28 Jan Starting Out Right – 7 steps to business success
Starting a business, nay, starting ANYTHING, can feel scary and overwhelming! But, I’m here to tell you it really doesn’t have to be that way.
When it comes to starting a business, there’s something about this time of year that motivates people to take that leap. So, in my opinion, now is the best time for me to share some pearls of wisdom, because, if you can navigate the first few years the right way, you’ll set yourself up for success and reap the rewards in the long run.
Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I first started out:
1. Know who you’re selling to and be sure they actually need, or want it
You may be sick of everyone banging on about knowing your ideal client but, there’s a reason everyone wants to tell you this. It’s SO important! Once you know this, every decision you make about your business should be for THEM.
Their needs and desires will dictate the look and feel of your brand, the tone of voice of your communications, even down to the staff you hire. The quicker you know who your clients are and how to sell to them, the faster your profitability will rise.
2. Ask the RIGHT people for advice
I’ll give you a hint…it’s the people you’re selling to.
You may have a well-meaning partner, parent, friend, random person on the street, who has given you solid advice in the past. However, if they’re not your target market, their feedback isn’t necessarily going to help you or be the right advice that you need to hear.
3. Invest in the basics
Being a new business owner is like being a new Mum. There is a HUGE market out there for people just starting out and it constantly tells you, you need “all the things”. I know when my business was young, it felt like EVERYONE I met was trying to sell me their service and that my business was only going to be profitable if I invested in their thing.
The truth of the matter is, when you’re a new biz, you need to think about a few important elements and build your brand and service around them. Like with parenting, the journey is SO different for every business. Your needs will depend on what you’re selling and what your ideal client will want to see from you to inspire them to buy.
The things I’ve never regretted investing in are:
- building relationships – I have learned, NOTHING sells better than word of mouth referrals.
- my business coach – setting up strong systems, having my business knowledge gaps filled and ensuring great workflows has been invaluable to my business.
- accounting software + bookkeeper – these have saved me literally HOURS of time! Plus, the fountain of knowledge they bring with them ensure my business is always in good shape. Knowing your numbers is SO IMPORTANT!! There are way too many small businesses that get slammed with big tax bills or don’t know how profitable each job is for them. So, while being free of the clutches of the corporate world is an awesome reason for having your own business, it also means you need to be aware of where your next dollar is coming from.
Get into good habits from the beginning: save for your BAS, build a treasure chest to see you through the slow times and for goodness sake, I cannot stress this enough: PAY. YOURSELF. SUPER!
- personal development courses – you are your businesses’ greatest asset so, invest in yourself. Learn how to overcome blocks, build resilience and become the best version of you to weather every storm you’ll face as a business owner.
- my branding + website – obviously for me, this one is a no-brainer. For me, my website is the vehicle for most of my marketing activities PLUS it’s the way I showcase my work and thus, sell my service.
4. Set up a professional email and URL
Because, let’s face it, I can’t think of anyone who would feel safe giving their credit card details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Set your professional standards up from the word go. A personalised business account costs around $10 per month and should cost around $150 to set up – if you’re not able to figure it out yourself.
5. Be consistent with your URL and socials
The KISS philosophy so applies to this! Keep it simple! Your consumers shouldn’t have to remember that on Facebook you’re ladybugbibs but that on Insta you’re @ladybugbabybibs. Keep it simple with ONE name and ONE thing for them to remember so they can find you where-ever you may be.
6. Get a website
You don’t have to start out with a wizz-bang 10k one, a templated site will do the trick to get you started as without a website you will not look professional.
You can’t accept payments and your clients won’t be able to find out the details of what you’re selling. Even a simple one-page site, or landing page with contact details for more information is better than nothing. If money is an issue, there are some great free options for you. The easiest web builders I know are WIX and SquareSpace.
The key to using templates, is to find one that suits your needs and fits your content and, as much as humanly possible, DON’T CHANGE THE LAYOUT . The thing is, a designer has spent HOURS making it look amazing so try to keep the formatting and layout as similar to the original as you can.
And now for my last pearl of wisdom. Saved until last not because it is the least important but rather, because it is the most.
7. Ensure your self-talk is in the right place
Every single day, wake up and tell yourself in the mirror “you’ve got this!”, because, believing in yourself is THE single most important thing you need to succeed.
Now, what are you waiting for?? While the process of setting up your business may feel insurmountable right now. If you narrow your focus down to these 7 steps you’ll find it much more manageable AND you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term business success.
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