The core elements of starting up a successful small business are:
- Make sure you know your product, and have defined your target market.
- Do your market research. This is more than talking to friends and relatives and getting them to function as a cheering squad… they are not going to pay your rent if your idea bombs. Market research means researching your competition, learning what they do that works and does not work, and calling potential clients on the phone, and doing informational interviews, to find out WHAT they need, WHY they need it, and WHAT does not work about their current solution).
- Price properly. Charging market rate is ideal. However if you are not making sales at market rate because you don’t have the work portfolio to back you up, try pricing at 70% – 80% of the going market rate to get some clients in the door when you’re starting out. Do it as sales, not as lower rates: you don’t want to lower your rates too much, or they’ll assume it’s because you don’t have a good quality product or service. Read “Pricing for Profit” by Dale Furtwengler for more information on pricing.
- Calculate how much money you need to make to survive, and run worst case scenarios, to make sure you can survive even if business is not booming from the start. Best case scenarios are great as they provide motivation, but it’s the worst case scenarios that are you reality check. Figure out what the minimum number of sales is that you need to make to keep your head above water, and figure out if you’re confident you can achieve that baseline.
- If the numbers work out, register your company, you can do it yourself online if it’s a proprietorship, if it’s a limited company, get an inexpensive lawyer to do it right for you…
- Build your visual business branding: Logo, Website, matching business cards at the very least. You can add more print materials on as you need them. You need a good brand identity. Branding does not just mean corporate organizations the size of Pepsi.Branding is essential for every small business starting up, that wants to get taken seriously in it’s local market. Potential clients will assume your product or service is the same quality as the quality you’ve put into representing yourself.
- Write good content for your website, which collects leads via a form or a white paper request…You can’t help those people that need your services, if they don’t talk to you. The most helpful source for information about how to write good marketing copy, is located at https://www.psychotactics.com. . A little bit of information about choosing a good writer is here, if you don’t feel like marketing copy is your strong suit.
- Push, push, push building Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so your target market can find you. You can use Google Adwords to get an immediate response, while waiting for the organic SEO to catch up. Your new business is dead on the water without your target market finding out about you, and the least expensive way to reach your specific target market, is using SEO. A few very basic points about SEO are located online, but if you’re going to get into doing SEO yourself, you have weeks of work ahead. Some assistance and a coaching session from an experienced SEO guru is going to do wonders to lay your SEO ground work.
At this point, you have a product, target market, business name and bank account, a brand, business materials and marketing copy, and a stream of new clients contacting you.
Success from here on in, will be based on your having a good product or service, that your target market wants and needs.
All the best with your new venture!