Starting your first business is an exciting time. Being your own boss, taking crucial decisions, and creating a vision for your new venture is something you will learn to truly appreciate as your business grows. However, breaking out with a new business is certainly not easy, so here are some tips to guide you on your first business journey.
Do you have a plan?
You may have a brilliant business idea, but do you have plan? You need to know how you are going to achieve your idea. For this, you will require a business plan and strategy detailing the various stages and strands of how you aim to promote, deliver, and achieve your targets. If your business venture requires financial investment, it is even more important that you have an in-depth plan forecasting revenue and turnover predictions.
Of course, all new businesses can be volatile and unpredictable, and sometimes they will develop in unexpected directions – which makes a firm plan or schedule even more important.
Research the market
Before you start your business, you need to make a cool assessment as to how much demand there is for it. It might be a great idea, but if it only has niche appeal, you need to tailor your business plan accordingly. Conversely, if your business courts mass appeal, ask if you are ready to respond when things start taking off.
By doing sufficient market research beforehand, you will not be taken by surprise.
Refine your brand
Think carefully about the image you present – is it a slick and professional identity you want to convey, a relaxed and folksy approach, or a modern and cutting-edge feel? Your business brand encompasses everything from the customer service style to the appearance of your office stationery. You will need to finalize presentational ideas from an early stage so that important details such as promotional literature and marketing campaigns can be rolled out at the best times. Well-designed and attractive office stationary can be sourced on the internet at competitive prices, and consider extra touches such as customized address stamps online to give your business added class and impact.
A well-organized office stocked with great-looking stationary that supports the brand identity is one box every first business should tick.
The permissions and paperwork
All states differ, and the rules will vary according to the type of business, but it is your responsibility to get on top of the permissions and paperwork required for setting up a new venture. Do not neglect this side of the process or it will come back and bite you. It may be necessary to check zoning laws, register copyrights, apply for patents, file partnership or corporate papers, secure licenses or permits, register the business name, organize insurances – going it alone in your first business is no picnic, especially when it comes to the paperwork. The trick is to tackle it all in advance as much as possible so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
There is a lot of free and friendly advice out there for entrepreneurs looking for success, so make sure you tap into the power of local business support networks – you could save yourself time, money, and effort by listening to the expertise and experiences of those who have trodden the same path ahead of you.
Embrace social media
Once you are open for business, how are you going to let everybody know about it? Most businesses now recognize the effectiveness of social media as a marketing tool. All businesses these days have an internet presence in the form of a webpage, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram accounts at the very least.
Social media allows businesses to engage directly with their target audience, giving them invaluable insight into what succeeds and fails in terms of their products or service. Digital marketing has overtaken more traditional methods because it is cheaper, more effective, can be targeted more accurately, and has better market penetration.
For those in new businesses looking to break into a crowded marketplace, smart use of social media quickly garners results. Social media marketing campaigns focusing on competition giveaways and discount codes, for example, are cheap and easy to initiate and quick to engage client feedback. If you are savvy on social media and prepared to put in the time and energy, new businesses can operate on a level playing field with the bigger corporations.
You have a great business idea, tons of energy, and lots of dynamism to devote to your first business. If you optimize your chances with smart planning, great branding, and solid research, the results should be spectacular.