You may have a great job, and you’re good at it, too. But deep down, you want to start a business of your own. You have a hobby you want to turn into a side hustle or an idea you want to grow into a product. You’ve spent some time gathering inspiration, collecting tips, and 2018 is your year!
As you start to make the leap fear can set in, not knowing where to start, feeling disorganised—there’s definitely no shortage of things that can hold people back or make people nervous. You’re further along than you think though by just being in the right mindset of wanting to start your business. This article will aim to provide you with useful marketing guidance as you start your journey.
1. Identify the Right Business for You.
Give yourself permission to explore. Be willing to look at different facets of yourself (your personality, social styles, age) and listen to your intuition. We tend to ignore intuition even though deep down we often know the truth. Ask yourself “What gives me energy even when I’m tired?”
How do you know what business is “right” for you? There are three common approaches to entrepreneurship:
Do What You Know: Have you been made redundant or want a change? Look at work you have done for others in the past and think about how you could package those skills and offer them as your own services or products.
Do What Others Do: Learn about other businesses that interest you. Once you have identified a business you like, emulate it.
Solve a Common Problem: Is there a gap in the market? Is there a service or product you would like to bring to market? (Note: This is the highest-risk of the three approaches.) If you choose to do this, make sure that you become a student and gain knowledge first before you spend any money. Whilst it comes with risk….. there can also be the greatest of rewards with this approach.
2. Create a detailed plan.
This one is a must: Develop an in-depth plan that fully details how you’ll attack the challenge ahead. Your plan should define any opportunities you’ve identified, clearly state your mission, describe your target, establish measurable goals, and set deadlines for each milestone along the way. Remember that while it’s important to have a plan, it’s equally vital to be flexible enough to pivot when needed.
So lets start with setting your goals. Even if your business startup plans are in the very early stages, it’s not too soon to start setting specific goals.
Setting goals now will help you see where you want your business to be in 3 months, 6 months, and even into 2019. When writing down your goals, remember to adhere to the five key elements of goal setting:
5 Time Sensitive
Keeping these rules in mind will guide you to making better choices for your business, and it will help you refocus, reconnect, and start the year out right.
Then next you need to create a Business and Marketing Plan.
Now that you know where you want your goals to take you, writing a business and marketing plan will help you get there. It should begin with a one-page executive summary detailing the name of your business, the product/service it will provide, how it stands in the local market, what sets it apart from competitors, who will be the management team and what is their experience in the industry, your marketing plan, and your financial projections. Your business plan will also help you refine your mission, vision, and direction before you become focused on day-to-day business operations.
3. Develop your brand / logo
Now that you have your plan in place, it is time to look at the face of the company. Corporate logos are intended to be the “face” of a company: They are graphical displays of a company’s unique identity, and through colours and fonts and images they provide essential information about a company that allows customers to identify with the company’s core brand. Logos are also a shorthand way of referring to the company in advertising and marketing materials; they also provide a point of reference for the various fonts, colours and design choices in all other business marketing materials.
That is how to view it from a technical perspective and explains the importance, but what is often missed is that your branding / logo needs to reflect you as a person / service. People tend to buy from people or a personality that comes across from a business so it is important that the messages you send out (of which your logo is core to that) stay true to what you stand out. An example of this is if you are looking to set up a professional Human Resources company…. clients are looking for professionalism and security for the services they receive. So a logo that is abstract, overly creative and fun can often provide the wrong message if that a) isn’t your personality and b) isn’t what your potential clients want to see.
4. Build your digital foundation with your website
In this fast-paced and influencing business industry, you need to take measures on establishing your brand name with a robust digital marketing strategy. Ultimately in 2018 and beyond a website isn’t just an optional marketing pillar to have but an essential one. It isn’t just a method for attaining new clients but also an importance source of credibility. Before people buy or contact you, they will check you out online and if your website doesn’t reflect your brand and doesn’t align to your business and marketing plan then business will be lost.
