Setting up a new business, especially when fresh out of college or university, can be intimidating. You want to make sure it hits the ground running with success, but have little experience to ensure it actually does. You want to commit to it full-time, but need to be sure it’s going to bring in enough income to cover bills and rent if you’ve taken the plunge not to move back in with your parents. You may also have the nagging from close relatives how this decision is risky and unsustainable. On the contrary, many people make self-employment work; you just have to develop some extremely helpful and good habits from the get-go that will help to continue your business growing in success.
In essence, this is what brings the business to you. If you are starting up an online business – it is the ease with which your customers can navigate your website, and how quickly your business can deliver on an order. The design and presentation of your website are essential to your business success. If you are setting up an in-shop or client based business, then it is yourself and your surroundings that need to look the part. Have a fool-proof business plan that leaves no stone of the business unturned and scrutinized, and have the knowledge of a business owner that has been in the game for years – not just five minutes. Turn up on time, look the part and ensure that all your personal social media accounts are in check. Potential business investors and partners will check you have a good image to represent both your own business and theirs. If you don’t want to censor yourself make sure your accounts are under a variation of your name and set to private.
Once you managed to get the business through your presentation, efficiency is how you deliver on your business standards. If this a website business, this will be how quickly after ordering your product falls through the customer’s letterbox. This will ensure both organised efficiency on your part, and a timely manner on your partnered courier’s part. Protecting your brand by checking that companies you decide to partner with have the same company ethics as yours will be extremely beneficial for your future business success. On time delivery, ensuring that products will not get damaged in the process, and fairness employed when it comes to dealing with clients, customers, and employees. Similarly, if your business is in-shop or client based, it is handling open times and appointments in a timely manner, processing orders and deliveries on time, and ensuring every customer leaves with exactly what they came for, and the want to come back. This is the basis for building both loyal customers and partners.
Reputation is built on the shoulders of presentation and efficiency. You need to constantly deliver on your business promises. As the saying goes: it takes 20 years to build a reputation, but only 5 minutes to destroy it. Your brand and reputation are what customers say about your business when you are not there, and if you are constantly missing the mark when it comes to delivering for your customers, word of mouth surrounding your business will be negative and damaging. A good reputation will reward you by having customers and clients seeking you out rather than the other way round – cutting down the legwork for you and your business. Setting out your business ethics from day one, and continuing to deliver on them, is how your success and reputation grow simultaneously – rather than having one pull the other down.
Following these three principles will help you to set a good foundation of groundwork to start building a long-term sustainable and successful business. It will be extremely worthwhile when you’re included in the successful alumni of your university or college and be able to prove everyone who doubted that self-employment wasn’t successful, wrong. It’s a win-win.