10 Small Business Essentials for 2023
The right tools and resources can help your small business thrive. Whether you’re launching a new venture or looking to expand your current operation, these small business essentials will help you to succeed in the coming year. Let’s dive in.
Our List of Small Business Essentials
Here’s our list of tools and resources that every business needs to succeed (we’ll explain each of these resources in more depth below):
- A comprehensive business plan
- Small business insurance
- HR tools
- Accounting software and support
- Tech protection
- A marketing strategy
- Legal support
- Collaboration tools
- Data management capabilities
- Health insurance
1. A Comprehensive Business Plan – Small Business Essentials
Starting a small business is exciting, particularly when you’re passionate about your work. But passion alone isn’t enough to generate long-term success. It would be best if you had a sense of direction. That’s where your business plan comes in. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a seasoned business professional to make a business plan.
With a bit of strategic thinking, you can create a vision for the development of your business to help guide your startup through 2022 and the years that follow. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is a Small Business Plan?
While motivation and drive are valuable, the success of your business depends on having an actionable roadmap for how you’ll achieve your goals. A business plan for a company of any size outlines specific plans for how you’ll generate income and plans for growth based on your projected revenue.
Why Do I Need a Small Business Plan?
There are many reasons you need a business plan. Here are a few of the things it helps you do:
- Identify your target market and figure out how to reach them
- Map out how you’ll generate revenue
- Allocate your financial resources in a strategic way
- Establish trust to score investor funding
- Understand when and how to scale your business
- Forecast future opportunities for growth
2. Small Business Insurance – Small Business Essentials
All businesses need insurance, regardless of size. Why?
While no one wants to encounter mishaps, conflicts, or other unexpected problems, they happen. Therefore, small business insurance is essential for protecting you and your employees from the potentially negative impact of unforeseen situations.
Let’s explore some of the basic types of insurance.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance protects you from various types of events. But each policy’s coverage varies depending on the price and terms. When shopping for public liability insurance, look for a policy that offers these critical types of coverage:
- Bodily injury coverage
- Property damage coverage
- Allowance for legal expenses
Professional Liability Insurance
Depending upon your industry, you may want to consider getting a professional liability insurance policy in addition to general liability insurance. This type of policy can offer several benefits:
- Specialized coverage in the event of copyright infringement or patent violation
- Help with legal costs if bodily or non-bodily (psychological or emotional) injury occurs
- Financial protection in lawsuits related to defamation
Add-Ons for Small Business Insurance
Always review the coverages and expenses of a plan before committing to pay its premium. If you purchase a policy through a broker or commercial website, be sure to ask any questions you may have so you fully understand what is and isn’t covered.
You may be able to customize your small business insurance policy or add some of these additional coverages if they aren’t standard inclusions:
- Commercial property insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Commercial vehicle insurance
- Disability insurance (for you as an individual)
3. HR Tools – Small Business Essentials
Larger companies typically hire in-house Human Resources associates, but many small businesses can’t afford to have on-site HR.
Depending on which you select, you can enjoy HR benefits like these:
4. Accounting Software and Support – Small Business Essentials
Keeping track of your numbers is critical for managing cash flow and planning for your business’s future. If you can’t afford an in-house accountant, you may be concerned about handling this work yourself.
Here’s some good news:
- There are many software programs designed to help you manage your accounting tasks.
Let’s discuss why accounting software is such a valuable business tool:
Unless you’re a professional bookkeeper, you may have questions about your finances that software can’t answer. Fortunately, many software programs offer service plans with access to a live bookkeeper. We’d highly recommend it!
5. Tech Protection – Small Business Essentials
Your technology (laptops, iPads, phones, etc.) is one of your most expensive investments. You rely upon these items for managing nearly every aspect of your business. What would you do if something happened to these devices or their data? Protecting your tech assets is the best way to avoid catastrophic scenarios that could endanger your business. Start by investing in these security measures:
Opt for the Warranty
When you purchase devices for your small business, don’t pass on spending a little extra cash for an extended warranty, manufacturer insurance, or retailer protection plan. Opting for these low-cost protection services can help you avoid significant expenses should you need to repair or replace a device.
Get a VPN
Any device connected to the internet is susceptible to hacking (not just online businesses!). That can put private information into the wrong hands for misuse. Virtual private networks (VPNs) make it easy and affordable to protect your business data. Go with a well-known and trustworthy provider like NordVPN or ExpressVPN, and connect all your devices to ensure privacy for you and your team members’ online activity.
6. Marketing Strategy – Small Business Essentials
How do you get the word out and attract customers?
It’s all about marketing. When you make your brand visible to people at the right time, you’ll get your name out there and attract customers.
