Top advice on how to start your own business
Starting your own business is definitely an exciting and fulfilling experience! However, it can be intimidating if you don’t know what you are doing.
There are so many things that you have to do to be successful in your business. As a start-up it is important to gain new customers by drawing them in to your business. Then once you are established you’ll have an easier time selling your products/services to existing customers.
Here’s some steps to help:
Marketing research helps you to know what customers are looking for when shopping for your product/service. Knowing your customer needs is essential for gaining momentum for your business. This would come into play when marketing as first glances have to keep a viewer interested and engaged enough to become memorable.
For example, a company that manufactures lunchbox food for children (Referred to Smart Snacks in this story) would undertake research on their target market – being parents. They would most likely find that parents are focussed on “healthy,” “low cost,” and “great taste (sweet).”
Write what sells
Similar to newspapers, you don’t want to save the best ‘til last. To interest readers, give bold headlines straight away and sharp easy-to-understand introductions using keywords from your research. Point out the differences that your product/service has over your competitors.
Adding customer quotes and testimonials about your business/service, will strengthen your website and business’s reputation.
Give examples and prove to your customers on how your business is successful and unique, and why they should choose to become a client. Giving guarantees helps also if it is possible with your business model.
Going off the previous example, Smart Snacks may go with the following:
Fun healthy lunchtime snacks that won’t get thrown out.
Do you get frustrated with seeing expensive food products come back each day because your child doesn’t want to eat them? With Smart Snacks by your side, you can be sure that the fun healthy food will be munched on day in day out, and will give your child the nutritional value that they need to get the most out of the day.
“I was so happy to finally find a product that Johnny loves to eat. He doesn’t like sandwiches that got soggy, or the sugary treats that I normally see on the supermarket shelves. Thank-you Smart Snacks.”
In today’s market, it is a necessity when beginning a new business to hit the ground running with a great sales-driven website. This is important as online sources are a fast and low-cost way to take your business to new customers. Social Media is also a great add-on to your online marketing strategy which will help create a community around your brand and promote referrals.
For example, Smart Snacks may wish to start off with a catalogue site that lists product information, with the intention of adding a shopping cart down the track. This is something that iSonic can help with. A social media campaign could also be set up whereby parents could send in pictures of their children eating the food in funny places etc.
Search Engine Marketing and Google Ranking
Once you have your new website, gaining ranks in the search engines (such as Google and Bing) is an effective way to get noticed by users looking for specific topics. Using keywords in your titles, and keywords in links, help to raise your website credibility for those terms and therefore heighten the site’s ranking in Google searches. Since Google’s search engine is a fair service, you are able to compete against the bigger brands.
For example, Smart Snacks would be on the same playing field as larger corporations like Sanitarium. Take advantage of this great opportunity and work hard to raise your website ranks on Google.
NOTE: All websites built by iSonic include training on how to manage your site, as well as optimising your site for Google. It is always a good idea to take advantage of this when you have such an easy to manage site at your fingertips.
When getting eCommerce Shopping Carts built, should we start small or go large from the get go?
This is an important question that should be asked at the inception of any business.
For most business start-ups, time is available, but money is tight – therefore it is better to start off small. A common mistake by start-up businesses is to get overwhelmed by the growing to-do list and focussing on the wrong responsibilities. They then ignore the most important steps of starting a business (e.g. Generating leads and sales should generally take up 80% of your time).
How many products should we start with?
This is a common question asked by online retailers – usually resellers of other branded products. Selling fewer products in the early stages of your business is generally the way to go. By completing market research and finding out what your target customer’s desire, you will determine what products you will sell quickly and easily. Rather than having a lot of products that you need to manage and keep track of, it is better to have fewer products resulting in more purchases and more streamlined business. As a general rule, 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your product offering. More info: Pareto Principle (80-20 rule).
Can you take advantage of other business’s customer networks?
Have you got access to an existing customer base/a customer network? If not, it may be an idea to find complimentary businesses that target similar people to your business but do not overlap with your product offering.
For example, if you were starting a florist or flower arrangement business, you could easily contact wedding planner who could refer your services. Building this relationship would make the wedding planner’s life a lot easier, and also help grow your business. As a general I do think it is a good idea to have your products/services discounted initially to get these great resources on board with your business (e.g. half price flower arrangement on the next wedding). Nurture these relationships and keeping your business moving through the slow times will become a breeze.
Hopefully now, you are even more excited about your new start-up and have some great ideas to help give it the push it needs. At iSonic, we work with businesses of all sizes daily and have garnished some great knowledge/ideas from how they grew. We are happy to share this knowledge with you, so feel free to set up a meeting – we’ll bring the coffee.