doors. However, many of them never survive past the one- or two-year mark. It isn’t that their owners didn’t have passion or vision; it’s because they didn’t have a step-by-step plan to succeed. Success in a small business takes serious organization, especially in the start-up phase. Even if you have already opened your professional organizing company, you can benefit from taking a look at these organizational methods to stay afloat.
#1: Plan for Your Cash Flow Realities
Many startups can’t keep going because their owners didn’t plan for cash flow. It’s important to understand that when you first begin your business, even if it’s only you working from a well-organized desk at home, you cannot expect to make a profit right away. Most businesses don’t become profitable for quite a while.
This means you have to be able to support your business with cash from another source during that period. For instance, you may want to take out a loan, ask family or friends for loans (always write up the terms of the agreed-upon payback period to avoid problems down the road), tap into your personal savings or take another money-seeking route.
#2: Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
Your organizing business requires that you have the best tools to meet – and hopefully exceed – your goals, as well as the expectations of your clientele. For professional organizers, this usually comes down to investing in the right types of software packages. There are tons of software options in the cyber universe and all are vying for your dollars. Yet, it’s important to be picky.
Ask yourself what you really need to wow your clients. As an example, you may want to set yourself apart from the competition by offering before-and-after reports to customers. This helps them see what has been accomplished, and also keeps everyone on the same page. Customized reporting tools of this type are not free, but can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
#3: Know Your Target Market
While this might seem like an obvious consideration, many startups never take the time to figure out whom they are going to target for their services. As a professional organizer, you probably assume that everyone can use your assistance. Unfortunately, “everyone” is not a succinct target market! Instead, sit down and literally write out the specific types of people you want as clientele.
For example, you may want to target busy moms and dads who need organizational help at home so they have more time to spend with their families. On the other hand, you may have a desire to help antique store owners categorize and sell their wares. Knowing your target market will help you devise more precise marketing plans.
#4: Develop Your Marketing and Sales Strategies
You can’t just pick up the phone and start cold-calling prospects without a script in hand and a route to follow. It’s simply a bad business practice and will leave you spinning your proverbial wheels. Spend hours creating what is commonly called a sales funnel.
This is a pathway that you control to get people from unqualified prospects to actual buyers of your services. Be certain you include online sales strategies as part of your sales funnel – social media, blogging and geo-targeted web advertisements are all excellent methods of attracting individuals to your startup.
By using your natural ability to understand the value of organizing, you can organize your startup so that it has a better than average chance of succeeding. The more time you take upfront, the more likely you will be able to steer the future of the business. Yes, there will be roadblocks along the way, but with a sturdy foundation, you’ll be able to navigate them more effectively.
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