Starting your own small business is no small feat. This job requires far more than full-time commitment and typically involves a lot of upfront investment for long-term gain.

Juggling the multiple aspects of small business ownership is not only challenging but vital to the life and success of your business. Drop one ball for too long, and your entire business will slide toward failure.

So what can you do to prevent failure and ensure success?

There are plenty of tools that you can use to set your business up for success and to eliminate the possibility of failure. These tools, combined with hard work and dedication, can give your business the boost it needs to get off the ground running and stay ahead of your competition.

A Business Plan

Perhaps the most obvious tool that you need as a small business owner is a plan. A business plan, to be exact. Your business plan outlines all of the important details of how your business will start and operate.

From identifying ownership to establishing operating procedures to guide your day-to-day activities, your business plan is an essential guidebook for running your business – created by you and for you as a business owner.

Even if you’ve been in the business a while and are not facing startup challenges, it’s a good idea to revise your business plan to make it more consistent with the operation you’re currently running and to outline new goals you’d like to meet. Any change, even a small operational change, is important to note in an updated copy of your business plan.

This document should be a “living document” that changes and adapts as your business grows.

A Solid Accounting System

Even if you have a fantastic accountant to handle your business accounts, there’s always more to be done to keep your expenses and income in line. Managing your receipts, invoices and other financial information in a desktop or cloud-based accounting system gives you the organizational tools you need to keep track of every penny.

Accounting systems can be shared and synced across multiple users so that you can keep track of components while your accountant sorts out the particulars. Keeping a virtual record of your finances is also an important safeguard in the event you need to pull records for an audit.

A Mentor

Going it alone is pretty much impossible when it comes to running your own business. You need individuals who are more practiced than you in the industry that you’re trying to operate within.

A solid mentor can help you to work through business-related problems and plot strategies for working through your business operations. Choose someone who has experience in your industry or who has a successful business of their own.

Spend time getting to know your mentor and developing a trust that you can later rely on when you are working through problems or in need of advice.

A Calendar

Sure, you’ve got a lot on your plate, but are you able to manage it all or do deadlines seem to pop up out of the blue?

Setting up important dates and appointments on a single calendar for your business can help you to keep everything you need in one central location. Use a calendar as a visual reminder for when you need to finish projects and to help you to schedule appointments when they won’t conflict with other activities.

Color coding your calendar can also help to keep you organized. Use different colors to represent work schedules, invoices due and all other manners of pertinent information for your company calendar.

A Self-Care Plan

Let’s face it, running your own business is exhausting! After long days of work and plenty of stress from trying to keep all the moving components in order, you’ve definitely earned yourself a break.

Take some time away from your business to catch up on your own self-care. Even if you take small steps toward better self-care, you’ll begin to feel better than you will from working round the clock every day of the week.

When you’re refreshed and rejuvenated, you’ll be able to think more clearly and approach business problems with a clear head. And as a bonus, you’ll also spark your creative process, which might help you to add and implement valuable ideas in the weeks and months to come.

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