When you’re first getting your business off the ground, it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday tasks that need your immediate attention. But, prioritizing your to-do list (check out this article if you have yet to master this) in a way that leaves time for action items that may not need immediate attention, but still provide long-term value, will help you establish your business.
These may differ based on your industry, how far along your business is, or how many people you’ve got on your team. From our experience, investing time in these three things can improve the productivity and strategy of any business:
No matter what your product or service is, you need content—it’s essential for any type of marketing or communications effort.
Content, when done right, can help legitimize your business, acquire customers, and solidify your brand identity. If you have the resources to pay for a content strategist, by all means hire one. If not, start by writing your own most essential materials.
Google can be your best resource for finding strategies and best practices when it comes to email subject lines, newsletter topics, blog structure, etc. If you haven’t put much thought into creating content yet, or even if you have a well-established content strategy, think about what you want to convey with your brand. Try asking the following questions:
- Am I using the most effective platform to communicate with customers?
- Does the tone of my content resonate with customers and leave them wanting more?
- Does my content reflect the brand identity I’m trying to establish?
- Am I looking for ways to be innovative with my content in order to grab customers’ attention?
- Does my content sound professional and clearly communicate what customers need to know?
- How can I use analytics to better evaluate the effectiveness of my content?
Honestly, you can’t afford NOT to do financial forecasting. You not only need to know where your money is going now, but where your company will be positioned financially in the future. This will impact nearly every business decision you and your team makes.
Budget out how much money you are going to need over the next six months. Then, add a little bit extra. You never know how what unexpected expenses might come up. Still have some wiggle room? Strategize where you can invest this money and how it can contribute to the growth of your business. This might be a good time for you to create some short- and long-term goals for your business.
For example, our business development team wanted to invest more time and money into partnerships that would offer our clients more value and options when it comes to their funding. In order to accomplish this goal, we had to plan for the incoming lead volume, create content to reach out to these potential partners, draft the necessary legal documents, and research which businesses would be best for our customers in combination with our services. Each of these short-term goals took time and money, and we had to forecast how those expenses would affect our finances in the long-term.
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to bring a buddy on board and get caught up in the exciting startup world, completely forgetting about fundamental HR processes that are well-established in the corporate world. This may not be a big deal for your first few employees, but as your company grows, putting basic HR processes in place will mean less headaches for everyone.
Earlier at Fundwise, there were times when we’d hire new people but didn’t have a formal welcome or training packets in place. We knew we needed an organized system that made new employees feel comfortable and prepared.
Now, each employee has instant access to a training portal, complete with welcome videos and an overview of how our business works. When they fill out their tax and payroll information, they receive an official welcome packet and get their picture taken for our website. Help your employees get off to a good start, and make sure you’re keeping track of legal and compliance documents, by implementing a few basic HR policies. Your employees will thank you!
We chose three very different categories to focus on for this post in order to get you thinking about what areas your business could use a little TLC. Choose at least one to adapt to your current business needs, and you’ll be amazed at how other processes fall into place as a result.