Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you have an idea that could add to the commerce and personality of the Omaha community? Do you feel empowered to take things into your own hands and seek out new opportunities? If so, you’ve probably dreamed of owning your own business and putting your spirit to the test. Is it a little intimidating? Sure it is, but if you have the dream and the spirit to follow through, why not test your ideas and give it a try? Just be certain that you are truly dedicated before taking the plunge, because starting a business can be a bit of an arduous and highly detailed process, but the rewards can cover the price of entry.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a 10-step plan for starting a business, which includes: conducting market research; writing a business plan; funding your business; selecting your business location; choosing a legal structure for your business; choosing your business name; registering your business; getting federal and state tax IDs; applying for licenses and permits; and opening a business bank account. As part of this entire process, we suggest working with a business coach who is a good match for you, hammer out some details, and test your grit. We talked to some savvy business coaches, an accountant, and a commercial built-construction expert in the Omaha area to get some tips for walking the path to business ownership and outfitting your business and employees for success.
Dream Bigger Dreams
When entrepreneurs are planning a new business, the big things are more obvious, but they often miss the little things, according to Teams.Coach (teamscoach.kartra.com) Owner, Executive Coach, and Business and Creative Strategist Michael King, who can help you dig into all the details so you feel empowered throughout the process.
“New business owners tend to miss the small things,” Michael said. “When you manage the small things, big things happen! For example, let’s talk about ‘growth engines,’ which are the things within your organization that multiply themselves. Whatever you make visible is what you attract. A new customer can lead to more new customers. A new business relationship can spawn mutually beneficial environments. As a new business owner launches their business, it can be really helpful to strategically plan to build your growth engines into your business plan.”
Teams.Coach offers business coaching to executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. His process consists of weekly coaching calls, resources, team development, and dream sessions in which he and the client take a look at systems, strategies, marketing, branding, personal leadership development, goals, and how to make a bigger impact faster. He also has digital platforms available to suit each entrepreneur’s schedule.
“Entrepreneurs tend to be the busiest people on the planet,” he said, “so I have set up my platforms for easy access, geared towards the startup and entrepreneur. I love helping startups and entrepreneurs dream bigger dreams and build the constructs that support those dreams.”
Michael describes the need for entrepreneurs to hire business experts to help them achieve their dreams, noting that doing so is the “difference maker between good and great.” As an executive coach, it all comes down to personal relationships and a personalized process. Teams.Coach uses proven strategies for business success, but it’s the personalization that makes them work because there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to business coaching.
“Your business is a living organism with its own unique challenges and opportunities,” Michael said. “You need an extra set of eyes, ears, and heart to help you navigate and conquer. Our clients will be the first to tell you that we have helped them be that center of conversation in their perspective field. As your executive coach, I will help you define what you do better than everyone else and your story will be heard. Whoever tells the best story wins the culture.”
Starting and growing a business comes with extensive responsibilities. With this in mind, it’s important that you focus on your strengths and hire the right experts to handle portions of your business that are otherwise specialized—workforce management and compliance, for example. Heartland Payroll Solutions (heartlandpaymentsystems.com) helps save you time and improve your accuracy in these areas by automating and streamlining activities. That means you can spend more time growing your business instead of running it!
“As you start your new business, and as your business grows, so do your responsibilities,” said Senior Product Advisor Joan Kurtenbach. “This makes it increasingly difficult to keep up with workforce management and compliance, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed and make incidental mistakes. What platform should I use to hire? How do I know if my employees and I are filling out the I-9 correctly? Wait, we have a federal and a state W4 in Nebraska now? How do I pay overtime to my non-exempt employees? These questions and similar ones are common in our industry, and that compliance is what Heartland Payroll helps with. We are a secure online platform that integrates your workforce management activities, including hiring, onboarding, payroll, time-tracking, HR, and integration.”
The benefits of partnering with Heartland Payroll include maintaining a management system that is scalable, or unified and flexible to meet your business requirements out of the gate and as you grow. They also provide integration, connecting payroll, hiring, time tracking, and HR Solutions to streamline back-office operations and exchanges data with accounting services, Worker’s Comp, 401K, timeclocks, point of sale, and more.
