There’s no question that the recent trends in our economy are forcing many of us to rethink our careers and possibly open a new business.  When you’re ready to launch your new business, do your homework before you open the door and keep these important tips close at hand:

Network: Long gone are the long lazy business lunches of yester-year.  With today’s fast-paced environment, the art of networking has taken off in a big way to help businesses blossom.  Look into the variety of networking associations in your community.  Is there a Toastmasters Group?  How about a BNI Chapter?  Or perhaps someone has started a private networking group in your neighborhood.  Find out about the power of having your own sales team through a networking organization.

Get organized. Make time each day to prepare a list for tomorrow, and the week, and the month. There’s not a more effective skill to keep your business moving forward than having a “to do list” by your side.   Don’t even think of leaving the office at night without a new ‘to do’ list at hand and ready for action the next business day.

Prepare for the worst, and the best: Get your finances in shape.  If you need help, contact a local CPA.  Many of today’s accounting businesses are offering ‘virtual business office support’ – so take advantage of it. If you’re too busy to watch your books, or lacking the professional skills to keep your finances in shape – don’t wait.  Seek the advice of those who know it best so you can concentrate on your own best practices.

Take care of number one: No, not you; your customers.  Without the support of those who depend on you for your services and products, you won’t have a business next year.  Developing strong customer relationships are priceless in today’s economy.  They are your voice on the street and the answer to keeping your business thriving in years to come.   Need ideas?  Seek out free advice on line where you will find endless affordable and actually fun ideas to keep your customers coming back year after year.

Nurture your employees:  Although we believe the “Customer Comes First”, without happy employees, you won’t have customers.  It doesn’t take much to keep a staff enthusiastic when you keep them involved.  Every survey on job satisfaction continually notes that cash is not the end-all to happy staff; personal recognition, mentorships, education and team events usually top the list.

Although running a business takes a lot of hard work, when you plan ahead, delegate tasks to those who do the job best, and enjoy those around you, you have greater chances of succeeding and fulfilling that dream job that you now own.

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