You have started your business and well on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Having a plan, no matter how crude or organized, will help you forge ahead but have you thought about what else you will need to keep the road smooth. Here are three things that I have for my business that keep me on the road to happiness.
- Procedures manual: I have an outline of all my processes from prospecting to client project spaces. I originally created it so that I was sure I had well rounded procedures for each step of my business, however I have found that this would allow me to easily hand over tasks or bring in help should need be. One thing I clearly remember being told when I first started was to have an exit plan and while I thought this was odd at the time I understand it now. My procedures manual is part of my exit plan because it allows anyone to step in and give the same service and attention to my business that I do. This is your business blueprint.
- Bookkeeping system: You need to know where you money is coming in and how it is going out. Personally I use QuickBooks for my record keeping and accounting however there are several good programs out there to keep you organized. What you need to look for first and foremost is an invoicing system because we all need to get paid. Having an invoicing system will not only allow you to bill your clients for the work you perform or the product you sell but will also allow you to keep on top of who has paid and who has not.
- Website and company email address: In today’s marketplace you need to have a web presence, even if it is a one or two page site. Gone are the days of the yellow pages to find service providers and here to stay is “just Google it“. More importantly is the email address you use for corresponding. I still see business owners who have free email accounts as their company email reference. First of all free email address can make you look like a spammer and clients (or potential clients) may never get your emails. Second, by having your email address attached to your domain your brand shows with each email you send. It gives an easy reference to your website, for example isn’t it easier to find me on the web from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many tools you should have to keep your business running smoothly. Do you have one I missed in your top three? Better yet, do you have these top three?