We live in an era of entrepreneurship, idea-makers, trailblazers, and brilliant startups. That very same environment accommodates the existence and thriving of small companies that sell you your handmade shoes, your favorite local ice-cream, and your Pilates classes. Everything from digital services made available globally, to a localized small-scale operation can be created and completely set up in a matter of hours, sometimes days if you need specific licenses. All in all, it’s a great time to be your own boss.
Starting a small business today also means you’re up against quite a number of giants and equally eager and thirsty small business owners in your own area, too. Competition shouldn’t be a reason to set you back, but something to drive you forward, among other things. To help you on the road to setting up your own small business that will soon be stable and successful, we’ve listed a few suggestions that should certainly go into the business-building process. Consider them carefully and try adding them to your own business plan that will help you establish your presence.
It all starts with the funds
There’s no business without a cash injection, so building up your business budget before you start the company is a smart move. Whether you turn to crowdfunding for a unique idea, take a loan from a traditional institution such as a bank, or use your own savings, establishing a small business often takes a sizeable initial capital beyond what your local laws prescribe.
Create a budget that you’ll need to cover, everything from website-building, marketing, production, all the way to salaries and providing your product or service. Plus, always make room in your assessment for unexpected emergencies, so that you can keep your business afloat in any eventuality.
Always do your homework first
Vetting your business idea is a significant step in your process, but one that too many eager owners skip. They either believe that their service is unique enough to pass with flying colors, or they think that existing businesses cannot match the quality that you offer. In either case, you need to do the research on the value of your idea, the level of interest in your target demographic, and test how open your industry is to new entities at the moment.
Researching your competition is equally vital to learn about gaps in their services that could help you refine your own idea, and you’ll learn about their most successful campaigns to preferably implement a similar approach. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but you should be well-informed and continuously in the know about the latest changes in your industry, especially just before you launch.
Build your digital presence
It all begins with a reputable, speedy, branded website, so it’s time to put all of your values, promises, and brand identity features into a visual presence paired with storytelling to match your competitors, and even surpass them. Since the safety of your digital presence should be your top priority, learn about domain name security to choose the perfect name and domain for your brand that will keep your business safe from cybercrime.
Common threats include phishing, spyware, and spamming, so this is a good start to think of your business reputation and the safety of your visitors’ data. Implement the latest security measures and protocols in addition to choosing a secure domain, and of course, connect your website with your social media outlets to make it simple for your visitors to find you across different channels. However, this is not a one-time effort, since you’ll need to maintain and upgrade your digital presence on a regular basis.
Create a thorough marketing strategy
There’s so much noise already out there, that it’s excruciatingly difficult for new brands to stand out and get the attention they deserve. Small businesses need to have a carefully-created, detailed marketing strategy if they are to penetrate a market and earn a fair share of the target audience’s attention. For starters, make sure that you use your research and data to choose the channels where your customers spend their time. From specific social media, all the way to relevant market trends that will shape your campaigns, use the data to your advantage to position your brand accordingly.
Claim your business across various directories for stronger SEO results, optimize your website, and make sure that your brand is consistently represented on your site and your social channels. Partner up with complementary businesses in your region to market your services through their own presence, and collaborate with influential people in your industry. It takes time to refine your marketing approach, but you should have a strong, defined presence from the very beginning.
Have a stable source of income
Running a business may seem like a profitable endeavor when you consider the real value of your service or product, but in reality, it takes time for those fruits to fall into your lap. It’s only after several years that you’ll see your business in full bloom, and that is precisely why you need to have a source of income for your life from an alternative source. If you already have a job, don’t leave it just yet. Make sure that your schedule allows you to work enough to earn a living while you slowly build your own small company.
Some endeavors may require more of your time, so you can consider part-time work or temporary and freelance gigs online that give you more leeway to organize your schedule more effectively. The bottom line is, you cannot rely financially on a business that has yet to take up, so find a stable source of income for the time being.
While the climate is indeed very fruitful for business owners and you’ve chosen well to join these business ranks, you need to take a calculated approach to set up your first small business. This will help you ensure greater success, scalability, and you’ll be able to provide a genuinely valuable, helpful solution to your target demographic.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.