When getting started with a new venture, it’s important to build momentum as soon as possible. Below you will find four simple steps to complete to get started as soon as possible. Focus on getting them done to a ‘good enough’ standard as soon as possible. Take care not fall into the trap of thinking that you need to get everything 100% perfect before you start.
Step 1 – Set Up a Simple Website.
These days just about all businesses need to have an online presence. For this reason you should set up a simple website and associated email address. Don’t overthink this – you don’t need to spend thousands on an immaculately designed, all-singing and all-dancing website. To start with, all you need is a simple site with 3 to 5 pages at most. Sometimes, even a single page site is enough to begin with.
Firstly, you’ll need a home page, which is where you give a brief summary of what your business is about. You’ll then need a short ‘About’ page where you can talk about yourself and what you have to offer. Be sure to tie this in to the interests of your readers too. Next you will need a ‘Products /Services’ page, where you can explain in more detail what you sell. Finally, you will need a ‘Contact’ page telling people how to get in touch.
If you enjoy writing and have the time to update your site regularly, you could also include a blog, although this isn’t necessary to get started. It’s more important to find your first customers, so if your time is limited concentrate on that, rather than on blogging.
Your website design should be simple, clean, and easy to read. If you look around you will find plenty of inexpensive options to get a website up and running. Don’t waste a lot of time or money on it now, you can always update it later when your business is up and running and you have a much clearer idea of what you need to say.
Step 2 – Get a Simple Logo and Stationery
Using business cards and stationery with your logo on them can be a brilliant traditional marketing strategy that can help get the word out about your new business, especially when they look great.
However, if the plan is for your business to be solely online, then you may not need to get business cards and stationery immediately so try not to spend time or money on this step until you know that it will benefit your business.
You may also decide that you don’t even need a logo – after all, when was the last time you bought something because you like the company’s logo?
If you do decide you want a logo and other branding created for you, don’t spend ages trying to come up with the perfect design. Just get something simple to start with and then move on to the important business of getting your first customers. Sites like 99designs.com and fiverr.com are great places to get logos, website headers, and other branding done quickly at a very reasonable price.
Step 3 – Set Up Your Social Media
Social media is often presented as the magic bullet where you’ll get loads of customers ready and eager to do business with you. The reality is often completely different.
Social media can be useful, but it should usually be used as a long-term, relationship building strategy. If you’re not careful, you can waste a lot of time updating or your profiles thinking you’re being productive, when you’re really just being busy for the sake of it.
Don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking that you need to have a presence on every social network -you don’t.
If you are mainly selling to other businesses, then setting up a LinkedIn account can be a good idea. If you are selling direct to consumers, Facebook is probably a better option. If you are already a frequent user of Twitter then by all means set up a business profile there, but if you aren’t then don’t bother to start with as you are unlikely to benefit much from doing that in the short term.
Pinterest and Instagram can also be good options if your product is highly visual, for example if it’s something arts / crafts related, or to do with clothes, jewellery and accessories, etc.
Bear in mind that the best way to reach users on social media is usually by buying ads on each network and targeting the people you really want to reach. Don’t go mad with this, learn how to use each network’s ad platform and then start with a small advertising budget until you know what you are doing.
Step 4 – Set Up a Phone Number
When you set up a new business, you should also set up a separate phone number for it. The best way to do this is with a virtual phone number. Many business owners choose to use a service that is only for the use of businesses, not the general public, such as the one found via this website. By using a business solution contact service, business owners know they are using a contact service that is efficient in terms of important work and working on the move.
When you choose a virtual phone number, you can choose from many available number ranges, such as regional number, non-geographic numbers, toll-free numbers, or even international numbers.
Having a dedicated virtual number instantly makes you look more professional and credible as a business. It also helps to protect your privacy and enables you to control who can call you and when. If you’re juggling your new business with a hectic family life this is a huge advantage. Instead of being interrupted by phone calls at any hour, you can either choose to answer calls live, send them to voicemail, or handle them in any other way as you see fit.
With this enhanced privacy and control you can also feel more comfortable about posting your number on your website. Sharing a phone number on your site makes you look more trustworthy, even if you don’t always answer it live.
If you’re expecting to make a lot of outbound calls on your business, you can also set up a VoIP account to reduce your costs. VoIP stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’, which is basically a fancy way of saying internet phone calls. Business class services offer high call quality and reliability, comparable with a traditional phone line. You can either buy a dedicated VoIP phone to make and receive these calls over your existing internet connection, or simply install a free app on your smartphone instead.
So there we have it, four simple steps to get you up and running as soon as possible. Remember, gaining momentum is more important than getting things perfect. Don’t spend too much time and money getting prepared, instead focus on bringing in your first few customers and getting some cash coming in. After all, that’s what you’re in business for and what’s important.
About the Author:
Matthew Guise is a digital marketing expert for Callagenix, a UK-based hosted phone services provider that specialises in business grade hosted phone solutions.
Phone: +44 (0)333 247 0000