10 Small Tips for Running Your First Business

The decision to start a business can be exciting. Whether it’s been a lifelong dream, a career shift, or a second-act situation, the thought of having something all your own can set your gears in motion. While the dreams of a popular business, serving the community, and making money are great motivators, they should be tempered with your feet planted firmly in reality, knowing there’s a lot of work ahead.

Many factors go into making a business successful. While enthusiasm and a positive attitude play a nigh part, ensuring the physical space and management of the company are just as important. Sometimes, we are so excited to get the entity up and running that we forget a few things. But no worries, we’re here to help. This blog will explore ten small tips for running a business that can provide success and good fortune for the long haul.

1. Purchase Property Smartly

One of the first steps to opening a successful business is to find a suitable space in a location that will be right for your particular business brand. It’s a good idea to scout several commercial property possibilities before deciding. If you’re unsure what to look for, here are a few tips to get you started.

First, scout several locations and be open to different areas. Looking in only one neighborhood could not only ice you out budget-wise, but by ruling out up-and-coming neighborhoods, you may be overlooking a hidden property gem! Next, inspect all the properties carefully. If you’re friends with other property owners or contractors, bring them with you so they can point out things you might not notice.

Look out for the roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. A property may not look great, but if it has good bones and the price is right, it’s worth a cleaning crew and painters! When you’re ready to jump in the water, assemble a financial team including a lender, broker, accountant, and real estate attorney. These professionals can help protect your interests and haggle with the sellers.

2. Choose Great Legal Experts

Whether your business is big or small, at some point, you’ll likely need the assistance of legal experts. Whether it’s a real estate attorney to help you close on the commercial property, a business attorney to help organize the inner workings or a general attorney that you keep on retainer who can answer those tricky questions on topics that may cause trouble. It’s always a good idea to have an injury lawyer on standby, too. Hopefully, you’ll never need to consult with them.

Still, accidents happen, and sadly, they could happen in or outside your property, so be prepared with knowledgeable legal professionals who can protect you, your employees, and your business investment. You may think you’ve got everything covered and have done everything right, and while that may be true, you can’t be too careful. Sadly, these days, it doesn’t take much for some folks to file a lawsuit: a patch of ice that wasn’t salted, a hair on the food, a perceived rude remark by one of your employees, the sky was not blue enough when they walked in! So it’s better to be safe than sorry, do a little research, and keep a few good lawyers nearby.

3. Create Creative Spaces

Small businesses don’t need to be a one-size-fits-all situation. The more unique and creative you are with your space, the more likely you attract customers and keep employees engaged and productive. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and invite suggestions from your workers. Start creating a creative space with a literal space to get creative; install a team table or communal gathering space where everyone can come together and brainstorm, share, and communicate.

Consider installing a whiteboard wall to share ideas and information or positive notes. Make it welcoming and warm, so it can also be used during break times for everyone to unwind. Use vibrant or natural colors that reflect the theme of the business while also inducing a sense of calm, like ocean or mountain murals.

Allow for as much natural light to flow in as possible, and make the outside attractive to look at by adding decor and foliage. Keep that vibe going inside with plenty of fun business-related decor, and historical and vintage items. Hitting the flea markets and antique shops can yield great, inexpensive items to get those creative juices flowing.

4. Maintain Your Exterior

One of the best and easiest small tips a business owner can follow is to keep the exterior of the building in tip-top shape. An attractive storefront is not guaranteed to draw business, but a shabby one will have potential customers running right past. Clean up regularly, sweep, pick up trash, and have plenty of trash containers around to keep littering to a minimum. Pressure wash the building and walkways at least twice a year.

Wash any windows regularly and make them attractive with some window treatments. If your walkways or sidewalks are in disrepair, you must have them fixed, not only for aesthetics but for safety. If you have a parking lot, keep it orderly and ensure you have visible lines and directions posted. When the weather is terrible, mainly snow and ice, clear the sidewalks and salt them so nobody gets hurt.

Finally, invest in some landscaping. Even if you don’t have a lot of green space, done right, a little goes a long way. Grab some hanging plants, potted plants, and window boxes; these small additions can make the exterior pop out and get noticed. If you have a lot of grass, consider consulting with a local landscaper to see if you can get a lawn care and mower package deal.

5. Invest in Safety

When it comes to your business, maintaining proper safety is not an option. Your building will be subject to inspections requiring you to meet OSHA standards. These regulations are in place to protect you, your employees, and your customers. You’ll need to invest in fire protection. Many fire sprinkler design companies will do a free inspection to let you know precisely what you need and the best products to use.

