Starting out in the business world is both a thrilling and exciting adventure.
The adrenaline that you get from taking the leap is one that you’ll want to hold onto. It’s easy to get caught up in the midst of it all. However, when starting on a budget, this can be when your budget goes out the window.
Whether you are on a budget or not, you’ve got to hone in and focus. The excitement is easy to get lost in, however, smart moves are well thought out ones.
Build your future business’ foundation with these simple but important things to remember:
Do Research – Take Risks
Tapping into competitor research is one of your most valuable business tools. Research is also free. Dig deep and find out all about your competitors, what they are doing, and most importantly, what they are not.
Finding the information you need takes time and patience. However, this is where you will make your best decisions and find room to take risks.
Choosing to take a risk doesn’t come from picking something random and running with it. Risks are an opportunity to learn from going down avenues that you wouldn’t normally. Research is your best tool to find them.
Use Freelancers to Your Advantage
To save on costs, work as streamline as possible. While you can’t run your business alone, you can run with a minimalistic team.
A great way to do this is to outsource projects that you don’t need to monitor with a freelancer. For easy projects, you can look for entry-level freelancers. For more advanced projects, there are professionals who will complete a task in the time it would take you to hire someone in the office.
Keep your freelancers close to you. Having regular trusted people at hand to do projects as and when you need them can accelerate your business plans.
Know Your Budget
Running businesses on a budget requires meticulous calculations; from outlining your business plan to getting your first clients in the bag. You have to know how much everything is going to cost and predict any extra expenses that might come along the way.
Start your accounting plan early. If you don’t know anything about it, take a quick course in accounting to cover the basics so that you can do it by yourself.
Monitor your incomings and outgoings and set up your retained earning statement to analyse your numbers. By doing this regularly, you can keep an eye on any leads that you might not know you had.
Be the Best
A great business idea solves a problem. Start small and be the best.
The quality of your product is measured by its ability to deliver its promises. When you start out, focus on a small number of customers and be willing to adapt to their needs. The changes that you make for your first clients could be the changes that make your business a success.
Starting a business is a steep learning curve that, when done right, has great rewards. Think smart, learn all that you can and you’ll be paving your own way to success before you know it.
We all want to keep things environmentally friendly; but how is it possible to keep the environment intact with sensitivity? If you have business premises there are ways to do this. If your business is situated within a lot of greenery, you may want to be careful that you don’t drive away any precious wildlife in the area. Such as bees, and types of birds. If you feel that you have an issue with other animals, you should consider looking at a preliminary roost assessment.
A truly ecological business is vital for success in 2021. You want to protect the environment, keep your office safe space but also be practical in terms of how you run the business and the products that you use. If you do have bats nearby, it’s important that they can get the care that they need to relocate. You should not be considering killing them; they are protected. So once you have taken care of this, you should look at other areas that you can change. You may say “I really want to be a real and successful ecological business that will inspire many more people to create ecological businesses.”
An ecological business is a business that improves and contributes to the state of the environment in the broad context of the concept, rather than harming it. I have no doubt this is the right thing to do. It’s not simple, every little detail that is trivial to a regular business is not a simple problem for an ecological business, and the truth is it is doable!
Contribution of clean energy instead of consumption of polluting energy
Ecological packaging materials
Environmentally sensitive procurement of raw materials and containers for products
We must think about the environmental impact of every purchase we make. Whether it’s avoiding raw materials that are harmful to the environment like palm oil or rosewood, or whether it’s reducing and recycling packaging that the materials come in. Our raw materials are all perishable, and are not harmful to the environment, even the marine. Regarding packaging, you should have a goal of reaching groundbreaking ecological packaging in the coming years.
Actions of consumption and enjoyment in daily life do not have to come at the expense of environmental pollution, it is quite possible otherwise. Through proper and efficient consumption we can help reduce environmental pollution. And it will help us conduct ourselves in a controlled and healthy consumer manner, less wasteful and more responsible. In the country and environment in which we live it is difficult not to take any part in the form of polluting consumption but we can at least reduce where it can be reduced. Becoming vegan in any way possible will certainly assist your brand because it will show that you are becoming aware of the problems in the world today and that you are making conscious decisions to slow down the spread of problems. Such as global warming and gas emissions.
Awareness of the harms of plastic pollution in the world also causes many businesses to look for green and environmentally friendly solutions. Some companies have decided not to use plastic wrappers anymore, other companies use only recycled materials and there are also companies that have stopped printing documents and wasting paper. Littering and dumping materials can also be harmful for local wildlife which isn’t preferable for success. You need to ensure that you are well aware of this and don’t kill off any plants and wildlife in the process. Toxins are not good in any way, shape or form. Look for alternatives if possible.
