In our law office we advise LOTS of startup companies and we are often asked what actions new entrepreneurs can take to avoid some of the early pitfalls or "rookie mistakes" that can seriously hurt your new business venture. These are our 3 favorite tips for new companies.
Tip #1 - Make Sure Your Clients Can Reach You
When was the last time you left a recorded message, and then simply waited around to be called back? The bottom line is that customers and clients must be able to reach you quickly, and are not going to wait. Many of your prospects have Googled you (and your competition) and are working their way down a list.
If missing a call means missing a sale, I tell all of our service-industry clients to invest in a reliable and affordable answering service. By using a call-answering service, they usually obtain more conversions and higher customer service satisfaction by ensuring someone is there to "listen" to their client's concerns instead sending the calls to an answering machine.
Tip #2 - Solidify Your Marketing Plan
Before you launch your product to your target clients, you should design and implement a marketing plan that addresses this fundamental question: Why should our customers use our products/services instead of our competitor's? If your management team doesn't have a rock-solid answer to this question, you need to rethink your strategy. Being able to clearly identify what sets your company a part from the competition is the foundation of a good marketing plan.
As the newest vendor in the marketplace no one will know about your product unless you tell them about it. You do not want your great product to sit on a shelf due to insufficient marketing.
Tip #3 - Don't Do It All Yourself
As a new business owner, you need to clearly identify which tasks you should do yourself, and which tasks should be assigned to a licensed professional. Your company's bottom line often depends on your availability to either make the products or perform the services. Guard your time fiercely and delegate or outsource those unprofitable time-stealing tasks.
For example, it is not uncommon for start-ups to be faced with several legal hurdles to begin operation. From contracts to compliance, you should consult with a business attorney that can advise you on what legal matters he or she should handle on your behalf to ensure your start-up gets the best terms and stays within the law.
Some start-ups fail to launch because they didn't seek the right permit or license, or failed to successfully navigate the local political minefield. An experienced business attorney can research such matters and (objectively) tell you where you might run into trouble.
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