Grow Your Business Today

Grow Your Business Today

You have a great idea for a new business. And you have the determination to bring it to life.


But you are also aware that it is no small thing to launch a business in a turbulent and competitive economy, in which only about 50% of these businesses will survive their first five years. The hurdles faced by small business owners include:

It’s hard to keep your eyes on the big picture when so many small but important details demand your attention. This is why it is good to have a partner, such as ZenBusiness.

Whether it is setting up an Operating Agreement, accounting and bookkeeping services, a domain name aligned with your business needs, cost-effective combined property and liability insurance, or, well, you name it, we have the business services you require to launch, grow, and thrive. Your success is ours.

No matter your chosen industry, the following eight-step guide can help you turn your great idea into a viable business with long-term prospects.

How to Grow Your Business

  1. Manage Your Operating Expenses
  2. Manage Payments and Revenue
  3. Hire Employees and Contractors
  4. Find a New Location
  5. Invest in Equipment and Other Tools
  6. Build a Better Website
  7. Create a Marketing Strategy
  8. Protect Your Business From Potential Threats

1. Manage Your Operating Expenses

You cannot grow your business unless you know where your money is going. It is important to track your various operating expenses to plan the path to sustainable growth and invest accordingly.

Common Cost Categories

When it comes to operating expenses, you have fixed and variable costs. As the name suggests, fixed costs are unchanging and must be paid whether goods or services are produced. For example, a design firm that leases a 3D printer would still have to pay the monthly lease costs, even if they don’t have any orders.

Common examples of fixed costs include lease and rent payments, utilities, insurance, some salaries, and interest payments. The more fixed costs a company has, the more revenue it needs to break even.

On the other hand, variable costs are connected to the number of goods and services a business produces. Packaging, raw materials for production, labor, and commissions are examples of variable costs, which increase or decrease according to production volume. For example, if it costs $3 to produce a widget, the cost is $3,000 for 1,000 widgets, $6,000 for 2,000 widgets, and nothing if no widgets are produced.

Variable costs differ between industries, so you need to look at two businesses operating in the same vertical to make comparisons.

While fixed costs tend to remain flat, variable costs can change according to the number of goods a company produces. If production goes up, the price of the greater number of goods produced is spread over the same fixed cost, leading to economies of scale.

In unsettled economic times, it is good to estimate costs high and revenues low and have a contingency fund in case of unforeseen expenses.

Tracking Costs Closely

Tracking operating costs is something that companies should do regularly, at least on a monthly basis, to ensure the financial circumstances of their business remain in good order. ZenBusiness helps ensure your spending doesn’t go dangerously out of whack with a few different services and products.

For example, our business banking and business credit card offerings can help you track expenses across your operations, simplifying accounting, reviewing expenses, and enabling you to keep atop cash flow, manage payments, and much more.

For even more help, ZenBusiness’s accounting and bookkeeping services can take over one of the most stressful and challenging areas for business owners. We can cover all your bookkeeping needs, so you can concentrate on growing and scaling your business. Our three competitively priced packages include Quick Start, Up and Running, and Grow and Scale options.

2. Manage Payments and Revenue

For a company to survive and thrive, it must have sufficient revenue to cover its expenses, repay investors, and expand its operations. Cash flow, as opposed to earnings, is an important sign of a business’s health. How well you manage revenue and track payments are essential to your success.

Without generating enough cash to meet its needs, a company will find it hard to conduct routine activities, such as paying suppliers, buying raw materials, and paying employees, let alone making investments in growth. And by avoiding debt, you won’t be put in the position of debtors having a say in how your company is run.

Ways to Get Paid

ZenBusiness’s accounting and bookkeeping services can help you easily manage your billing, payment methods, and track the all-important cash flow. Our various packages add a CPA to your team, determining what you need for bookkeeping and reporting. Invoicing, managing bank transactions, monthly book closings, and regular phone conversations with your CPA (in the top two packages) are among the services offered.

Your business can be set up to accept and track the ways in which your customers are accustomed to paying, including:

With health crises affecting businesses, more companies are investigating online ordering and payment solutions, enabling customers to pay with mobile wallets and other increasingly popular methods. Contactless payment methods are also rising in importance because of their convenience and concerns about common touch surfaces.

Anticipating Earnings

The process of projecting revenue and expenses is important for a business, especially when starting. They help you develop the operational and staffing plans that will make you a success and give potential investors the numbers they need to make their decisions.

Since it is usually easier to anticipate expenses than revenue, start by charting your fixed and variable expenses. Then, put together two scenarios for your revenues: an optimistic and conservative projection. Entrepreneurs and business owners usually fluctuate between wild-eyed hope and more cautious conservatism when regarding their company’s financial prospects.

So, it’s wise to build two sets of projections: a conservative one that may have minimal marketing channels, a low price point for products, no sales staff, and a single product or service launched in three years; and an optimistic one, with multiple products and services, sales staff, different marketing channels, and premium product prices.

