Running your own business is a big leap into the unknown. There are lots of decisions to make, and you want to hit the ground running. Our commercial business experts have collated five top tips for entrepreneurs who are starting out.
What’s the idea?
You must have an idea, right? One of the most difficult parts of starting a business is sticking to a plan and collating the good ideas. Before you begin, we recommend assembling a list of information, advice, influencers in your chosen industry, and priorities. Sort them into a solid list and pin it to a board/wall.
Begin to drill down on your list, what product/services are you going to offer? Where are you going to get you initial funding from? Who are your competitors? How do you plan on marketing your product/services?
Know your customers, before you’ve got any
One of the most important factors for a new business is its customer pipeline. You may not know who your first customer is, or will be but it’s important to have a target market and some customer personas. Getting you the 1st customer is the most difficult but, by using some common yet smart marketing techniques, you can begin to grow your pipeline in no time.
You may want to start networking either at events or via Facebook/Twitter and inviting people to sit down for a coffee to discuss your new venture. Although your first customer will be a customer you’ll never forget, try not to focus on solely one client and develop a pipeline while you’re servicing your first customer.
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
You don’t need a large marketing budget to create an effective marketing plan. Many marketing tools are free and require your investment in time to make them a success. Modern social media marketing tools including; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn are all free.
Whatever you choose to use, you need to understand where your customers are and where they network, you need to know how to reach them, and what their needs are. Even if you don’t have a developed website yet, there’s a lot you can do locally to promote your business.
Ensure customers can reach you on multiple channels and that you are not spread too thinly trying to focus your efforts on multiple channels.
How do your customers pay?
Payment is a BIG part of a business – how are your customers going to pay? Once you’ve got that first customer, it’s an exciting process sending that first invoice, unless you’ve not got the right billing system in place and you spend hours trying to figure out your final numbers.
There are many billing solutions for small businesses now or, you could use the good ole’ fashioned spreadsheet. You’ll also want to keep an audit trail as your business grows.
Never stand still, always be changing
All businesses need to review and change from time to time.
Once you’ve got your first client through the door, you’ve got a reliable brand, developing the marketing plan and a structured operation. Now is the time begins to review any stumbles or spikes in your business. You could even start to gain feedback from clients/customers and develop upon their favorite products and how they like to be commented to.
Once you’ve got the facts from your customers, develop a list of goals or objectives for the next month. You may be looking at working less, growing your customer base by a certain percentage or expanding your time. You need structure to be a success, and you need to use research from your customer base to grow your pipeline.
Contributed by: onecalldirect.co.uk