Don’t Overlook These Small-Business Musts

Starting a new business is one of the most exciting experiences of an entrepreneur’s career. It’s also the most challenging. Even if you think your business plan has covered every conceivable pre-launch need, there will always be something that comes up that you may not have planned for. Below are four such areas that often go overlooked by even the savviest owners.

NIST Compliance

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is a non-regulatory agency that falls under the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST’s mission is the development and maintenance of standards that apply to a variety of industries. Although NIST compliance is optional (with a few exceptions), the one standard which is most important to businesses of any size is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. It is used for assessing cybersecurity risks and is the most widely adopted standard.

What are the benefits of NIST compliance, particularly the Cybersecurity Framework? You will protect your business from a variety of cyber attacks, including ransomware and malware. You can learn more at the agency’s Small Business Cybersecurity Corner.

A Frequently Updated Blog

Whether your business is building houses or baking pies, you have a target audience that needs to hear from you. In a competitive marketplace, it’s not enough to deliver great products or superior service. Customers have options, so make sure your lines of communication with them are always open. A regularly updated blog is a great way to deliver updates about new offerings, as well as information that might be useful to your clientele.

Assign the responsibility of maintaining your blog to a staffer with great writing skills and the organizational expertise to plan a 12-month content calendar.

Sustainable Practices

Each year, more and more consumers are becoming green-conscious. Companies that fail to implement sustainable business practices risk losing market share to more forward-thinking firms. That said, it’s imperative for entrepreneurs to develop a sustainability plan. An effective one will encompass reduced energy usage, environmentally sound waste management, as well as a public commitment to the climate change fight. The passion and advocacy you demonstrate for causes your customers care about will pay dividends over the long term.

Performance Management

You may think you have hired the best team ever assembled, but strong hiring practices are sometimes not enough. Few businesses achieve consistent results without an equally strong performance management system. However, the traditional approach of assessing your employees via annual reviews is increasingly being seen as outdated and ineffective. In fact, Accenture found that 90 percent of human resource officers say the process doesn’t even yield accurate information.

What is taking its place? An assessment philosophy that prioritizes open communication and continuous feedback, often on a weekly basis. What growth-minded organizations are learning is that employees value ongoing feedback so that they know what areas they need to improve upon to move forward in their career.

These are just a few of the many things a new business owner should look into before launch. They will improve your chances of a successful venture and help you sleep at night too.