Usually, the truth will fall somewhere in between.

Some of the include better:

3. Hire Employees and Contractors

Building a team of workers to help run your company is one of the most rewarding aspects of business ownership. It is also one of the most challenging aspects, trying to find the best-qualified people, being able to offer competitive salaries, having to train workers, and deciding whether full-time or contract workers are the best fit for a given role.

Employees vs. Contractors: Understanding Your Options

While hiring needs can vary wildly between industries or even between companies in the same sector, most businesses find themselves asking if they would be better served by the dependable presence of full-time employers or the greater flexibility of contract workers. But they have to begin by understanding the differences between them.

Is it important that you always have certain talent on hand, or are you better served cherry-picking a contract worker when seasonal or other work demand requires them? Do you need all your workers under the same roof, or is a dispersed workforce a possibility, saving you overhead costs and making workers happier and more productive?

To decide which is best for your business and situation, you have to look at the pros and cons of full-time employees and independent contractors.

Pros of a Full-Time Employees
Cons of a Full-Time Employees
Pros of a Independent Contractors
Cons of a Independent Contractors

It should also be noted that at one time, independent contractor jobs were often regarded as less-satisfactory standbys to full-time employment. But now, with the exploding gig economy, freelance and contract work, especially for remote positions, is on the rise, attracting highly qualified workers who want the freedom and flexibility of this type of employment.

Employee Implications

Adding an employee to the payroll costs more than their basic salary or wage. Depending on a few variables, the cost is often 1.25 to 1.4 times the salary. That means if you pay someone a salary of $35,000, your actual costs likely will range from $43,750 to $49,000 (although there may be tax savings to offset some of these costs).

Some of the considerations for full-time employees include benefits and costs, such as:

Payroll Taxes and Other Expenses

Hiring a full-time employee means that a business owner must pay a number of payroll tax costs. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects more in payroll taxes than any other kind of income. Payroll taxes include:

Payroll taxes can also include state income taxes, state unemployment taxes, and even local taxes (such as supporting school boards and transit).

4. Find a New Location

Often, a business moves to a different location, perhaps a bigger one, to access a new market, because of better leasing/rental terms, or for other reasons. While the motive for a move depends on the company in question, certain key considerations and administrative updates apply to most situations.

Cost, Convenience, and Other Key Factors

Some of the common variables business owners should consider in selecting a space suited to their needs include:

When You Move: Updating Key Records

Keep in mind a change in address can entail making changes to business documents, such as the Articles of Incorporation. For a low fee and associated state fees, ZenBusiness can file required amendments, such as changes in address, business name, or ownership structure.

ZenBusiness also offers its registered agent services to small businesses. State agencies require corporations and LLCs to appoint a registered agent when they form their business. So, a registered agent service can act as the main point of contact between your company and the Secretary of State or another official government office, receiving service of process, correspondence, and other important legal notices.

For a low annual price, ZenBusiness offers the registered agent services you need to meet state requirements, which include a dedicated office open during business hours, the ability to be served legal notices, and the ability to quickly relay all legal documents to the appropriate people at your business.

5. Invest in Equipment and Other Tools

One important facet of business growth is investing in the right equipment tools to produce a product or provide a service. While the actual equipment used can vary from industry to industry — ranging from laptop computers in offices to heavy machinery in a manufacturing facility — it serves a vital role in producing a product or offering a service cost-effectively.

Once you decide on the equipment that your business needs, the next step is to determine whether you will buy or lease it. More than considering the cost for each, the decision has to weigh maintenance, tax deductions, flexibility, and more. Depending on your circumstances, one option’s cost-benefit might make it a better bet than the other.

Pros of a Leasing
Cons of a Leasing
Pros of a Buying
Cons of a Buying

Looking for Savings: Short and Long Term

When investing in equipment for your business, you should not just be guided by price and short-term savings. Cheap equipment may not last as long as quality equipment, incurring large repair bills and early replacement costs. It can also impede the productivity of employees.

If businesses think short term rather than long with their equipment, this can restrict their growth, dampen their competitiveness, and stop them from exploring new markets.

Deduct Your Business Expenses

When looking at the federal rules for deducting business expenses from your tax burden, your equipment and supplies are handled differently. Business supplies (such as computer paper) are typically used up in less than a year and can be used as a deduction on your taxes the year they were purchased.

Business equipment, such as a computer, is considered a long-term asset, and its cost is depreciated over time (it is taken as a deduction in increments over the useful life of the equipment). 

In accounting, equipment is considered a capital asset or fixed asset used by the business to make a profit. Gains or losses on the sales of capital assets are handled differently from regular business sales income. Capital gains are taxed differently from sales income.

