Starting your own business is a mammoth task and it can be hard to know where to start in the initial stages. To help guide you in the right direction, we put together 12 things to do in the first three months of starting your business.
1. Have a detailed plan
The most important task to complete in the first stages of starting a business is making sure you have a solid plan of what you aim to do in the first three months. Within this document, consider what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. Nick Segrue, co-founder and CEO of CaretoShare discussed the importance of planning;
“Before doing anything, map out what you want to achieve for the business in the first 3 months. [… ] Having this displayed in front of you visually and time managed for each task will help you not to be overwhelmed by all that you have to do and with any business, there will be an awful lot of work when starting out!”
2. Build your team
Arguably the most important thing to do in the first three months of starting a business is finding the right people to work with you. Brian Condenanza gave his advice on what to look out for;
“I’d recommend focussing in three things: customer experience, sales & marketing/branding. Sounds simple but these three covered is more than what most businesses actually care about, so that should provide your customers a great experience that you and your team will enjoy too.”
Select people that you get on well with and are confident can do the job well. You don’t often get to choose who you work with so make the most of this opportunity!
3. Record everything
Keeping accurate records is a fantastic way to stay organised and you will undoubtedly thank yourself for it in the future! Edward Poland from Hire Space spoke to us about the importance of recording the things you do in the first three months of starting your business.
“Record everything you do – whether it’s the outcome of early sales calls, quotes from customers, web traffic from a particular campaign you run. Everything in the early stages will be feed into the story you tell about your business in its nascent stages, whether that’s to potential investors, target clients, the media or anyone else who can help grow your business. Record it and remember it, no matter how small it seems at the time.”
It is also important to get into the habit of keeping hold of receipts and start tracking your business expenses, as you will need these at a later date.
4. Network, network, network
Request to speak to professionals in your field, tell everyone who will listen about your new venture and accept every invitation you can. You never know who might give you some helpful info or introduce you to a valuable contact. Louisa Stockley of Compound Eye shared her thoughts on new businesses;
“No matter what industry they operate in, I think the most important they need to do in the first three months is network and build up contacts. At this critical time when they’re time-rich and cash-poor, they need to introduce themselves to as many people as possible.”
5. Register on Google Places
Google Places is the information that a search engine shows when people search for your business. This can include useful information such as your address, opening times, images and reviews. We spoke to Jodie Cook of JC Social Media who shared her advice on those first few months.
“Get yourself on Google places, so that you start appearing in local searches for your products or services. Google is favouring local results in searches now more than ever.”
Having a great Google Places listing is a brilliant way to get your business seen by local customers. You can get yourself set up in just a few minutes by visiting Google Places and clicking ‘Start Now’.
6. Carry business cards
It is important to be prepared by always having business cards on you. However, remember not to force them on people! Only give your card to someone if the situation calls for it. You can fully design your business card online or choose from one of our pre-paid templates. Why not browse our other branded stationery while you’re there?
7. Ask your customers for reviews or testimonials
Make the most of your new clientele and get them to leave you some feedback. If there are any negative points, now is the time for you to grow and fix any mistakes. Alternatively, if all is positive, publish it on your website & link to it on social media. People love to be reassured by a helpful review.
8. Start building an email list
Once you have those first few customers, see if you can get hold of their email addresses so you can keep in touch with your latest news and offers. Ensure you build positive relationships with these customers and they will be more likely to come back or tell their friends and family about you.
“Begin capturing the email addresses of your earliest supporters so you can contact them with your latest offers, updates and new releases. Nurture these relationships – they will become superfans who enthusiastically champion your business for you.”
Laura Robinson of Worditude
9. Establish yourself on social media
Blogs and social media are an excellent way to build your brand and connect with potential and existing customers. We spoke to Kim Knight about her experiences;
“[…] create a space that’s about your business and services. Join the social media wave. Before I published my first book I never, and I mean never! Used any form of social media. As a business, you’re missing out on establishing yourself if you don’t. How will people know about you if they don’t know where to find you? Tweet, blog, post your way to building a following who could be potential customers, and marketers of your service.”
Being active on social media will also allow you to gain valuable customer insights and see what your competitors are up to.
10. Surround yourself with influential people
Starting a business is an incredibly challenging thing to do and you will undoubtedly experience times of difficulty. To help you keep a positive attitude, surround yourself with the right people. Be it friends, family or people in the industry that you look up to. If there is a public figure that you admire, why not take time to read their books or follow their social media channels for some daily inspiration? Nikki Gentry of My Dreamlines took this step very seriously;
“My success came from surrounding myself with solid mentors and vendors. I acquired 14 mentors within the first 2-3 months. My mentors ranged from a life coach, health coach, financial adviser, brick and mortar owner, online owner, etc. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own and I knew humility would be key here. I also surrounded myself with amazing vendors to help me out. Cost was a huge factor, so my online overhead cost is very low, while still working with solid vendors.“
Whatever you need advice on or assistance with, there will be someone that specialises in this subject. Reach out and see what help you can get – there’s no harm in asking!
11. Stick to your vision
It is easy to veer away from your original business plan if you don’t see it working straight away. However, being clear on exactly what you want to achieve will make you more likely to succeed. Peter James Lovisek, CEO of Fossil Realm spoke to us about the importance of sticking to your plan;
“At the outset of your venture one key strategy is to relentlessly stick to your brand vision. This will set the stage for future development and steer you in the right direction: you’ll be lean in all aspects of marketing, build lasting relationships with customers, and ultimately have a better shot at growing quickly!”
12. Generate Sales
This may seem like an obvious point, but generating sales in the first three months is vital. If you find that your sales are worryingly low, it is important to take time to reassess and correct any mistakes you might be making. Huib Maat of Pairfum shared his advice on the subject;
“Our advice to new businesses would be to establish ‘routes to market’, i.e. sales channels, as quickly as possible and to generate the first sales. […] One of the marks of successful entrepreneurs is that they realise their mistakes quickly and pursue more prosperous opportunities instead. A mistake is not making a mistake but failing to correct it.”
In summary, the first three months of starting your business are when you need to get yourself organised. Write a business plan, record everything you do and network like crazy! It is also important to stick to your goal and surround yourself with positive people who will keep you motivated.
Do you have any tips for new entrepreneurs? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!