5 Tips to Help Start Up a Business
Starting up a business can be a big step when you think that you are lacking many of the skills required. Most things can be learned, however, and you can always hire people to fill in those gaps, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.
In this article, we will discuss some ideas that will help you to start your first business.
Have a Plan to Follow
If you have the start-up capital, perhaps because of being made redundant, it is tempting to not have much of a plan and just see how it goes. This is, though, not the plan that a bank would expect you to have if lending you money. You would, for instance, need to come up with a business plan that shows clearly your projected figures for the next few years and shows how you are going to move from potential losses to breaking even to profits that will pay back any loan.
So, know your finances, whether or not you are using a bank to fund your new venture. Cost things out using a spreadsheet. Do not leave things to chance. The money you have saved is at stake and the business you propose may never have been financially viable. You may need to modify your ideas slightly, once you have laid things out clearly on a spreadsheet, or in a notebook.
Know Your Markets
An important part of setting up your business is to do your research. This means market research to establish who are your customers and what are their preferences. Who is it that is likely to want to buy your products or services? That is if you can make them affordable and attractive enough. To find answers to these questions, you can use different market research tools and techniques, such as conjoint analysis, for example. However, someone who is new to market research may wonder: What is Conjoint analysis? A conjoint analysis identifies consumers’ preferences and uses that information to help select product features, assess price sensitivity, and forecast market share.
Market research can be done in the street or online. If it is an online business, then you will want to make full use of social media to find your answers. Also, searching the websites of others offering a similar product or service will give you ideas. Check out where others are advertising to know just how you can contact the right people that will be your eventual customers and so drive your business forward with their custom.
Promotion or Advertising?
The difference between promotion and advertising is that promotion is free, whereas advertising costs. When starting up a business it is important to be noticed as soon as you open the doors or your online shop. Telling people properly is about telling as many people as you can about your business in the early stages and then keeping that interest going by continually developing your brand’s identity.
Gain as much free promotion as you can from newspapers that are covering local news. They will want to hear your story and so may run a feature on you for free because of the local interest. Briefing columns in newspapers will often put something short in and give you a mention. Get some flyers or booklets printed from someone like Printivity and put them wherever you can for free. You will then only have the cost of producing the material. Shops with a shared interest may agree to display your details. This also encourages people to their shop who will read these notices.
Advertising to the whole world is possible when you make use of online services and social media accounts. The more you are mentioned, the more the word will spread about your business. Take every opportunity to post something about yourself, whether it is initiated by you or responding to someone else’s post.
If you want your website to be at the top of search lists to be found, then consider digital marketing from the start. The fastest method will be PPC (Pay Per Click). This is where you pay for each advert clicked on. The alternative is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which uses organic searches. This is a slightly longer-term strategy that produces higher ranking positions in search results, if not quite as high as the PPC ones, but in return does not cost per advert. So, this is more financially friendly, perhaps. Although, you cannot put a price on how many extra sales either method could generate for your business when you need to get it established. The return on investment will be continually monitored by whatever company it is you decide to use.
Consider making use of a video personalization platform to create an interactive video for your website, as this is likely to engage customers or clients better than a block of text and a few still images. You want to produce something that leads customers directly to the checkout and that is memorable and talked about. An interactive video can better demonstrate and sell a product than 1,000 words.
Writing engaging content for your website and other places that lead customers back to your website will be important. This can also be done by getting in touch with professionals from a digital marketing agency similar to Visual Objects.
Consider going on a course at your local college, or online, to learn about business. Accounting and computer courses will prove useful. There are short courses available as well as ones that lead to exams. This will help you to run your business and will also be something useful to have done for the future, should you return to employment in any of these areas.
Remember that learning is a continuous process and that mistakes will be made along the way. It is how we deal with them and learn from them that counts. The best mistakes are the ones that do not cost us financially, just make us more knowledgeable and wise.
In conclusion, have a plan before launching your business, know who it is you are selling to, and gain as much free promotion for your business as you can. Always consider digital marketing at an early stage so that your website can be easily found from internet searches. Finally, do not forget that you can learn skills that are lacking by attending a course at your local college. Also, of course, there are online courses that you could go on that you may find more flexible in terms of when you can devote time to them.