There are three types of costs you can capitalize:

How to Create an Operating Agreement

Operating Agreements should be customized to your particular business; however, there are some standard items to include. When it’s time for you to create your business’s Operating Agreement, you could hire an attorney. However, that option is expensive and takes time.With ZenBusiness’s accounting services, your small business can maximize your tax deductions for business equipment and supplies to take advantage of all the benefits to which you are legally entitled.

6. Build a Better Website

These days, an attractive and well-functioning website can be as important to a business as a brick-and-mortar location, or even more so. There has been a massive consumer shift to e-commerce, researching, and making purchases online. Some sources predict that the U.S. will have 300 million online shoppers by 2023, or 91% of the population.

Small businesses without a strong web presence are already at a strategic disadvantage in the fast-changing marketplace.

Make Your Business Findable Online

Since most consumers search online for products and services, it’s essential that you secure your own business domain (internet address). ZenBusiness can secure a domain that aligns with your new business name and protects you from anyone else purchasing it.

With it, you will be able to create a website for your business, with connected email addresses, to publicize your company and sell your products or services online or in a physical store.

As you create a robust website, upgraded with full e-commerce and online ordering capabilities, and optimized according to best search engine optimization (SEO) practices, you will find more new customers seeking you out and growing your business.

Enhance Your Website: Form and Function

Just as an attractive store with a great layout will attract business, it should have a functional and attractive website. When you purchase a ZenBusiness plan, you can use the ZenBusiness website builder to quickly create a strong website, using an easy drag-and-drop interface to add images, videos, Google maps, and much more with the click of a button. You can also:

Once you’ve finished building your site, you can launch it and begin your new online selling adventure.

7. Create a Marketing Strategy

While it is nice to think you will build a new business and people will just come, the truth is that you need to have a sound, strategic marketing strategy. Business owners who neglect this and decide to fly with the seat of their pants can expect a rough landing as the realities of a competitive marketplace hit home.

Audience, Platforms, and Selling Proposition

A good marketing plan takes time, thought, money, and preparation to put in place. Some of the key components of a marketing strategy include:

Marketing Math: Budget and Return on Investment

Any marketing strategy should include a complete breakdown of the plan’s costs in a detailed budget. It’s imperative to be as accurate as possible, with a detailed understanding of the outcomes to justify every marketing expense and avoid financial headaches. Once the plan is set into motion, you should closely track the costs to catch overruns before they happen.

Part of doing the marketing math is to calculate a return on investment for initiatives. While a strategy might command a certain amount of consumer interest, does it generate enough revenue to make it a worthwhile investment?

Ongoing Optimization

A marketing strategy works best if it is a living document, incorporating new insights and experience as the business operates. Look for opportunities as they arise. Don’t become attached to how you are used to doing things and fixed formulas. Change may be needed because:

Part of doing the marketing math is to calculate a return on investment for initiatives. While a strategy might command a certain amount of consumer interest, does it generate enough revenue to make it a worthwhile investment?

8. Protect Your Business From Potential Threats

Running a small business does come with certain risks that, if mishandled, can set you back. With proper planning and protections in place, you can keep on track with your plans for long-term growth and sustainable success.

Plan for All Possibilities

Some of the costly risks potentially facing your business include:

For companies looking for protection and peace of mind, ZenBusiness’s businessinsurance offerings have the coverage they need at one reduced price. You can get a quote for a business owner’s policy (BOP) that protects you with general liability, commercial property insurance, and additional coverage options based on your needs.

The bundled coverage comes at a reasonable cost and can be tailored to your business’s specific requirements. We have partnered with a few strategic insurance partners to offer BOP that is specifically designed for small businesses and startups, covering claims from theft, fires, and any other property damage, along with personal injuries that result from the operation of your business.

Utilize a Strong Operating Agreement (for an LLC)

A strong Operating Agreement for an LLC can also help businesses overcome potential conflicts and difficulties. Outlining the rules and plans governing your company, it provides the structure and framework needed to grow your business. An Operating Agreement helps:

Our Operating Agreement template can help you develop an Operating Agreement that clearly outlines which actions are acceptable for your company and how it will be governed, as well as creating a succession plan if needed.

Get Your Business Growing With ZenBusiness

Starting a business is a great adventure and one of the most fulfilling things you can do. By adopting a strategic approach to launching and running your business, you can ensure that you are prepared to deal with the costs of operating it, manage payments and revenue, hire the workers you need, find the best location for your business, get the equipment required for your goods or services, set up a powerful e-commerce presence, develop an effective marketing strategy, and get insurance protection for liability and property issues.

Since this is a lot to juggle, and since so much is at stake, it is good to have a partner like ZenBusiness, who can work with you in the months and years ahead to smooth out the bumpy road to success, ensuring you have everything you need to create your dream business.

Come to us today to discover how we can use technology and automated processes to provide a fast and low-cost business formation service that meets your unique business needs, whether they involve:

ZenBusiness can help you with many of the details of setting up and running your business, so you can concentrate on what’s important: growing your business and seeing it flourish.

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