When you are starting up a small business, it’s important to be sure you have all your basics covered first. For example, be sure you have a product/service that people can benefit from, and be sure you have enough money to cover the start-up costs, as well as marketing costs.
Part of these start up costs may be in the form of company formation, trust creation, business name registration, marketing materials, stock, licenses, equipment, leases or any number of other outlays.
Too many fledgling businesses fail because the owners believe they are going to be profitable within a few months. It may be up to a year before you can draw money out of the business to pay your self with. So plan for enough capital to ensure you survive long enough to be profitable!
When you know which type of product/service you want your company to be based on, you need to come up with a name. The name can be the hardest part for some people because it’s something you set in stone, and what customers will know you by.
Try coming up with something that’s not too long, but yet still catchy. You don’t want anything long, especially if the business is online, or even when making a website for your business. Customers don’t want to have to type in a long website address every time.
You will want to be sure one of the first things you do when starting up small business is to start marketing. Contact the local business chamber and any appropriate networking or referral groups to start marketing your business with.
In the beginning you won’t have a huge budget for marketing. You want to generate enough business at a low cost to bring in some revenue – the idea being the business funds the marketing effort. Later (let’s be positive) when you are making enough revenue to cover costs and provide profits, you can start allocation a percentage of your gains to your marketing budget.
Be sure to go with what you can afford because the temptation can be to splurge on expensive advertising and promotion. The most effective way to market your business initially is on the ground and face to face at networking events and gaining referrals through your activities.
You need to get your name and products out there so people can learn about them first. Oh, and every lead you get make sure you add it to a database, whether via a CRM or even Excel spreadsheet, and follow up.
Social media has come a long way lately. Many small businesses and even large corporations are flocking to many different social network platforms to promote their offerings. The list is long and growing with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Instagram and Google Plus, to name but a few.
Just remember, if you’re a one man/woman show, you only have yourself to spread over all the various options when it comes to marketing your business. The critical thing is to have a clear, written strategy that allocates your precious time to only those activities that will give you the very best return on your effort (ROE).
Social media has huge potential for your business, however, it can also suck time and energy from you that would be better (initially) devoted to “old style” strategies – networking, alliance partnerships, referral groups etc. By all means include social media marketing in your marketing plan. If you have the time and a well though out content marketing strategy, go for it.
Have goals set when starting up a small business. You want to make sure that you know which priorities should come first. Set them and you will be amazed at how organized and effective it can make you.
Be sure that when you do first start gaining customers you follow up with them every 4-6 weeks. This is important, as it will show the customer that they are important to you and you value their business. It’s best to retain your customers long-term as eventually that will lead to more word-of-mouth business, which is the lowest cost marketing there is.
You will do fine if you do the above and repeat when necessary.
Brian helps small business owners win back their time, passion and performance utilizing a proven step by step blueprint for success. A coach and consultant for over 10 years specializing in business growth strategies.