As a business owner, especially of a new enterprise, it can be tempting to focus on every aspect of your entity – from how you are doing on social media to the images you want on your website. While multitasking is a part of running a business, too much of it can be harmful. In fact, when you are starting out, you are better off focusing on the most important tasks than trying to keep up with every little detail. Starting a business checklist is crucial.
If you are a new business owner and you are feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand, here’s how you can make the most of the first 90 days to set yourself up for success.
5 Crucial Tasks for the First 90 Days of Your Business:
1. Make a Sale
Nothing spells confidence than somebody paying for your goods or services. Selling something is the biggest indicator that people are interested in what you are offering. Each sale is also a good opportunity to test your messaging and your price point. In the first 90 days, test both your messaging and price point so that by the fourth month, you have more clarity on your target audience, messaging, and pricing strategy.
It is also important to not fret about perfectionism, at least in the beginning. Follow the iterative route. Once you have a decent-enough product or service to offer, go to market. Make a sale and incorporate customer feedback to make improvements as you go. The iterative approach gives you more freedom to pivot and respond to the market. For example, let’s say you have started a business selling homemade gourmet tea. Once you are confident that the teas taste good enough, push to sell. Don’t worry about the packaging being not classy enough, or beta-testing too much. Your real customers are always the best beta-testers.
2. Set Quarterly Goals
When running a new venture, you will have a lot on your plate. To avoid getting overwhelmed and caught up in the everyday grind, set up quarterly milestones. Common 90-day objectives for your business could include:
- Setting up key processes, such as invoice and payroll management
- Hiring for critical positions
- Setting up a basic cash flow prediction model
- Setting up your social media channels
- Mapping out a marketing strategy
Remember, when setting up quarterly goals, it is important that you focus on long-term growth.
3. Know Your Customer
Unless you know who you are selling to, you will never be able to figure out how to sell. In the first 90 days of your business, get as much feedback on your product or service as possible. Reach out to your first customers and ask them how they felt about your product. Have a genuine conversation with them so you can get constructive feedback. Interact with people you meet at a gathering and tell them about what you are selling. Ask them what they think. If they fit the profile of your target audience, even better. For instance, if you are a freelance copywriter and you are catering to small businesses, check-in with a family member who runs a small business. Ask them about the difficulties they face when dealing with freelancers; their overall marketing strategy; and their experience with digital marketing tactics.
4. Define Your USP
As a small business, you are constantly competing not just with local businesses, but also global players with deep pockets. In order to set a solid foundation for your business, define your unique selling proposition in the first 90 days. It could be the personalized service that you offer, which makes the customer feel like family; or maybe your business practices are environment-friendly. As far as possible, try to avoid having your price-point as the USP. The big players in your industry can easily undercut your pricing.
5. Predict Profitability
A strong bottom line is what helps any business survive, but it takes time getting there. Make an informed guess on when you think you will be able to turn profitable. Take into account your current sales trend, your fixed operational expenditure, and any seasonal hikes in demand that you might be able to leverage. For instance, if you are run a small e-commerce store, the holiday season usually sees a spurt in sales.
Check these off your to-do list in your first 90 days of business and you’ll be off to a great start!