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7 steps to future-proof your business

Colorado has some great new businesses. Take for example Blinker; their new app gives people the ability to post their car for sale, simply by taking a picture of it. Sugarwish makes the corporate gift-giving process fun by having the recipient pick out their treats and have them sent right over. Let's Be Chefs’ app sends users personalized menus and grocery lists weekly, and it'll even notify you when it's time to start cooking. BASE Education uses Social Emotional Learning to help prevent student suicides and school-based violence.

The small business scene is thriving in Colorado, but no one ever claimed that running one would be easy. New companies come and go with great frequency. For instance, in the third quarter of 2016, 5,898 establishments started up, generating 17,847 new jobs in Colorado. In the same period, 4,393 businesses exited, resulting in 13,050 lost jobs.

7 steps to future-proof your small business

When it comes to the challenges small businesses face, it can critical to be aware of what you’re up against. You want your business to not only survive, but grow and thrive. And ideally, you’d like it to continue after you’re gone. You want to future-proof your business.

To future-proof your business, you’ll need to anticipate and minimize possible threats that could harm your business. You’ll want to:

  1. Create the right entity. Maybe it’s a limited liability company (LLC), partnership, sole proprietorship, S corporation or C corporation.
  2. Draft a business plan. In it's purest form, a business plan is a document that outlines the basics about your business, products, and services; the market you are targeting; the goals you have for your business; and how you will achieve those goals.
  3. Begin in stealth mode: A trend with startups is to begin business in stealth mode. Avoiding public attention keeps your ground-breaking new product away from competitors.
  4. Diversify and innovate. You’ll want to mitigate risk by diversifying your product portfolio; avoid relying on just one product. Be open to new ideas, and embrace a culture of innovation. Having the mindset of “that’s how we always do things,” can impede your forward progress.
  5. Adapt your customer acquisition strategies. Technologies change, and you’ll want to figure out the best channels for bringing in new customers.
  6. Predict the future.Keeping up with industry trends—follow industry news hubs and social media—can help you recognize potential opportunities and identify upcoming pitfalls.
  7. Plan for your demise. We all have to go sometime, and you’ll want to create a plan to pass on your family business when that happens.

Future-proofing your business is a process. Consult with an attorney familiar with the needs of small business to get started. 20 years down the road, you and your business will be glad you did. 

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