Starting Your Own Business – Four Vital Steps To Big Up Your Small Business
Starting your own business is now more popular than ever. Thousands of people are realizing that the fastest route to fulfillment perhaps isn’t through the well-trodden C-suite route. The benefits are huge. From being able to work on something aligned with your own personal beliefs and ideals, to have the flexibility to combine work with family life and other interests and responsibilities in a way that suits you.
Even down to swerving a long commute and being able to work from home more. And of course, there’s the very motivating idea that all the effort you put in and the profits that you generate are directly for your own benefit and that of your family. These days, going it alone isn’t nearly as difficult as it once was. Thanks to the power of the internet, start-up costs can be minimized. Helpful advice and contacts are much easier to find. And, networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs are at your fingertips.
Starting your own business, where you need to keep your eyes on
Despite all this, however, a lot of small businesses still don’t last much past their first year. The reasons for this are quite diverse, but the way to avoid that fate still lies in having a solid understanding of who your audience is and what they want, while delivering excellent service with what you do. It’s important that you always act with the utmost professionalism. Even in your fledgling business days. As you grow your company and build your reputation, you will need to keep one eye on where you want to be.
Sometimes the difficulty in running a small business can be leveling out all the advantages that the big players have. Deep pockets, lower costs of operation, an established name, and a solid marketing strategy. Yet it is possible to have the upper hand in other ways. By operating more flexibly, and giving a more personal service to customers. And, being able to make quick changes to products and services to name just a few. What you can’t afford to do is to look less professional than your bigger rivals. Luckily, this is easily balanced out with the right touches to ensure that you can offer just as smooth and seamless a service as any of your competitors.
Get Your Website Right
When you starting your own business your website is your shop window to the world. It’s important that you take the time to create it in the right way to maximize inquiries and generate leads. Great website design is never a matter of chance. Us the principles of UX testing to build a site that is intuitive for customers or clients to use. Tools like heat mapping and pop-up polls can keep you informed about exactly what journey people take through your pages. See where they look first and where they want to find the information that they need.
Keep your website under a rolling program of review, as the market, macroeconomic conditions, and customer requirements change so quickly and you must adapt and move with them to ensure the success of your business. Remember that great website design is always inclusive. If you don’t ensure that it adheres to high standards of accessibility, you are not only denying your business many potential leads. But, you could also be falling foul of the law.
Simple steps like using headings correctly, adding alt-text to images and making sure the text is written in plain English, formatted correctly and in the right font size and contrast can do wonders. And, many of these practices will also give your site an SEO boost as well. A small business can really look big if it has an impressive, inclusive website, so it’s worth working with a web designer to create something which really works for your customers.
Streamline Your Business Support Processes
Alongside the core business that you do, there are also lots of supporting actions that tend to make up the majority of the working day. And, as a small business, it’s quite likely that you operate with a very lean team. Or, even do a lot of them yourself. From preparing sales brochures to sending out marketing emails and chasing up invoices to answering the telephone and restocking the stationery cupboard. It’s likely that you don’t do all these things very well. And, understandable when you’re trying to actually keep the business going.
So you need to seek a little extra help – and there are ways to do this even on start-up money. Software such as Quickbooks can help you schedule invoices and send automatic reminders to ensure payments keep rolling in. Apps such as Hootsuite can help you front-load social media marketing content to be sent out at certain times during the week. So, you don’t have to do it manually.
It may also be worth looking at outsourcing certain tasks to make room for you to concentrate on the main objectives. There are small things you can do in order to make your business appear more professional. Such as using a cost effective answering service to process your calls and make sure inquiries don’t go unanswered. The more you can smooth out support activities, the better the reputation your business will gain. You could even hire a virtual PA to support with your diary co-ordination and lead generation work. This will leave you more time to focus on developing your business.
Be Mindful Of Imagery
Although it’s easy to purchase a templated website that looks professional. One area where smaller businesses often fall down is with images. Amazing quality, artistically composed images are essential if you run any kind of ecommerce operation. And they are almost as vital if you’re selling a service too. Hiring a freelance product photographer can help you to gain those killer images with professional equipment and post-production touch-ups. If you are dealing with the product, then you need a mix of plain imagery and some showing the item in use or putting it in a desirable context. Fantastic images can make things look a million dollars and really sell the idea that you are a professional outfit, especially if you’re trading over the web.
Position Yourself As A Leader
You are at the heart of your business. You need to position yourself as a thought leader in order to give your company credibility. Take the opportunities to find networking events that happen in your sector and ask to be considered for a speaking slot. You can also make an impact digitally, by developing the visibility of your online portfolio and using LinkedIn Groups to your advantage. Think about things like issuing white papers or hosting webinars on your specialty topic. Or, perhaps a podcast or magazine article. Getting your name out there and associated with current topics and views can enhance your prestige. And, it will build the reputation of your business.
Raising your business profile and getting your name recognized will give your company cachet which can carry you far and help you to make further connections. So take your knowledge and don’t be afraid to share just the right amount to interest potential clients or showcase your brand. You may also benefit from creating a personal brand. This can really do wonders for an entrepreneur, and help to spread the word of the work that you’re doing. While pushing yourself this way can sound challenging. Especially if you’re in business as an introvert. It can be a useful point to find a mentor who can help to guide your direction. And, encourage you to take a few more calculated risks. Sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone can pay dividends.