Heartland also removes an elephant from your shoulders by ensuring that your business remains compliant with all rules and regulations. They provide a personal service representative who understands your business, serving as an extension of your team and your single point of contact for all your service needs. Crucial in technology times, Heartland also protects your data, employing industry-leading security technology, controls, and compliance to protect your business and data from security breaches.
“The final result of your partnership with Heartland Payroll is improved efficiency and productivity, while also reducing back office expenses,” Joan said. “Outsourcing a non-revenue-generating activity is imperative when you are starting your new business.”
Taking Care of Yourself
Business owners generally are among the busiest people out there, so if you’re starting a business, be prepared for the long hours and tremendous responsibilities. Be sure that you don’t lose yourself or let yourself go in the process of creating and establishing your dream business, though. It’s virtually impossible to achieve ongoing business success without ongoing care for your mental and physical health. That’s where 365DailyHustle (365dailyhustle.com) comes in—especially for professional businesswomen.
“Most entrepreneurs and women starting a business don’t take care of themselves,” said CEO and Founder Karissa Adkins. “Everything personal tends to go to the back burner when you’re starting or running a business. Working with a coach helps keep you top-of-mind while building your business, without feeling burnt out, stressed out, and overwhelmed. I can help you BOSS UP in the business world and take care of yourself at the same time by guiding you through my 10-week Reclaim Your Best Life program. My niche is helping busy Bossbabe entrepreneurs who have that hustle going on, who are driven and focused. You have to make yourself a priority if you want your business to thrive, and I’m really good at holding women accountable, I’m not afraid to be honest, and I’m not afraid to call BS. In the end, your balance with family and business are going to be far better than ‘just alright.’”
Marketing is a crucial element to the success of any business, and many new business owners don’t believe they have the funding to hire a professional marketing person or team. In those situations, Karissa can help build an in-depth guide—far more detailed that the average business plan you need to get business loans—so you have a specific plan for maintaining active marketing efforts because without marketing, you can’t plan on growing.
“Many entrepreneurs don’t have the budget to hire someone for marketing, so we create a more in-depth road map that allows them to contribute to marketing,” Karissa said. “After you have your business plan, now what? How do you implement those tasks so that you hit the milestones needed to grow your business?”
Delegating tasks is key. Without it, the evolving equation goes something like this: A. I’m the only one who can do it + B. I don’t have the funds to pay someone else + plus C. Nobody else can do it right, so I have to do it all = D. burnout.
“As a small-business owner, many tend to get so busy with tedious tasks—or what I like to call busy work—and they are not operating at a genius level,” Karissa said. “You can’t be everything to everyone and still have a thriving business and healthy life. I help be realistic with your expectations, including possibly hiring an assistant now and again to take pieces off of your plate, so you can level up to Genius!”
Karissa’s success with clients of 365DailyHustle stems from having made the mistakes and developed strategies and solutions accordingly in her own entrepreneurial career.
“Don’t spend a bunch of money learning the hard way,” Karissa said. “You need to learn to let go and hire a professional. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. I drink the Kool-Aid I preach. This is my second business. I sold the first one for profit after two years. I came to recognize that I cannot do it all and still offer my best to clients. I recognized that I absolutely have to delegate or outsource some tasks to stay focused on my end goal.”
Your Built Environment
So you’ve made it through all the brainstorming, paperwork, strategizing, funding, and minutia to start your business. Now it’s time to make it a place that people want to work safely and happily and customers or clients want to frequent. We know the next step: Contact AOI Corporation (aoicorp.com) to ace the built environment! They offer comprehensive services for new construction, renovations, and expansion, provide furniture options that leverage environments to create greater value for businesses, and offer an entire line of sustainable prefabricated modular interior construction.
“AOI focuses on the built environment, whether that be in your home office, a small business, or a corporate tower,” said AOI Omaha Vice President of Furniture Becky Costello. “We have everything from Herman Miller highly ergonomic task chairs to DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time) modularly constructed walls, and everything in between.”
Integrating technology needs for growth is crucial to starting a business. You’ll save a lot of time and effort down the road if you plan for long-term technology needs in spaces like huddle rooms or meeting spaces. AOI can help you strategize your built environment for now—and when you grow, considering your specific needs.
“Every buyer’s situation is so different, which is why our furniture consultants are trained on things like ergonomics and warranty, to help you make the best product decisions,” Becky said. “Our design professionals are trained on local codes and life-safety issues within the built environment, as well. To that end, we also have online shopping available through our various manufacturers, so if you do not need personal help just yet, we have other avenues for you. We help you make the most informed decision possible, whatever your situation.”