One of the most effective and quick solutions to make your business green is by switching to online invoicing and receipt software. Producing a green invoice eliminates the need to print on paper, and in addition your business benefits from additional benefits because of its eco-friendly software. The move to online invoicing software allows you to send the documents to the customer immediately, without having to drive to the post office and without having to send envelopes. Today, businesses have realized that they are losing customers with an awareness of the environment and nature conservation. There are also new materials at attractive prices, so it is easy to make a business decision and change the packaging methods, without significantly hurting the company’s profitability. Stores that offer bags to customers can also switch to consumable bags or encourage customers to come with a bag from home. It’s time to start taking your business to the next ‘green’ level.
Every entrepreneur, no matter what field they are interested in starting a business, must know what is happening around them in the field they want to work in. Check where they are in relation to their environment and competitors.
To get to this information, we need to ask ourselves a few questions:
Who is our target audience? Where will we find them? What are their needs and why will they buy from us? If we know how to answer these questions, we will know very well who our customers are and we will also know how to reach them.
Who are our competitors? Where do they operate in relation to us? What product or service do they provide? at what price? How does the product or service reach the customer and in how much time? How will competitors react to you entering the market?
Which customers do we turn to?
What is the market size potential for your products?
What are the external factors that can affect your business activity?
What is the price of your product or service?
Once this is all established you can find your sources. You should consider hiring professional help with any assessments and therefore should look at a preliminary roost assessment.
Marketing, and especially network marketing, revolves around knowing the needs, browsing patterns and consumption habits of potential customers. The more we get to know our target audience in more depth, the more we will be able to direct and refine our marketing messages. Sharp and accurate messages will expand the customer base and increase business turnover. In order to target the advertising strategy to the target audience, it is worth knowing for example, Mr Smith’s (regular consumer) consumption habits, the places he surfs, his vocabulary, the phrases and search words in which he is interested. The research team of your promotion company will find out all these things and you should also identify what are your favorite blogs and sites, what characterizes them, what social networks your target audience is in and the like. We also explored the possibility of reaching the target audience through leading bloggers, celebrities, opinion leaders and influencers in your niche.
Keyword research is not an intuitive assessment, but an informed and accurate investigation, using measurable tools and results and statistics. These tools document the phrases and keywords that surfers searched for in your niche, what is the search volume and more. This is a study that uses real-time data in real time, and helps leverage the business in the right direction.
WHAT IS KEYWORD RESEARCH?
Keyword research allows you to actually examine the amount of searches for phrases related to a niche, product or service. Keyword research deals with the question of which phrases related to your product or service the surfers are looking for, and which wordings are more common in the search queries. Through keyword research it is possible to produce an orderly and organized division according to topics related to the semantic level. Intelligent research will help you choose the most accurate and appropriate wording for the product and for the target audience and identify words that are considered “money words” that are for example an exact expression of a specific model of product – which predicts purchase intent. Also, there are tools that can give us segmentations of the results based on seasonal fluctuations in different expressions.
One of the practices of website promoters is to insert as many relevant keywords in the content as possible both in terms of content and at the semantic level of the topic, in order to enhance the relevance of the article in the eyes of Google and thus its presence in Google search results and other search engines.
RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITORS ALSO!
In addition to what we have spoken about above, keyword research can also give insights about competitors. This way you can design a strategy for differentiating and branding the product and link it to different key phrases. Alternatively, you can also use phrases similar or identical to those of the competitor and bite into the same slice of cake they are enjoying. It is always good to know as much as possible about the status of competitors, and keyword research can provide useful and interesting data – for planning and implementing the program. Your business is in your hands but without careful planning and analysis of data and more, you are risking a possible halt in your business production and success. Therefore research, use the skills needed and get professional assistance when you need it.
Are you tired of banging your head against the glass ceiling? Of waiting for your employer to send a few more crumbs from the corporate table your way, or at the very least acknowledge all the hard work, effort and endeavour that you bring to the table every day? It can be extremely frustrating for professionals when the recognition they receive at work (and the pay they take home every month) are disproportionate to their efforts in the workplace. Especially in this era of wage repression where the cost of living keeps on rising but our wages never rise to meet it. For parents, this is especially worrying. Everything from the cost of food to the price of school uniforms seems to rise every year and not only do you struggle to meet the costs of being a parent in 2020, you also find it harder and harder to make the time for your little ones.
For ambitious but frustrated parents, it’s easy to see how starting your own business can be the perfect antidote to all the inequities of the workplace. It allows you to make more money and create new opportunities on your own terms, using the skills you’ve spent your career developing to do something you love and enjoying better flexibility and work / life balance. And in the digital age, there are more opportunities to go into business for yourself than ever. You can even start your business up as a side hustle which you work on in your free time to reduce your financial risk. Still, if going into business for yourself were easy, everyone would be doing it. Running your own business can lead to great success. But to be successful you need a strong brand behind you.
What is your brand?