Your needs will likely include smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and a sprinkler system. Next, you must purchase first aid supplies, including an eye wash station. All employees must be adequately trained on any equipment used and provided with personal protective equipment.

A clean and sanitary environment must be maintained at all times to prevent the spread of disease. Many businesses employ the help of cleaning companies. Finally, you must purchase an alarm system and proper door and window locks. It’s also helpful to have motion detector lights and cameras to deter potential intruders when your business is closed.

6. Ship With an Expert

The ability to ship your products to customers has never been more critical. So, you need to partner with a reliable and affordable shipping company. While UPS is great, it is better suited for larger businesses, and the postal service may not fulfill your needs. Fortunately, there are a lot of smaller companies that have come on the scene since 2020 that will work with smaller companies and ensure proper transport.

They do all the work, including padding, insulation, cooling units, and artistic layouts. Some even include handwritten notes and add-ons like coupons. If you are looking for a big name, FedEx offers a minor business parcel shipping contract comprising an e-commerce center, weekend deliveries, administrative support, and custom boxes.

7. Modernize Your Online Space

Nothing is worse as a customer than landing at an outdated website, hard to navigate, and just plain blah – except perhaps trying to keep your website up to date. It can be challenging to do everything that needs to be done, from back-office widgets to search engine optimization; it’s enough to make you want to abandon the whole site! But it doesn’t need to be difficult, especially with online templates and sites that allow you to build your own. The following tips can help you increase traffic and improve your online presence.

Updating content and adding informational blogs and FAQs can help bring in visitors. Replace old photos with fresh ones every few months with new products and services. Add links to your social media and customer reviews. Make the site interactive with online forms and ordering to make it easy for customers to communicate with you. Keep abreast of current trends and update accordingly.

8. Toss Out the Trash

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s something that often gets overlooked during the initial excitement of opening a new business – don’t forget about the trash! One of your first tasks should be to call a few dumpster rental services and get quotes. Most small businesses have industrial-sized dumpsters in the back of their buildings because the volume is too much for the average trash company to collect.

You need to keep a clutter-free and clean space, and you need a fellow business owner that you can count on to ensure the trash is hauled away. The companies will work with you to determine the size of the bin and the frequency of pick-up, which depends on the size and type of your business. For example, owning a sandwich shop will probably mean you need a more enormous container and frequent pickups than a yarn store.

It’s vital to keep the area clean so it doesn’t get smelly or attract pests. If you’re signing a contract, ask if they occasionally come to clean out and sanitize the container, if bulk items (like broken furniture) are extra, and if they allow them. If your business doesn’t generate a lot of trash, consider partnering with the business next door to save some money.

9. Brand Your Storage Area

Coming up with a company brand can be frustrating. You want it to tie in seamlessly with your business but also to be unique, colorful, visually appealing, and something that everyone will remember. Consult with local artists, graphic design majors, and other talent eager to make a name for themselves.

Once the logo is in place, keep it consistent and use it everywhere, from employee uniforms to websites, and don’t forget your storage area. Branding your storage area gives your business an air of prestige and a professional appearance. You can easily hire a general painter for the role of storage facility painter.

10. Collaborate in Shared Spaces

The real estate market right now is a seller’s paradise. This includes homes, rentals, and commercial properties, and office space. Whether purchasing, leasing, or renting commercial business space, you might consider sharing the space with another company or business. After all, business parks, strip malls, and office buildings have been doing it for ages.

In many large cities, you can get your teeth cleaned, drop off your laundry, take a Zumba class, and meet with your divorce attorney, all within a few feet of one another. So, while sharing a space may not be your ideal dream scenario for the real estate end of your business, sharing a space can be pretty economical. Many office buildings have office suites for rent that may be too large for your 1-2 employee business, so check around and find someone looking for some office space.

If you’ve got an e-commerce business, sharing space is especially easy and practical. Since no customers are coming in and out, you can split some warehouses or other appropriate spaces and have room for your equipment, merchandise, and employees. Sharing space can be tricky; you’ll need to get along with other people, lay out clear expectations and responsibilities, and draw up business and rental contracts, but it’s an option when cutting costs. Consider finding a short-term set of business suites for rent to start and see if the collaboration works.

Running your own business can be a rewarding and lucrative endeavor. However, it’s vital to keep up with the items listed above for the safety and well-being of you and your customers. These small tips can have a significant impact on the success of your business.

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