Opening a small business? Don't overlook these areas

Published by Paul Drury on 27 November 2014
in Staying compliant, Improving safety, Making an impression, Safety & compliance, Matting & floorcare

Opening a small business is likely to be one of the busiest and most stressful times of your life, but the rewards can be huge.

Spending time dealing with banks, regulators, suppliers and property agents is bound to dominate most of your days. If not that, then you’ll be hard at work on marketing preparation or maybe even getting your hands dirty with some DIY.

Frankly, it’s tiring to even think about. But if you can, try and set aside some time for these often overlooked areas that can dramatically improve the environment for both staff and customers.

Online presence

Whether or not you do business online, any company without a decent web presence is likely to suffer. But it’s not enough to simply put up a website and hope for the best, you have to be proactive.

When creating your website, think about what your customers want to know, rather than what you want to tell your customers. They’re always right, after all.

Contact information, product or service details and pricing should all be clear and as transparent as possible. To really stand out, however, you need to inject some brand personality into everything and really push your USP. What do you do better than everyone else?

Social media is another area where you’d be silly not to get involved. It’s a great way of both communicating and engaging with customers. Decide which networks are right for you, do some research on best practice and open up that dialogue.

This can help generate glowing testimonials across a range of review sites. You can then use these reviews in your premises or on your website as social proof that you’re the best!

Oh, and make sure your business is both listed with Google and the website is optimised to show up in their search results.

Minimising risk

Imagine it’s your first day of business and the heating breaks down, or someone has a slip on your premises and seriously injures themselves. Nightmare, right?

These are the types of unexpected occurrences that can stop a fledgling small business in its tracks, right when it should be powering ahead.

First things first, you need to make sure your boiler, electrics and fire safety equipment are all up to scratch. Any portable appliances (things that are plugged, not hard wired in) need to be approved too.

Not only does this make good safety sense, it’s actually required by law under the Health & Safety Work Act.

Next, you need to have adequate matting at entrance and exit points. This dramatically reduces the risk of staff and customers slipping and stops dirt and moisture from being traipsed into your premises, making it look dirty.

If you’re responsible for outdoor areas as well, stocking up on rock salt during the winter months will improve access for everyone.

PHS can help with all your workplace safety needs, so get in touch.

Tracking & learning

As a new small business, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re probably going to do a lot of things right as well.

But none of these successes and failures will be worth anything in the future if you don’t record them and use them to improve.

That advertisement you placed may have brought in some additional business, but was it cost effective?

So you had an excellent month in sales, but what did you do differently, and how can you replicate that?

Maybe you had a couple of staff members leave? Find out what (if anything) has changed or how you can make the working environment better for your staff.

Use web analytics and social media statistics to track how much impact you’re having online and whether or not you’re making progress by increasing traffic, audience and interactions.

Learning from your activity, minimising your risks and becoming an online expert are all great ways to ensure the new business you’ve worked so hard on is a success.

by Paul Drury in Staying compliant, Improving safety, Making an impression, Safety & compliance, Matting & floorcare