Small businesses use a few strategies for generating brand awareness and achieving long-term customer engagement. Here are a few you can implement today:
Blogs and Articles
You may not be a writer by trade, but you can still create an online presence by providing valuable content to your target audience. Most businesses do this by publishing blog articles on their website that are relevant to their industry and the interests of their target market. This will help you rank higher in search engines and show your readers that you’re an expert in your field.
In 2021, marketing research found that 1 in 3 people use social media to learn about new products, services, brands, and stores. In addition, 1 in 4 people use social media platforms to purchase. You can leverage the marketing power of these tools by posting engaging posts to increase brand awareness and maintain customer relationships.
Email Lists and Newsletters
Forbes experts still say marketing newsletters are one of the best revenue-generation methods. However, you’ll need to do it right to see valuable results. Here’s a good tip:
Try to avoid bragging about the success of your business or your plans for the future in your newsletter.
Also: Don’t think of it as a newsletter — think of your newsletter readers as subscribers to your blog. Sending out newsletters with engaging content makes your customers feel you understand their interests and care about their needs.
Consumers are constantly overwhelmed by aggressive forms of marketing directly asking or pressuring them to spend money. They are more likely to make purchases when they decide without feeling pressured, like after reading a newsletter providing them with information that’s relevant to them on a personal level.
7. Legal Support – Small Business Essentials
Can’t afford to have an attorney create custom legal documents for your small business? You’re not alone.
Regardless, every small business owner should have legitimate legal documents for various purposes.
Unfortunately, making your own without the guidance of a lawyer could lead to several problems. For instance, it may contain statements you didn’t know were illegal, or you might unintentionally leave out critical information.
So, what should you do?
Use Legal Document Templates
With a few exceptions, most legal documents that small business owners need for successful operations are easy to find. Customizable templates are usually sufficient for such needs.
You can access templates for legal documents using your Alliance of Gig Workers membership perks and customize them to meet the unique needs of your small business.
An Alliance of Gig Workers membership gives you exclusive access to some of the basic legal templates for business operations documents (availability varies by state):
- Client agreements
- Employee contracts
- Tax forms
- Rental forms and lease agreements
- Purchase agreements
8. Collaboration Software – Small Business Essentials
All small businesses deal with communication issues. Information gets lost in endless email threads. Email addresses get misspelled. Critical emails end up in the recipient’s spam folder, and team members are accidentally left out of meaningful conversations. In recent years, businesses of all sizes and industries have been using collaboration tools to solve these problems.
What Are Collaboration Tools?
Whether your team is remote or you’re working together in the same physical space, collaboration software can smoothen conversation and increase productivity. There are dozens of collaboration software tools out there. However, the one that will work best for your small business depends on your unique needs.
While you research your options, keep in mind that different programs offer different features:
- Instant message apps
- File sharing and storage
- Calendar integration
- Task and project management
- Goal setting features
- Social capabilities like comments and positive shout-outs
- Cloud services (like iCloud or Microsoft Cloud)
9. Data Management Capabilities – Small Business Essentials
If you previously believed data management doesn’t apply to your industry or business, you’ll want to think again after reading this section. Business data comes in many forms. Your contacts list, sales numbers, employee information, and marketing stats are all examples of business data. Managing all of that data can be hard work. Plus, you should periodically audit your data for accuracy and to gather the information that can inform future business decisions.
How Can I Manage My Small Business’s Data?
The problem of data management does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, effective data management options exist for every type of business in all stages of growth.
Here are a few customer relationship management (CRM) programs and other types of software that can help you manage your company’s data:
10. Health Insurance – Small Business Essentials
Starting a new business is an exciting and fulfilling experience. However, self-employment doesn’t come with the health insurance benefits frequently offered through an employer. Luckily, you don’t need an employer to get quality health insurance. Instead, you have a few options, such as getting coverage through your partner’s job or using the health insurance marketplace.
Get Coverage Through a Spouse or Partner
If your spouse works full-time for a company that offers health insurance benefits, you and your dependents may be eligible to enroll in their plan. In addition, certain companies, states, and health insurance plans allow you to enroll in your partner’s program regardless of marital status. Have your spouse or partner discuss your options for health insurance coverage with their employer’s HR department, or call the health insurance company directly.
Use the Health Insurance Marketplace
In 2010, the Obama Administration enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as “Obamacare.” The ACA made healthcare accessible to millions of Americans who would otherwise not have it. Using the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov, anyone can shop around and enroll in the health insurance plan that’s right for them.
Takeaways – Small Business Essentials
Starting your own business can feel intimidating. It’s a huge undertaking, but knowing what you’ll need to ensure success can help reduce some of that stress.
If you plan to expand your solo venture or launch a new small business in 2023, Selfgood has tools to help you save money and help you succeed. Join today for access to all of Selfgood’s incredible benefits.
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