It takes a lot of resources to keep your small business running smoothly. There are a myriad of workshops and training programs available to lend advice and counseling about getting your business off the ground. What’s often missing are practical resources that you can place in your new small business toolkit. Based on our Business Quad Squad (BQS) curriculum, we have the foundational learning objectives to offer and support training but also recommend companion resources to help you actively Launch, Measure, Fund, and Grow your business. Let’s look at these components step by step.
Launch your business
When you’re ready to launch your business and show the world what you have to offer, whether a new or seasoned business owner, there’s often a laundry list of questions. Here are a few resources that guide you to answers adding essential tools in your toolkit.
Every new business needs a location and virtual offices are a great place to start. DaVinci Virtual is a very affordable option and a tight knit community for start ups to establish a physical or virtual office. They make it easy to have an office wherever you might do business.
When you’re ready to plant roots and expand, Regus’ global network of workspaces enables you to work and invite clients wherever you need to be, in a productive, professional environment. Their larger variety of offices, meeting rooms, co-working spaces, and training rooms are ideal for growing businesses operating in more established business districts.
In addition to a physical working environment, a business needs to maintain a place to conduct its work in a digital workspace. Google’s platform for professional email, online file storage, and team collaboration is familiar to most and ideal for startups. With a free trial, you are allowed time to decide if it’s the right fit.
4. Legal Shield
Now that you have a business location and a digital workspace in which to operate a legitimate business entity, Launch by Legal Shield and Legal Shield’s Small Business Plan give access to the expert legal support you need without the huge legal bill. Legal issues can crop up for any business, no matter how well-prepared you may think you are. You can speak with a business attorney familiar with your state’s laws in as little as four hours. Ask for advice on any business matter including tax, patent, securities, copyright, intellectual property and more. The service provides legal matter letters or calls on your behalf. Attorneys can review business documents and send collection notices or calls on your behalf on a no obligation subscription basis.
5. Hello Sign
Once the attorneys with Legal Shield review your business documents, you can use HelloSign to request signatures and confidently execute business agreements making the process simple and keeping business relationships solid and professional.
6. Chase Bank
After all the legal structure is complete, it’s time to separate personal from business transactions with a business checking and savings account. A national bank like Chase helps you to start building a relationship with a banker who can be a valuable resource in navigating through financial products like the Paycheck Protection Program and other means of accessing the capital needed to sustain your business long term.
It’s just smart business to keep your options open and it’s wise to consider multiple accounts especially financial institutions that are small business friendly. Bank of America is highly recommended to assist with building corporate credit even when you’re just starting out.
With the previous resources in place, it’s time to start networking with potential strategic partners. No longer are you limited to face-to-face meetings. Zoom’s service is ideal for client meetings and training webinars to show off your services and products, record podcasts, and build brand awareness. The built-in tools that come with the Zoom platform allow you to create backgrounds, promote to your network, and engage your clientele improves as your business grows.
Measure your business
Financial management is not every business owners strong suit, yet it is a critical component of operating a business. Once you’ve launched your business and put the basic structure in place, it’s time to understand how well your business is performing. Measuring your business doesn’t have to be hard with the right tools and support.
The most important tools you can have at your disposal are financial statements to monitor profit and loss and net worth. Once you begin using your new business checking accounts to capture the daily transactions in your business, QuickBooks allows you to easily synch your accounts. Periodic financial reports can be created on a consistent basis to help you recognize patterns and make more informed decisions about revenue, expenses and when it’s time to seek capital.
2. Finance Pal
If you’re not a DIY (do it yourself) type and you’re not already working with an accountant which is highly advisable, Finance Pal is a comprehensive financial services package. In addition to QuickBooks, they can handle bookkeeping, tax preparation, payroll, sales and use tax, and more with pricing plan that is tailored to your industry and specific business needs.
Fund your business
Alright so you’ve established the business, generated financial statements, and maybe even a year or more of tax returns . It’s time to get the cash flow in order and identify assets that can supplement sales revenue. Every business owner should know about how to establish a good reputation with positive personal and business credit.
Launching a small business means managing your financial reputation effectively. Nav.com, not only helps you immediately establish a tradeline on your credit report, it also gives you an overview of your business profile with Duns & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax and others. Their business resources can also help identify options for business loans, business credit cards, business insurance coverage, and more that are customized to your personal and business profiles.
As your business grows and you need to give your team access to procurement resources, Divvy’s expense management and business budgeting software are ideal for managing small business budgets. The platform synchs with QuickBooks, it allows you to create and control procurement cards for your employees, and it’s small business friendly so even startups can get access to the capital needed to fund your short term business goals.
3. Capital One and Discover
These credit cards are fairly easily to get approved and they are helpful to build your personal and business credit. It is not uncommon for business owners to use personal credit cards to fund business expenses until their business credit profile has enough tradelines to access credit that is only reported to a business report. The key is to dedicate the personal card to only business use until you can retire those personal cards and make the transition to your business credit portfolio.
When it comes to financial statements, the Balance Sheet is not always a primary focus in the beginning. In order to build up the asset section, you need options. An Acorns account helps beginners diversity the asset section of the Balance Sheet with investments in the stock market by conducting business as usual paying for expenses with your business cards while seamlessly investing small portions at the same time. Sign up is easy and fast and this platform is a teaching tool to improve financial literacy.
For the slightly more advanced investor, Robinhood has helped many investors build confidence in tracking and purchasing assets in the stock market. The platforms gives investors more control over investing solutions and it also comes with various resources to guide the decision making process.
Grow your business
Your business is well underway to expansion and all you need now are marketing resources to help get the word out and build brand awareness. Whether your model is B2B (Business-to-Business) or B2C (direct to the consumer), here are a few tools you can use add to your toolkit right away.
This proposal writing platform helps businesses build a predictable, scalable closing process that enhances your brand, content, and delivery. With Proposify, you can start building winning proposals, agreements, and contracts using the templates and tracking tools that give you the confidence you need to impress your next client.
Your website is the vitally important virtual storefront for your business. WordPress is a CMS (content management system) that has been used by many business owners as an affordable solution for simple sites, e-commerce, blogs, multi-media management, and monetizing your online presence. It is built for easy search engine optimization and has options that grow with your business.
The right graphics can go a long way toward helping your brand stand out. The benefits of Canva for your social media and website graphics include countless options for slide decks, scheduled posts to social sites, sharing capabilities, recorded presentations, and organizing multiple projects.
This automated marketing tool allows you to see Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for almost all online media platforms. DashThis can be used to create an influencer report for your business and measure how well your campaigns are getting you results.
Your content marketing strategy can go a long way toward increasing search ranking, awareness of your brand, and trust in what you have to offer. Verblio takes care of that content creation for you with its roster of copy writers, video producers, and creative project managers to streamline the process and save time on blogs, email campaigns, sales copy and more.
This service is ideal for clear and accurate transcriptions to convert audio to content for blogs and course development. Rev Speech to Text software also offers high-quality captions and subtitles for Zoom and videos to increase accessibility and meet requirements for regulatory compliance.
With this list of practical resources, you should be well on your way to getting your business off the ground. But, if you still need a little more guidance, we’re still here to help you Launch, Measure, Fund, and Grow your brand. Our goal is to assist with these resources at your disposal and ensure that your business is in the ideal position to grow and thrive.