What to do in the first month of being in business.
Ok, now we're in months 1-3. Time to really start moving.
Sell a lot of your product
1. Who are your next 5 customers?
This is a list of people that you ALWAYS need to be able to answer. When I was growing my record distribution business, this was a list that I always ensured my sales people always had with them. This ensures that you always have your next customer on the forefront of your mind. Remember in these beginning days, weeks, and months, the difference between success and failure is going to be whether you can generate sales. Focus here.
2. How are you customers going to be paying.
You are now on your own. You don't get money directly deposited into your bank account from your employer. You don't get see your HR manager every day. You have to ask to be paid. It can be uncomfortable at first, but it only takes one or two missed payments to get over the fear of asking to be paid.Start thinking now about how you want your clients to pay you.
Do you want to accept credit cards? Do you want to accept checks? Here are some tips on getting started with invoicing and getting paid.
3. Start a leads list.
You already have a list of your next 5 customers, why do you need another list? You next 5 customers should be your VERY next 5 customers - or the next 5 people who are most likely to purchase something from you. But presumably, you'll be bumping into more people on a daily basis. Keep a list of these people somewhere so once you sell to one of your top 5, you can immediately replace them with someone else on your leads list.
- What is a key message.
Product what you sell
This seems obvious, but don't overlook the production in your business. Remember a great business needs to do everything well. If you don't produce things on time and in good quality (this goes for you too service industry people), then you won't get referals which will determine whether you succeed of fail in your first year of business.
6 Month Operational Plan
Different for every company. What does this look like for you? Try to be as objective as possible. Where are you spending the most time? What will need to be reconfigured if your sales double or triple?
6 Month Marketing Plan
Remember marketing comes before sales. And sales is the name of the game right now. Ask yourself questions like: How are you going to meet people who you might sell to? In the first few months you'll sell to people you know, but you'll tap that out quickly, so what is your plan for getting in front of more people?
Here are some options:
- Referral programs
- Past Clients
- Presentations (in person, online)
- New Products
What is your six months sales plan? Would hiring a sales person help? If so, what obstacles would arise if you hired 10 sales people? If not, what can you systematize so you can hire your first sales person? (Hint: Your Key Messages)
Can you see the point in which you become more sustainable? It should be more clear now. How much do you need to make each month? How many sales is that? Can you generate all those sales by yourself? Can you produce all that demand by yourself?
Have object and honest conversations with yourself about these questions.
2. No one cares about your business name as much as you do - don't waste time making it cute.
Ok so you need to know how money is flowing through your business. And if you don't think you need to know, the government will want to know. Start thinking about a chart of accounts.
Building a chart of accounts.
If there is one place where you splurge on money go to an accountant and get them to look at your chart of accounts and help you set it up.
Cash Flow and Projection
Are you going to run out of money next month? or in 3 months? These are handy questions to quickly know the answer to because you can easily find yourself in a pickle and out of business without the answer. Start making rough estimates on whether you will be making money next month.
If you don't need to be an LLC, don't be one.
If you're going to be different from a sole owner, you NEED an operating agreement