This week’s blog post in our “Financial Planter” series is written by Randi Zucker, a Financial Services Professional.*
Whether you want to become your own boss or you have a business idea that’s keeping you up at night, now more than ever is a great time to start a business. With the ability at a click of a button to build a website, create social media accounts and sell products online, anyone can essentially start a business overnight.
While it sounds simple, starting a successful business is anything but. Regardless of the industry you’re getting yourself into, here’s a list of tried-and-tested tips to follow when launching your start-up.
1. Research Your Idea. Before you throw money at a bad idea, conduct market research. For example, a company launching a T-shirt line can pay to survey a large sample audience using Survey Monkey or Google Surveys. Ask questions such as what colors, fabrics and designs people like to wear?
2. Study Your Competitors. If you have a great idea, chances are that a similar one already exists. Scope out your competition. Go to their physical stores and websites, buy their products, and study how they present themselves on their website and social media accounts. See how much they charge for their products or services so you have an indication how much you should charge. This research will give you tremendous insight into what works and it also gives you great insight into your prospective audience.
3. Estimate Your Value. Early on as you are starting your business, decide the value for your products or services and don't waiver. As referenced in tip #2, study your competitors’ prices to decide how much to charge. Plot the costs for these products and services so you get a grasp on profits and a grasp on a marketing budget.
4.Create a Business Plan. For sheer organization and if you’re going get help from investors, it’s important to have a business plan. A business plan can be any length, from a single page to fifty, and should include: your executive summary, business overview, mission statement, operations, key personnel, financial budgeting, sales and advertising efforts, and projections for the first few years in business. Inc.com offers business plan templates you can download for free online.
5. Raise Capital. If you will need help with funds for your idea, have a chat with your bank about business loans. You should also decide if you want investors. For example: One woman raised funds to open her own barbershop by asking her friends and clients to pre-pay for 10 haircuts. Kickstarteror GoFundMe allows you to post online your fundraising goals and ask your family, friends, social networks and strangers surfing these sites to support your idea by pre-purchasing your products or services.
6. Stay Lean. A number of businesses failed because they grew too quickly. It’s important to scale your business so that you can successfully handle growth. You can start your business from home and then move it into a co-operative or co-working space, where you can rent cubicles or a conference room. Hire carefully and find projects that make sense to outsource. To find affordable talent, check out Upwork, Fiverr and 99Designs.
8. Social Media Is (Mostly) Free Advertising. Social media is a great way to get your business to the masses, and you could do most of it for free. Your network is your net worth. Your connections are potentially your first customers. Post daily on your personal platforms and your business accounts. Learn about trending hashtags and find free webinars on how to do Facebook advertising. Facebook offers free webinars in using Facebook and Instagram to grow your business.
9. Collect Email Addresses. Find creative ways to get people to sign-up for a newsletter you create. For example, offer a coupon code or a free item only to those who subscribe to your email list. Your email list is an invaluable asset to growing your business as you build awareness, acquisition, retention and conversions. Here are 29 ways to grow your email list.
10. Tell a Good Story. Storytelling sells. Create an inspirational story that tells people why you started your business. Your story is important and it should resonate with others. Your story will also be your encouragement as you go forward. It will remind you why you’re doing this and be the kick in the-you-know-what you’ll need when times get tough.
11. Throw a Launch Party. Throw a physical launch party. It doesn’t have to be fancy if you don’t have the budget. It can even be a party in your own home, with appetizers and beverages. Display your products or services and order forms, have a place for people to sign-up on your email list and give a speech telling your story. You can also do a virtual launch event using Facebook Live and offer fun incentives like giveaways to get people to join, buy and subscribe.
12. Embrace Failure. Once you've reached 100 “No’s”, know you're heading for “Yes’s”. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to be told “no thanks!” You’re going to not get the sale. Learn from your “no’s”. This is the road one takes towards building a successful business.
13. Hang Out With Role Models. Motivational speaker and entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. Surround yourself with people who are even more successful than you as well as people with great drive and energy.
14. Passion. Passion. And More Passion. Your business needs to be the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about before bed. You need to have that itch to work on your business when you’re sitting in a carpool line or when you’re in the shower. Compare starting a business to running a marathon. You need the determination to see this through to the finish line.
Equipped with a great idea, these tips and persistence, you’re well on your way to starting a successful business.
Randi Zucker is the Director of Expert Services at genconnectU.com. Randi has been working with brands on delivering key messages to customers and prospects regularly. She helps businesses grow their brand through quality and creative online content marketing. Randi has worked with hundreds of thought-leaders, experts, celebrities and companies on creating websites, landing pages, newsletters, videos, blogs and social media updates to grow their audience and reach their ROI. She also has been on “The Today Show”, “Fox & Friends”, “NY1”, LA Times, AARP and multiple media outlets as an expert in online marketing.
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Randi Zucker and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.