Therefore starting with having the right website for your business which acts as a foundation to build on is where we shall begin and begin with these key elements that have to be in place:
Responsive Design – This is something that shouldn’t even be a question anymore when it comes to website design. Over half of internet browsing is done so on mobile devices and as such your website needs to look good on all devices.
Call to Actions – Most websites have a lot of information on them, or usually information in which you would want to tell your customers or viewers to see. But what good is information if you have no call to action on the website. When we build a website, we always as if you had my attention for 5 seconds on your website what would you want me to do? Is it to fill out a form? Is it to pick up the phone and call you? Is it to just get more information about you? Establish your call to actions and make sure they are on your website and easily accessible.
Simple – The key to an effective website is to keep it as simple as possible, easy to navigate, and simple for people to find more information about you. Whether it is an E-Commerce website, or just a information portal, simple is best. Don’t put too many pictures, don’t put too much text, and don’t use too much colour.
Good Content – Every website should have good content on it in order for people to easily read and comprehend. Not only is content important for your visitors but it is also important for Search Engine Optimisation in which search engines will be able to find you based on what you are saying in your content.
Professional Pictures – A website should always use professional pictures whether it’s having a photoshoot and hiring a photographer or using stock photos, always use the best quality pictures throughout your website, because with poor pictures, it shows your business in a bad light, and that just doesn’t work well. We recommend to have new pictures taken every time we build a website that way we can get the most out of it.
5. Making your website and digital marketing for you
Once your website is in place, Digital Marketing is a powerful tool and can contribute powerfully to building your new business, and positively impact your bottom line. There are a number of areas that this includes and are detailed below:
– Social media platforms
Your online presence and identity begins with your website and social media platforms. So you can engage your audience, communicate your message with powerful content through a strong social media platform.
As a startup, one of the first things that you probably thought of when developing your marketing plan was to look at developing an active social media presence. You know that in business, social media is a fast way to start leveraging your brand awareness and value. Also the channels available are expanding with apps like SnapChat and Instagram becoming popular ways to promote businesses and engaging the audience with brand names. It is important to select a small number that your clients are mostly likely to be active on to begin with and then scale it up accordingly, don’t throw yourself in the deep end and have accounts everywhere as it is better to do 3 or 4 things really well than 10 things average. The key is to be consistent and regular in your social media activity and ensure the goals you set within your plan are realistic. Good social media strategies can have a profound impact on lead generation and conversions, brand awareness and, of course, more customers.
– Creative content
You will need to invest in a solid content within your marketing that engages your audience. Create content that is unique and fresh as it can have a strong impact to your target market. From communicating your brand’s message to engaging your customers with information, content is supreme as it gives something useful to your potential customers. Great content can increase your organic traffic and can improve your search engine rankings.
Get to the point as well, 80% of your content should not be about your product but providing value – no, it doesn’t backfire at all – and 20% of it could be focused on your online sales, giveaways, etc.
– Video marketing
Videos are powerful tools to communicate extensively. Consider Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and SnapChat stories to engage your audience. You can hold webinars and live events for product launches, hold tutorials, and answer questions in real time. This gives a tangible feeling to your audience and helps them connect more closely with your brand and product.
– Search engine marketing
Most importantly, invest in a credible Search Engine Marketing solution. All of our websites provide a strong foundation to build on search engine wise. SEO will look into aspects of your website and page optimisation, device optimisation and credible link building for better visibility in search engine results. For example, in one of Google’s highly important updates, the websites that are not responsive on various digital devices will not appear in search altogether, regardless of their SEO measures.
Once you understand the nature of association, outreach and impact of your brand’s SEO, rehash or redefine your digital marketing strategy accordingly, of which the paid side of Search Engine Marketing might feature. This provides instant rankings through advertising on search engines such as Google via an auction system. It is important to factor this into work with your search engine optimisation efforts that tend to have medium to longer term positive effects.
Starting a business can be an exciting and nerve racking time and if you follow these points, you are on the way to success. Also as a free addition, linked below is a free marketing strategy template for you to follow and set you on the right path, the Go Limitless path.
Good luck with your new business in 2018 and into the future!