The first things that come to mind when we think about starting a business are the burdensome ones; business premises, equipment, capital. It is proper and even normal to think about these things, but all they do is de-motivate you especially when your bank account is scowling.

However, there are some areas that demand just as much early consideration if you are serious about lasting business success. Business in the 21st century has taken a different shape and brick and mortar premises aren’t even as necessary as they were 10 years ago. Some of these investments might cost you in the beginning, but they can produce substantial returns.

So what should you rather be thinking of as a matter of priority?

  1. Think: Competitive Analysis

The statement ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ becomes in business, “know your business well, but know your competition better’ or at least something like that. Fact: there are too many businesses in existence; Many of them do exactly what you do or some variation of it. Why should yours be patronized?

You have to keep a close eye on your competition. What are their strengths and weaknesses, their advantages or disadvantages? This can help uncover new strategies or market changes you can use to differentiate your company and stay relevant in your industry. By understanding your competition, you discover yourself in a sense.

Useful and thorough competitive analyses require time and money, but in the long run will pay well. A competitive analysis can give you a clearer view of where your company should stand, what you should have as your objectives and what direction you can take next.

2.Think: Great People

Who are your business people? Who are your first staff? Who are your initial investors?…that is if you need one. The people you work with can be the difference between sustainability in your new business and an abrupt end.

A lot of businesses have failed because they hired out of sentiment; their brother’s friends, son’s best friend. Do not base business affiliations based on sentiment or unprofessional recommendations, base it on abilities and quality.

Attracting the best talent can keep productivity high and goals on target. The right employees and associates can help you maintain a high quality standard all through your business operations, from idea generation to task execution to vision collaboration and workplace vibrancy.

Most importantly, if you get them to commit to your vision long term, your business will most likely be here in a long time.

3. Think: Social Media Presence And Visibility

Customers won’t come knocking if they don’t know you exist and in the 21st century, they find stuff online. This is one of the first places to put your money if you want to make a splash in the pond. Making yourself more visible online is top priority, and the simplest step to achieve that is developing a social media presence and engaging with your customer base.

You need to build a killer website or an online address if you will. Invest the resources necessary to make your site mobile friendly. This can convert site visitors into paying customers. This costs a fair bit, but in the long run is worth it. It is one thing to be visible and a whole other thing to be taken seriously by Google.

In addition to Social media presence and visibility, it is a worthwhile step to invest in SEO resources. Google rankings are the Grammy Awards of online business; they make people take you seriously. While investing in SEO, you need to Monitor your Google Rankings as this will help you know when to make certain business moves online.

Also Use social media resources like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms to start building visibility. Pick platforms carefully, platforms where your customer base is active. Investing some money into Facebook ads, for instance, can jump-start buzz around your brand and get your name in front of new customers and old ones as well.

If you do it right, proper social media strategies can help contribute to your SEO strategies as well.

4. Think: Mastermind or Mentoring

Another thing that you really should invest in for your business possibly before even staffing is investing in some sort of mastermind or mentoring. Most people starting a business have the never say die attitude, they feel they can do it on their own. The truth is that you will need a lot of inspiration and encouragement, because, it’s not going to be an easy road; guaranteed.

Whether you join a mastermind group, hire a mentor, business coach or a business mentor, you need to get something particularly if you want to grow fast. You need the right company and to always have to make sure you’re in appropriate groups.

You need to know that you are being coached or mentored by appropriate people who really see your potential and can give you the practical advice to go to that next level. That’s something most businesses are lacking.