When you first start a business, there are a million things to think about. Usually, the focus becomes getting your name out there so you can make money, but that isn’t necessarily the point you should be focusing on once you have your business up and running. If you want to establish yourself as a real business, there are a few things you need to do. Here are a few traits you can look for, and if you can check them off of your list, you might already be to the point of being a real business.
You Implement the Latest Technology to Reach Your Customers
The latest gadgets are not always important, but there comes a time where you need to invest in the right technology to reach your customers on the platforms they are using most. For example, upgrading an old website into a responsive website for those who could be looking at your company on their smartphone wasn’t a necessity just a decade ago. Now, it can spell certain doom for some companies if they don’t.
You Set Aside a Budget for Advertising Your Company
Getting your name and products or services out to where your customers are able to see advertisements about you can certainly help you achieve “real business” status. Startup companies rarely have the money to be able to put into advertising. Once your business is established and you want to bring up your customer base, setting aside money to hire an advertising agency is a smart bet. You can get your name out there, bring new customers in, and start taking on new types and sizes of orders.
You Network with Experts to Bring Your Business to the Next Level
When your business is just one or two people, you can come across as an expert to those who know you intimately, but when you start getting more customers in that do not know the intricacies of your expertise, you may need to call in the heavy hitters. It’s important to network with those who can verify you know what you are talking about in your industry, and if you don’t, then let them help you build up rapport and trust with your clientele.
You Bring Something Unique to the Playing Field, Giving You An Edge Over Your Competitors
At first, your goal is to get whatever idea you have out there to customers. You want to offer a product or service that is at least somewhat unique or new. However, when you get to the point of being a real business, you then have the option of bringing your current products or services up to that elite status by bringing in something new. Being in the competition is one thing, but a real business is going to do something that will give them a distinct advantage over their competitors.
You Spend Money on Increased Education (For Yourself or Employees)
Once you have come to the status of a “real company”, what you know about your industry may not cut it anymore. The most important thing for the long-term success of your company is to get the education to keep your products, practices, or services current. You may need to gain more education, or you may need to have some of your employees get it, but either way, when it comes to having that top-notch status, you need to make sure you are keeping up with the latest in your specific field.
You Are Working on Your Company’s Reputation Management
Part of what a real business must do on a regular basis, is manage the reputation of the company as a whole. There are bound to be customers every now and again that don’t like something—that’s par for the course for any business, but taking the time to go through and respond to these claims and keep your company in good with customers is important once your business reaches a certain size. A bad reputation can cost you a lot of money through missed opportunities, so make sure you keep track of it!
You Can Offer Benefits to Your Employees
You will know that you are doing a good job when you can afford to start offering benefits to your employees, other than the basics. Most companies are able to do this after the first year or two, when successful, but sometimes it happens quicker or slower than that. It’s up to how well your business takes off, which depends on your drive, marketing, and relationships with your customers.
If you have been able to check off some, or most, of these traits, your business may already be in that top status. The more you do to get your company out in the eyes of your customers in a positive light, the more you can consider yourself “real”.