Guest post by Aurora Coleman
It’s not particularly breaking news that the US economy has taken a plunge since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The whole country went into a recession, companies were forced to close, and many lost their jobs in the process.
Small businesses emerged as a new route for individuals to earn money and simply get through the pandemic. Some, however, found that having a small business is not just a way to earn but actually a plausible way to use their skills, abilities, and passion to make a living. If you’re one of these individuals and would like to continue to establish your newly found venture, then read on to learn how to level up your small business.
Create a separate legal entity for your business
Many small businesses start out as sole proprietorships, but at some point it’s a good idea to establish your business more formally. As you progress, you’ll be dealing with a lot more legal and financial matters. This can be especially tricky as a sole proprietorship because your business is not a separate legal entity from you, therefore your liabilities are unlimited, and creditors may come after your personal assets. Converting to or registering your small business as a limited liability company (LLC) is a viable option if you want to make it a separate legal entity.
Thankfully, registering an LLC in your state can be broken down into five simple steps. The common steps you need to take are as follows:
1. Choose a name for your LLC
2. Choose a Registered Agent to represent your business
3. File the Certificate of Formation/Articles of Organization
4. Get an Operating Agreement
5. Apply for an EIN and review tax requirements if you have employees
After making your business more official, you can now focus on boosting your brand image and growing your business while having peace of mind.
Be present where it matters
It’s a no-brainer that being present online really does play a part in the success of your business. Nowadays, especially as people are encouraged to stay home, most are connected via the internet and social media for communication, media consumption, gathering information and news, and of course, to purchase goods and services. If you’re not present in these areas, you’re missing out on a large pool of customers who are just waiting to be shown what to spend their money on.
If you’re overwhelmed, just know that you don’t have to be present everywhere online – just be present where it matters. Online tools and research can help you understand where your target customers are most active and which platforms they use to consume content. You can focus on these online channels to consistently connect with your customers and hopefully have them consider doing business with you.
Create a complete customer experience
Even with all the tools available, there are still around 30 million small businesses in the country, and it’s more competitive now than ever before. Whether online or offline, you need to remember that the competition all boils down to your target customer’s perception of your product or service. Often, how your customers see you will depend on their experience with your business.
Creating a complete customer experience means that you have to care about each point of contact you have with your customers. People need to be able to fully immerse themselves in what you offer for them to truly understand its value. These touch points not only dictate if they’re going to buy your product or service, but also the overall image they’ll have of your business. Customer care and service is also a major part of the experience, as people will remember you by how your business treated them.
Overall, you just have to be prepared financially and legally, be present where your customers are, and use these channels to create a positive experience for the people who you connect with. This is what will keep your customers coming back to you and what will help you stand out and take your business up another next level.
Aurora Coleman is a Naperville (UK)-based financial analyst with a fascination for the meanings behind the numbers in business. When she’s not working, Aurora enjoys writing and running.
Note: This site does not provide legal advice. Always consult a legal professional that can advise on federal, state and/or local laws.