Setting up a lucrative business is one of the best ways to have a positive impact on the economy, gain financial freedom, and achieve a sense of accomplishment. But that doesn’t imply that it’s an easy task. As any business owner will tell you, it takes a lot of grit and passion for getting things up and running, as well as hard work and sacrifice to ensure the company survives in the industry. Many individuals experience many years of frustration, downfall, and setbacks before profits start rolling in.
But just because it’s challenging to form a successful company doesn’t mean you can’t make the task a little easier. As strategy and business coach Tony Robbins once stated: success leaves hints. What this means is that you don’t always have to learn via trial and error. Regardless of the phase, you’re in, there are still some best practices (coming off of successful companies) that you can follow.
Tips for Building a Business That Survives
1. Clarify Your Goal
Let’s assume one of your goals is to expand your reach in a new marketplace. These goals as an objective won’t have a meaning until you make every endeavor to achieve them. Hence, more steps will be needed rather than just setting up business goals. In other words, you’ll need to dig deeper into their meaning as well as what they mean for your soon-to-be-launched organization. Also, you’ll need to answer a lot of questions.
Do you have enough manpower to begin with? Where is the best market to begin international expansion? How much funding will you have and be willing to spend on this venture? While answering these questions will help you set up goals, don’t just stop there. Expand your goal creation efforts towards building SMART goals. What do SMART goals mean for budding entrepreneurs? Simply put, the goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited.
2. Build Solid SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
Standard operating procedures (or SOPs) are the key to turning your venture into a car that can run without you playing the role of it’s the engine. In fact, the more solid your SOPs, the more you’ll be able to find free time to tackle the responsibilities of your business. Whether you’re aiming to start a business to sell it later on or a venture that stays intact for years, great SOPs can mean your business can become a self-sustaining entity that’s known separately from its founder.
Begin by overseeing every task yourself. After you’ve mastered it, use Camtasia or other similar tools to produce easily consumable and highly engaging video content that shows how you’ve accomplished the task. You can also make some kind of keynotes to support the video. Not only are engaging SOPs handy for the people who will work in your organization; they’re also attractive for potential purchasers who might be interested in acquiring your business.
3. Build Your Personas & Voice
The goals, requirements, and perception of your target audience will dictate how you convey your offerings. Understanding these things will help you identify what mediums your persona consumes, which digital channels they use, and what encourages them to buy. Figuring out personas doesn’t require a lot of investment. And you don’t need to take help from a market research firm either. Tools like MakeMyPersona can guide you through a range of relevant questions about the individual you want to reach. They’re meant to make you think how you might be perceived.
After identifying your buyer personas, your business can begin to find its feet. That’s where you’ll need to start building a brand identity – stuff that tells people what your company is. One thing you should pay attention to in this aspect is the voice of your brand. What does your company represent? What are your values? How do you want someone to talk about your company? Even if it’s a new business, creating a brand voice from the beginning can be quite useful. Think about how customers perceive companies like Apple and Walmart. They have an individual voice that helps them stand out.
4. Get Finances in Order
When all the costs related to your venture go into your personal account, it can become complicated to see what’s going on. For the sake of proper management, open a separate business account that is connected with every business-related transaction you make or plan to make. Fortunately, you can set that up quite quickly with your existing bank. In a nutshell, keep your personal and professional financials clean. This will help you down the road when it comes to filing taxes, calculating profits, etc.
That said, there are alternatives to conventional banking that can help keep the records of your transactions orderly and neat. Perhaps one of the best solutions out there is QuickBooks, and if you’re planning to run a company that’ll have multiple income streams, it is recommended that you recruit a bookkeeper to manage this software. If you’d instead take another option, you can receive help from a specialist like Bean Ninjas, especially if you’re planning to run an online business.
Once you’ve taken the steps mentioned above, work towards getting your company’s launch in order. That’s where you set up a detailed map of your startup company. If you’re going to launch something like an e-commerce store, it’s wise to map out every webpage. Where will customers go once they click the ADD TO CART button? What does the product description say? Does a video need to be added on the homepage? Every single webpage should be mapped out.
If it’s a physical item or a brick-and-mortar branch you’re planning to launch, comprehensive maps and designs of the product or outlet should be produced before the launch. For this purpose, you can use software like Photoshop, but this can also be done offline using a pencil and paper. As you do, new ideas will arise before the day of launch, which can enhance your efforts.
Tips for Marketing Your Business
Form a partnership with another business from your industry to get more eyeballs on your offerings. But don’t just choose any firm to work with. Make sure the potential partner is aligned with your vision. Would their audience be interested in your service? Is that audience challenging to reach without partnering up? Answer these questions before you approach someone.
2. Promote via Social Media
Set up company accounts and have a branded presence on big social networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Try Instagram, too, if you’re running a business that is visual-oriented, like a photo-editing company. Additionally, you can try out some paid ad campaigns using options like Paid Search Discovery from Stumble Upon. Paid ads mean the users will arrive straight on your business site, ready to listen. If you want to move beyond photos, you can create product-based videos to place on YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, so you can be sure that someone will come knocking on your door.
3. Launch a Referral Program
Once you’ve established a decent customer base, offer a few of your buyers a free item, free shipping, or some other rewards when they refer a new customer or two. This can really work in your company’s favor as it’s another way to start a word-of-mouth campaign. Getting customers to tell their family and friends about your business is a highly powerful way to gain traction. What you’d be doing in the process is building brand advocates – individuals who do not charge anything to say positive things about your business (and they cost less than famous influencers).
4. Try Guerilla Marketing
This type of marketing has a significant focus on creativity and includes strategies that are often cost-friendly to execute, especially when implemented on a local basis. For example, you can broadcast your Facebook name on a sidewalk, plaster custom stickers on a cafeteria’s wall that you regularly visit, or use an empty brick-and-mortar shop as a canvas for product art. There’s a lot of room to get creative, and a big budget isn’t needed to launch a successful marketing campaign.
5. Speak at Events
Now that you’re aware of your company’s expertise, spread the word even further. Get in touch with international and local media outlets to let them know you’re available to talk on subjects relevant to your line of industry. Start responding on hot topics on Quora, actively participate in Facebook groups, become a thought leader on LinkedIn, and don’t be shy of submitting letters to the press. By being a local spokesperson, you’ll get many opportunities to shed a positive light on your new venture.
Setting up and marketing a business might seem like a mountain to climb, especially when you’re short on resources, but there are plenty of tactics to not only launch, but to continue the business drive you enforce with these efforts.