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He who fails to plan, plans to fail: Startup Essentials Checklist with HP for Small Biz

Check Mark You walk out of the house in the morning, unlock the doors to your car, and hop in. You adjust your seat, check your mirrors, and put your keys in the ignition. Slowly, you pull out of the driveway and soon enough, you’re cruising at a comfortable speed down the highway. The checklist that goes into preparing your car for heading down the road is pretty similar to the checklist your small biz should have when just getting started:

Unlocking the doors to your car = unlocking the creativity and potential in your mind. The most successful small businesses I see on are businesses that have a really creative and unique idea. Ask yourself: “Has this been done before?” and “How can I make it better than my competitors?” Innovation is a clear path to success (take Apple for example) but making your brand, product or business wacky or outlandish is another route that often sees success.

Adjusting your seat to get closer to the wheel = getting closer to your target audience. Finding the key groups you want to market your business to is an important first step, as those people will be your fans, advocates, and help build your community. So take a closer look at who you’re targeting to make sure they’re the right people who might be interested in your product.

Checking your mirrors = checking out your competition. You can’t operate your biz blindly without taking into consideration what your competitors are doing. Valuable insight can be gained from evaluating what your competitors are doing right (that you should be doing) and what they are doing wrong (which you can capitalize on and fill the gap they are missing).

Keys in the ignition = taking the plunge and putting yourself out there. We’re talking distributing news releases, creating relationships with media, creating presences on social media platforms, and local advertising. The culmination of all of your planning and strategizing has built up to this moment and you’re now open to the world!

Slowly pulling out of the driveway = taking it one step at a time. Just because you can drive doesn’t mean you should floor it—so don’t try to make your startup travel at the speed of light just yet. Evaluate obstacles such as budget, manpower, competition and reach before you tackle tasks.

Cruising down the highway = you’ve finally found a steady pace for your biz. Congrats!

In addition, Melissa Ziegler, worldwide PR manager from HP for Small Businesses stopped by #PRWebChat last week to talk to us a little about small business and startup success. Below are her best tips!

Q1: What are the benefits to small biz when harnessing social media for social good?

Melissa @ HP: Social Media can enhance your business profile by driving awareness through unique and memorable storytelling. Social media also allows you to drum up interest for your business via trusted word-of-mouth discussions among your followers.

Q2: What are your top 3 best tips for entrepreneurs or startups?

Melissa @ HP: Acknowledge what you do not know and hiring accordingly. Few people are great at everything. Here’s a resource on writing a business plan that that works as hard as your company does.  If you aren’t tech-savvy, find a business partner to help get your business off the ground. Persistence and commitment are key factors for entrepreneurs.

Q3: What are some mistakes you don’t want to make that could kill your small biz?

Melissa @ HP: Underestimating your time, spreading resources too thin and losing your edge in the market are all killer mistakes. Also, here’s a great article from Entrepreneur Magazine that outlines more mistakes for businesses to avoid.

Q4:  What are your favorite Twitter tips to promote your small biz?

Melissa @ HP: Identify your audience and follow others who share your interests to narrow your scope and tailor your content. This will generate valuable feedback and ensure you are connecting with people who could become prospects for your business. Business users often forget to narrow their scope.

Q5: What tools (online or off) are essential to small biz success?

Melissa @ HP: Small Business Web has all the tools you need to run your small biz. Another important tool is not a tool, but a person: hire a great accountant. Priceless.

Q6: What are some traits of successful small biz owners?

Melissa @ HP: You have to be adaptable, confident and passionate. The ability to function on very little sleep is also a great trait!  You and your coworkers should agree on determination as well. Successful small biz owners should always be working on new ideas and approaches. Another trait is knowing how to market your business, like using search engine marketing, as it’s more budget friendly.

The HP for Small Business Twitter is a stream of ideas, tips, issues, best practices, news, advice and links to keep your small biz successful. You can also find them on LinkedinFacebook and their blog.

Join us on Twitter at 2pm EST every Thursday by following @PRWeb and hashtag #prwebchat to take part in the conversation. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Making Your Brand More Likeable with Social Media: A #PRWebChat Recap with Lauren Sleeper and Likeable Media

(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: kkirugi)

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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