If you’re like most people you may have dreamt of starting your own business.
To many being your own boss sounds great. And in most cases, it is.
The start-up phase can be very stressful. You may already be selling products and services to friends and family but really want to scale it up. You might have done a few free ads on craigslist or bismanonline.com, but don’t really know what it takes to advertise your business properly.
Let’s go over a few key points about starting your own business and touch on the marketing you need to get business flowing.
Your big idea
If you plan on offering a product or service, you’ll need to do your research. Learn about the other businesses in that industry and niche you’re considering. Find out what they do, how they market themselves and if there you can do or offer something better then they currently offer.
Once you have your business idea solidified you can make your plan.
Your business plan should cover key areas such as the purpose of your business and the goals you want to achieve. You should also be clear about your target market, not only for your plan but to get a jump on marketing strategy. The other important piece is funding. How are you going to fund your business? Not everyone has a rich, distant relative that loves bleeding heart causes. Having a good financial plan in place will keep you from taking risks and making rash decisions.
Check out your local SCORE business mentorship programs and the Small Business Administration or SBA.
The beauty of SCORE mentorship is two-fold. One…it’s free. This can be important when starting a business with limited funding or just being frugal with the funds you have available.
Two…the mentors have “been there and done that”. They are all business owners who may have built one, two or many successful companies and are willing to share their knowledge with those starting out. For the cash-strapped new business owner, SCORE can be a goldmine of resources, help, and knowledge.
The local small business association can also help you apply for funding or locate grants for which you can apply. They also have free business counseling to help you get running and stay running. They can also help you decide on the business structure you’ll need to adopt such as LLC, LLP, Inc. and more. You’ll need to find out if you need liability insurance, especially if you are going to have employees right away. You'll need to incorporate with the government. You can do this online once you have your business structure selected.
Building your team and finding your vendors
If you are going to be selling products, you’ll have to find the best sources to use. This may take some research as to the vendors who have the consistent stock you need at reasonable prices. There is a saying in business, it’s known as the iron triangle and it goes like this
"Fast, good or cheap. Pick two.”
You’ll want to keep that in mind when you are vetting your vendors and your team members. You can only have two. The higher the cost, the better the service or product but it may be slower production. The cheaper it is, you may get it fast but the quality will be low. If the quality is great and the product is fast…it will cost more.
Now that you have your team in place and products on the shelves let’s talk marketing.
As a boutique marketing company, Studio North Designs has helped many business owners create the right brand to attract their customers.
As you may know from my other articles, your brand is the whole picture you’re presenting about your company. This includes your logo, color scheme, target market, and marketing message. To dial this in properly, you should take the steps to at least talk to the mentors at SCORE about marketing. Or set up a consultation with me at Studio North.
Here are a few things you can do on your own to get you going.
If you have current or past customers, ask them about why they bought from you. Learn more about the specific wants and needs they had so you can look for more customers like them.
Social media can be your friend on a minimal budget. You can set up Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles for free and start marketing. They all have ads managers you can use if you don’t know how to set something like that up.
Be consistent about how you talk about your company. Try to share the same message across all your marketing platforms whether online or in print.
When you’ve had some sales and you're ready to really ramp up your business, contact me to discuss your marketing. Together we can get you to the next level.
You can fill out my contact form or give me a call at 701-595-7300.