Setting Up Shop: What To Do Before The Doors Open

Starting a business is a hectic and exhilarating time in a person’s life. The initial gloss of a great business idea may have worn off a little as you face mountains of paperwork from permits to permissions, to staffing and marketing.

Chances are you’ll need at least one business premises in order to operate your new enterprise. For some it will be open to the public in the form of a retail store, others will need to source a factory for lease to house inventory, even if you’re purely based online. Therefore, although you’ll want to have a very clear idea of the scope and focus of your business before you begin the search for real estate, before everything is locked down, get a sense of the market. Expensive rents in your desired area may require you to seek additional finance or downsize your operation’s size, at least initially. Likewise, if a suitable site is just not available in the current rental market, you’ll either need to compromise on location or consider how you could purchase commercial real estate. This information will feed into your strategic planning for the initial few years, so it pays to do adequate research rather than renting a place that is inconvenient for you or your clients.

Get your website and online profile up and running! Although many people delay this aspect of their business until they are more established, it creates an unnecessary obstacle for your clients to access your good or services that you needn’t take. The risk of losing people who cannot find sufficient information about your business online is amplified across the younger generation, especially if you’re not situated in their local area. Furthermore, if you get favourable reviews or write ups in the media, people won’t be able to then click through to find out more about your company, or encounter a dinky, placeholder page. The only time a placeholder can be useful is if you use it to count down the time until your virtual and physical launch, but still be present on social media to create buzz around your brand. If your brand doesn’t deal in what’s currently trendy, (hello foodies) you can still get a decent following by offering giveaways and competitions in order to establish a client base.

Another key aspect to opening your business is to have the correct approvals and permissions in place. Applying for permits retroactively is stressful and often time consuming. So head to your local council and get your paperwork in order well ahead of time. Depending on your council and who you know, it can be lengthy, so perseverance is necessary!

Remember to take time to be in the present, even though the preparation and grunt work is draining. Keep your thoughts focussed on the future and what you are building, rather than what has come before. This enables you to keep seeing your business with a fresh perspective and keep it moving with, or even ahead, of the market.

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