Among AOI’s newest products are Framery Pods, which are soundproof pods that make a perfect place to have meetings, brainstorming sessions, and important one-on-one conversations in private without disturbing the entire office—or the office disturbing them. This is just one example of what they deliver as Nebraska’s authorized dealer for Framery, a globally recognized brand known for offering innovative workplace solutions to many of the world’s leading companies, including Microsoft, Puma, LinkedIn, and Tesla. AOI is also a certified dealer for Herman Miller furniture, which transforms ordinary spaces into collaborative, innovative environments for the 21st century.
“AOI is the only full-service Herman Miller dealer in the state of Nebraska,” Becky said. “As a company, AOI can build your building, add the offices and meeting spaces, then outfit all of it with amazing furniture that will grow and change with your business!”
Planning for the Future
Running a business is no small task, and keeping it positioned for growth is even more difficult. As you go, you’ll need strategies to make more time, build better teams, and increase money to your bottom line. It can be daunting, but ActionCOACH (actioncoach.com) can help. They have grown to be the No. 1 business coaching firm in the world, with hundreds of proven systems and strategies that are guaranteed to get results. They even offer FREE business tools, like webinars, videos, whitepapers, and seminars, to help make any business in need more successful. They can help you develop a clear basis for what you want to accomplish with your business overall, as planning without a purpose is not planning at all.
“If you follow the definition of planning as your guide, you will see why the process is so critical to any company’s success,” said ActionCOACH Certified Business Coach Jim Barger. “In organizations, planning can become a management process, concerned with defining goals for a future direction and determining the missions and resources to achieve those targets. To meet the goals, business owners may develop plans, such as a business or marketing plan. Planning always has a purpose and means you have a sense in mind. While tactics and strategies to achieve the goals set forth might change, the PLAN—the very foundation of what you want to accomplish—shouldn’t.”
Once you have your team in place, ActionCOACH can guide you through establishing a good team atmosphere and ensure that your employees have access to necessary training and resources. They provide excellent resources for a variety of needs related to training and strengthening your team, as well as other tools specifically designed for new business owners. Jim started ActionCOACH in Omaha about 12 years ago and has built and coached large businesses in Singapore, New Zealand, and all across the U.S. He has built a team of coaches and partners who will help any business achieve their dreams and strengthen their teams. He shared some advice to consider when starting a new business:
“When you start a business, answer the question, ‘When will it be finished?’” he said. “The question makes you think about the ultimate aim or purpose of the business. When will it deliver its promise to you, the investor and creator? ActionCOACH defines a finished business as one that conducts its daily work, like sales, production, and accounting, without the owner’s time. This is impossible in a startup but is a worthy goal, and the design of your new business can address these issues. A business that works without the owner is a cash-flow asset that creates income and wealth. That’s why you start a business!”
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!
While networking and making personal connections can’t be replaced, it’s impossible to get out and shake all the hands you want to shake while also running other major functions of your business. This is why it is important to invest in a marketing strategy that works for you. Find where your target audience is and put your name out there, be that through print, social media, TV, radio, etc. Marketing is an important tool that every business should take advantage of in both the early days of business and beyond. Savvy business owners understand that marketing creates brand awareness and gets the business name out to the public. People may not even remember when or where they’ve seen your name, but if you use effective marketing and advertising, they’ll simply know they’ve heard of you, which puts your business in a good position.
We, of course, believe in the marketing power of Strictly Business. People often ask how running an ad in our magazine works or how to get an article published. There are so many different parts that make up Strictly Business. We run ads of all sizes as well and each client gets a free press release to make important announcements, specials, company events, partnerships, personnel changes, and whatever they have going. The pieces are then published in print and online, reaching a large local audience. We recently started offering a social media add-on for our clients for the small fee of $35 a month, for which we share their content on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to extend the reach of their messages.
Our goal is to present our clients as the expert in their field. We get to know our clients and their needs so we can take a personal approach to spreading awareness of their businesses and the products and/or services they offer in a way that resonates with their potential clientele.
Starting a business is an exciting venture for dedicated entrepreneurs, and the options are endless. It’s no simple task, though, and we recommend working with some of these experts to get it right the first time—and to help you achieve ongoing growth!