Most of us are pretty brand savvy. After all, we’ve had brands trying to market to us since we learned to walk and talk. We understand the shorthand of marketing and all the psychological triggers that brands use to get us to trust and believe in them. However, while some nascent business owners assume they’re “doing” branding by commissioning a graphic designer to make a fancy logo, designing a fancy website and establishing a presence on every social platform under the sun, branding is actually much more nuanced than that. Love him or hate him, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a great definition of branding.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
Let’s take a look at some of the less-explored factors that influence your branding which you’ll need to master to achieve success with your small business…
Your brand is the materials you use to make your products
Of course your brand is your product. But if you make your own, whether you’re building houses or baking brownies, your products are only ever as good as the raw materials, components or ingredients from which they’re made. This means taking the time to find the best suppliers and maintaining good relationships with vendors so that you can maintain the same consistency of product.
If you start out looking for vendors solely on the basis of cost, you could wind up starting your business on the back foot. Many new business owners think that the best way to stand out from the competition is to be the cheapest game in town and undercut their competitors on price. But this low cost, low margin model only works if you’re trading in high volumes. Which, as a new and unproven business, you probably won’t be. Invest in suppliers who are as passionate about quality as you are.
At the same time, don’t assume that you have to pay over the odds for quality. Small construction firms and independent contractors, for instance, use Complete Construction Products because they’re able to offer both quality and affordability, with discounts on bulk purchases. This is important in construction because it’s an inherently low-margin industry, but one in which reputation is everything.
Simply put, you can’t build a compelling brand on inferior products, and you can’t build great products with inferior materials.
Your brand is how you respond when people are upset with you online
Most of today’s entrepreneurs are highly digitally savvy and understand the importance of a robust online presence. You’ll see them on social media shouting from the rooftops every time they get a great review or when someone has something positive to day about them on social media. What’s significantly more telling, however, is how they react when people complain about them online.
As such, it’s vital to know how to respond to complaints on social media. While nobody likes dealing with negativity, especially when their working days are already busy and stressful, there’s nothing you can do that’s more destructive to your brand than bury your head in the sand. The longer you leave online complaints unattended, the more damage they can do to your brand and your reputation.
Here’s how you deal with online complaints;
Respond in a timely fashion
Apologise and empathise
Don’t try to argue or justify yourself
Invite the customer to contact you privately to achieve a resolution
Maintain a positive and optimistic tone. Show the world that you’re here to help
Believe it or not, online complaints are a gift to your brand and your business. They give you an opportunity to show legions of prospective customers out there how well you look after your customers, even if they’re less than thrilled with you. And that counts for a lot!
Your brand is how you treat your employees
Your employees are the ambassadors of your brand. It’s their everyday interactions with your customers that will define your brand and the expectations that new and repeat customers have of you. And if your employees are exhausted, stressed, visibly annoyed or overworked this is likely to reflect poorly on your brand.
Of course you need to be able to trust in your employees’ professionalism and work ethic, which is why the recruitment process is so important. However, it’s also up to you to ensure that you have an employee onboarding and training program that helps you to get the best out of your employees. Not only should you give them all the training, knowledge and tools that they need to do their job well, you should also make sure that they know what’s expected of them to create and perpetuate the kind of workplace culture you want for your business. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that training stops when your employees start working.
Training should be something that’s ongoing and tailored to your employees’ career goals. Empowered employees whose employers invest in them are happier, more productive and more likely to embody the kind of brand you want to build.
Look after your employees and building a strong brand becomes much easier.
If you’re a solopreneur (a business with just one member of staff-you), this still goes for you too. Make sure you’re looking after yourself, eating healthily, staying hydrated, exercising, making time for your family, loved ones and friends, and getting plenty of sleep (easier said than done- I know). Looking after yourself in mind and body will help you to remain calm in a crisis, prevent stress from getting the better of you and help you to avoid the very real threat of burnout.
Your brand is your relationship with your customers
As you’re probably already aware, it costs around 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it costs to retain someone who’s already made a leap of faith in your business. And how well you maintain that relationship with your customers says a great deal about your brand. Every time you’re too busy to call them back, every time you make them repeat themselves to numerous members of staff and every time you forget what “the usual” is, you erode their faith in your business.
Even if your business is very small, it’s a good idea to invest in a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM) to track your relationship with prospects as they move through your sales pipeline. You can also get access to pertinent customer data in just a few clicks. So your customers can enjoy the same standard of service from you even if the member of your team whom they usually deal with is on holiday or off sick.
Your brand is the trust you earn
Finally, trust is a more important aspect of branding than your logo, your slogan or the colour scheme in your web design. People don’t flock to McDonalds because they sell the best burgers. It’s because they know exactly what to expect and trust that they’ll get the same experience every time they walk through the door.
Your customers should be able to trust you to deliver the same quality consistently. Invest in the infrastructure to provide it and you’ll retain your existing customers while also attracting new ones and charting a path for sustainable growth.
That means a successful business and more opportunities to take control of your life!
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Anita & Ian
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