If you’re a military veteran that owns a small business, you’re in good company. According to Hourly, almost half of all businesses in the United States are classified as small businesses, and they employ 60.6 million people.

Running a small business can be difficult. Over half will fail in their first year. However, you can improve your odds of success by following some essential advice from the Give Foundation.

Review Your Value Proposition

After your military career, maybe you started your business because you wanted to be your own boss or you wanted to pursue a life-long passion. Whatever the case, Help Scout points out that you need to answer this fundamental question: Is there a market for the service or product you want to sell?

Stay Organized

To-do lists are ineffective ways to get things done. You need to schedule time for important projects on an online calendar to get anything accomplished.

Another way to stay organized is to tackle your most challenging tasks during the first part of the day. Save your less-demanding projects for the mid-afternoon slump.

Finally, eliminate distractions by putting your phone in do not disturb mode.

Communicate with Employees and Vendors

Good communication with your employees and vendors helps everyone know their responsibilities. The more your employees know about the business, the better they can support it. In the current work-from-home culture, one way to stay in contact with employees is to utilize chat tools like Slack or consider a unified communications solution.

Face-to-face is still the best way to communicate, however. Remember that employees prefer to receive information from their immediate managers. Therefore, make sure you provide them with appropriate talking points. Regarding vendor communications, it’s best to put everything in writing to reduce the risk of misinterpretation.

Update Your Software Regularly

The AME Group notes that updating your software regularly should be done for several reasons. First, your computer system is at risk from hackers when you neglect to update it. You also put other computer systems at risk, including your customers’ and vendors’, when you fail to update your software. You can easily spread malware whenever you interact with others online.

Finally, software developers constantly add new and improved features to improve the end-user experience. Updating sales and marketing software features, for example, can drive business growth. On the financial side, being able to have real-time insight into customer accounts is important when it comes to tracking and evaluating consumer spending behavior. Using an integrated API to get bank transactions allows you to look into transaction history up to 24 months, as well as get notified when new transactions occur.

This calls for high security, which can be achieved with regular software updates. If you’re concerned about adding that extra layer of security that can keep your data — and your customers’ important information — from the eyes of hackers and criminals. Work with people knowledgeable in IT to develop a plan that will help shield your business from attacks like phishing, viruses, and ransomware, to name a few.

Consider Forming a Limited Liability Corporation

For many small businesses, an LLC is the ideal business structure. An LLC combines the benefits of a sole proprietorship or partnership with a corporation. For example, the owner of an LLC files a simple tax return like a sole proprietorship and receives the liability protections of a corporation. However, forming an LLC can be tricky. So if filing Articles of Incorporation and complying with tax and regulatory requirements make your eyes glaze over, consider using a formation service, which can also serve as an LLC organizer.

The Rewards of Owning Your Own Small Business

Running a small business can be challenging, but the rewards can be great. For example, a recent survey confirmed that two-thirds of small business owners rated their job satisfaction as “extremely high” or “high.” That said, just as it was in your military branch and unit, you’re in good company when it comes to living a fulfilled and purposeful life.

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