Ten essential steps for running a successful business
By Beate Chelette
The question came up recently during a private coaching session with a client. What’s the right way to set up a business, she asked. And what will make it the most efficient? I happen to love questions like this because business is in my blood and helping people become successful is my passion and profession. My answers to my client—and to you–are based on my own personal and professional experiences in setting up companies, and what has worked for me.
Building a business is like building a house. Many steps are involved and it’s time consuming and costly. First, you have to have the right location, and then you design what your house should look like. It has to be functional but also have the right feel and vibe that represents your personality.
Second, decide on the type of materials and furnishings you want. Do you need (and can you afford) the best of the best or are medium-range things fine for you? Or are you going for cheap? Third, and most important, you have to build your house on a solid foundation, because even the most charming and best-designed home can crack or collapse with a shaky foundation.
Ten Essentials For Success
- Get a size too big. When creating your business, it’s crucial that you get everything a size too big, otherwise you have no room to grow. If you get a studio or office space, or a computer, camera, or any business system, only invest in things that have a greater capacity than what you need at the moment. It is smarter and cheaper to grow into something versus outgrowing your system within a year or two and then having to redo the entire thing again.
- A good accounting system. I recommend MYOB or QuickBooks Pro. Anything more simplified, forget it. Have a professional set up the shell of your line items, vendors, billing, banking, etc. Under no circumstances should anyone without accounting training set up your books. Violate this tip at your own peril!
- A good bookkeeper. I am good at numbers but it is not a good use of my time. Find someone who is licensed or trained on the accounting system you are using.
- Good technology. Don’t skimp on good equipment. Each item you need to get your job done right is an investment as well as an asset, so treat them as such.
- A good industry lawyer. Someone who has been in your industry for years and will give you standard agreements written long before you entered the game.
- A brilliant IT/tech person. You should not design your own website. It will show! Leave that to the pros.
- A reliable assistant, virtual or otherwise, to help you with day-to-day tasks.
- A good graphic designer who can do everything: web layouts, power points, visuals, logos, newsletter designs.
- A good writer. I have a proofreader and two writers for my blog and all my work because I know presenting a professional image is essential if you want to be taken seriously in business.
- A consultant, coach or business adviser. You need an independent eye to review your business plan and ask the tough questions. Hire people who are better than you in certain areas so you get another perspective.
I admit it; it’s a Catch 22. You can’t afford all of this until you make money and yet you can’t make money unless or until you have most of this in place. The key is to enlist the help of good support people at a decent rate. Your time is best spent on finding clients, schmoozing, and producing the best product or service you can.
Very sound advice, thank you Beate for this list!
Great tips, Beate, thanks!
Good list. I would add: 11. Consistent and efficient marketing and networking program with an accompanying app to help keep you organized. 12. A good app (perhaps the same one as in 11) to help manage projects from pending through to invoicing and completion (getting paid). I feel I have a good handle on the first 10 with the exception of 7. I don’t have anyone on my staff or retainer to help with day-to-day operations. I am a one person shop. I am having trouble justifying adding a person because I can’t calculate the payback.