Have you been thinking of starting your own business? How is that going? It can be a bit daunting, but if you are passionate about what you do and you have the basics down pat, you are in a good place to move forward.
That said, there is a lot to consider, so we thought we would share a few things you should know, and that we wish we had known before we both opened our first business years ago.
Find out who is buying what you are selling. If you don’t know this vital piece of information, it can take much longer to get your business off the ground. In the beginning, we were working with entrepreneurs and things were going well. The challenge was that as we got our name out there, we suddenly had two very different audiences – small business and corporate. Why was this a challenge? It was a challenge because our marketing message became skewed as we worked tirelessly on marketing to the two different audiences. What did we do about this? We decided that we needed to figure out what audience to focus on, develop a solid message for them and then evolve as required.
That did work well for us and we got very clear and crisp with our messaging. In fact, we stopped having a split-personality with our blog posts and social media, and started gaining a captive audience. We felt like this would help our audience better understand how we could serve them best and guess what –it not only felt right, but business improved as well!
Are you finding that your business has a split-personality? You will know instantly, if you are struggling with what to write about or what to post on social media. It can be challenging to make that transition from wanting to serve everyone and anyone, but you need to do this. If you don’t, your business will suffer and get lost in the sea of businesses. The key is to focus, be clear as to who you want to work with and who you can serve best. If you don’t know, reflect, and ask yourself the following questions;
- Who do I love to work with most?
- What am I most passionate about?
- What happens when I work with this client?
- How do I know when I’m working with the ‘right’ clients?
You might be surprised to find out who these people are, and that it may take you in a different direction, or you may need to change where and who you network with. With that though, you will feel more fulfilled and best of all, you will be more successful!
Alright, so we have spoken about clientele and drilling down your target market when you are starting your own business. Now it’s time to talk about the plan! Do you have one? Do you have a unique brand that stands out and represents you well? You’ve heard about the “know-like-trust” rule in marketing. If people don’t feel an emotional connection to you, meaning, if they cannot see you as the business owner or someone who they can trust, they’re unlikely to want to work with you. We have broken this down into what we believe are four pillars of growing and sustaining a business. Here goes…
Do a business plan. That’s right, even if you do not need to get a bank loan, or apply for a grant, doing a business plan is a brilliant exercise to get your head in the game of business ownership and what it really entails. Ask your banker, accountant and other businesses lots of questions, to ensure that you’re on the right track. Usually, there is no rush to start your own business, so I highly recommend that you spend some time, do your research, talk to other businesses and create a really solid plan before you launch.
Develop a solid unique brand. When you are ready, be sure to think carefully about your brand. Your brand is part of you and should reflect who you are, it should be unique, speak to what you stand for and to your ideal client too. Hire someone to work with you to develop your brand -it’s truly worthwhile to nail this from the beginning, as your brand will be with you for years to come. You want to get it right!
Have a clear vision and goals. Remember, when you talk to everyone, you talk to no one. Not everyone is your client, so be sure to thoroughly assess and get clear on your own values, your skills and your goals. Doing so will help you align with the clients you really want to work with. We spend the better part of a day each month, assessing the previous month, looking forward and planning for the next month. What worked? What didn’t go well? What should we stop doing? Start doing? Keep doing? This is a huge key to success!
Be social and develop a plan. Yes, being on social media and networking face-to-face, are key to connecting with others, when starting and growing your business. The beauty of social media, is that it’s one of the least expensive ways to advertise your business, all it costs is your time. Yes, there is a benefit to doing Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Facebook Boosts of your posts. However, you don’t have to start there. The key is really to develop a great strategy for marketing your business, be unique, allow people to see your expertise, your sense of humour and be inspiring. Before long, you will start to build a following on social media and you will begin attracting the people who you want to work with. Why? Because when you post about things you care about and value, people are naturally drawn to you and want to get to know you, learn from you, and that’s how you build trust.
You have likely heard a few of the above points before. That said, these tips have been very beneficial in our business and that of our clients. We hope you find them helpful for your business and we wish you the very best as you start your own business, or build some of these tips into your existing business.
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If you’re in the beginning stages of your business and you’re feeling overwhelmed, we would love to help and share our expertise with you so that you develop and launch a successful, thriving business! Give us a call at 705-302-3386 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheetah Fusion Creative Agency