Starting a new business is an exciting but stressful time. While the freedom to be your own boss is relieving to many people, that freedom can feel overwhelming at times. Handling these early decisions properly is critically important, as the Small Business Administration (SBA) points out, nearly half of all small businesses close up within the first five years.
One critical area every new business owner must contend with is establishing policies and guidelines that will help determine the company’s culture. These policies are foundational and can be just as important to your business’s success as the products or services that you’re offering.
Customers and Clients
No business will be successful without money flowing into it. Whether your business relies on customers or clients, establishing policies for handling the people who pay you for your goods or services is essential. These policies should help secure new business for your company and help ensure that you have repeat customers.
You’ll want to establish clear policies for customer satisfaction. You should make rules that you can follow to make sure customers know that they can return to you if there’s any problem. Offering a satisfaction guarantee is one step you can take in this regard. For a retail or e-commerce business, a clear return policy that customers are aware of is vital.
You’ll also want customers to be assured that any private information they provide to you is safe. Data privacy and protection policies and guidelines can reassure customers and clients when they have to trust you with confidential information.
While pleasing your customers and having consistent policies for dealing with them is vitally important, so is making sure that your employees are treated fairly and have consistent rules to guide them. Even if you’re currently running one of the nearly 26 million sole proprietorships, having employee policies laid down now will help you when the time comes to expand.
Make sure to establish safety rules that all employees, including management, must follow. You’ll also want to have rules in place to deal with workplace disputes between employees, which must be handled properly so you can avoid legal exposure. This should be coupled with employee behavior guidelines, including what constitutes behavior that may lead to employee termination.
You’ll also need to determine how employees get paid. Some businesses pay their employees weekly, while others pay every two weeks or twice a month. You’ll also need to know if you’re going to offer your employees health insurance and how you intend to handle employee time off.
Irrespective of your business structure, you’ll have to determine what forms of payment you accept and how you will collect, early on. In a retail business with a storefront, you’ll have to decide if you’ll accept credit cards or if you’re only going to accept cash payments.
For many other forms of businesses, you’re going to have to establish an invoice system. Will you require initial payment upfront? You may also consider if you’re willing to accept payment in installations or all at once.
You’ll also need to determine how you want to handle late payments. While you’d prefer to get payments once you’ve completed the necessary work, you can encounter many instances where you won’t receive payment right away. Establishing a clear grace period and the amount for any late fees that come from missed payment deadlines are important.
A PEO Can Help Your New Business Establish Policies and Guidelines
Many of the policies and guidelines you must establish with a new business can have consequences beyond the immediate operation of your business. Certain areas, particularly regarding HR, can have legal consequences that could end up costing your business significantly.
This is one area where Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) can help your new business. A PEO is an organization that can help with a wide variety of HR needs, including establishing and maintaining certain policies. A PEO can help write an employee handbook, administer payroll and benefits, and even help you with recruiting strategies.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a PEO can help your business, contact NetPEO today. By calling (678) 376-1212 or submitting your information on this website, you can speak with one of our dedicated PEO brokers who can learn more about the needs of your new business and can help connect you with the right PEO to help your business grow.