People who dream of starting their own businesses are often lost when it comes down to actually starting the business. They feel negative and unconfident. They don’t know what they are supposed to do first. Which skill must they learn first? How do they market their products? Where to start?
Those were the same problems we were going through when we started our website designing business 8 years ago. It would be silly to think that we had it smooth and easy. It wasn’t. But that was 8 years ago. We’ve learnt the hard way.
But based on our experiences, we want to help you get a better head start, so here are some things which we feel any entrepreneur worth his salt should do or have done, at least.
Get A Business Logo
Find a good designer/graphic artist to design you a business logo. Once that is done, get him/her to design you your name cards, business stationery, fliers etc with your business logo on them. This creates a professional image.
Get a Website
Get yourself a website, with your own domain. These days, it is imperative to have a website. Make sure the website has the same logo. Come up with a catchy tagline too. Don’t forget to get your email and website details onto your name card too.
It may be boring if you hate math but it is essential. In the beginning, you will be handling your own accounts. So at least be familiar with how to keep your books in order. If unsure, find out from friends who are accountants or read up on it. You don’t want your accounts to be in a mess and not know if you made a profit or loss at the end of the financial year. Here’s a good site to begin learning: http://www.accountingforeveryone.com
Start Making Connections
Start networking. It doesn’t matter if it is with the moms in your children’s playgroup, the neighbours, your weekly book club, etc. Get out and meet people. Talk to them. Take each opportunity to put yourself out there so people know what you do/sell. Don’t be shy either. If you are, you won’t sell anything. Networking online is another cool option.
Get Creative With Your Marketing
Find ways to promote your business creatively. This means how to market and promote on a shoestring budget. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Instead get more creative. Think of ways you can promote without spending big money. If you’re tight on money and don’t know where to start, start by reading books on guerilla marketing. This series of books by Jay Conrad Levinson and his colleagues will give you lots of novel ideas for marketing your small business.
Commit to Your Community
Be generous. If any non-profit needs your services, offer them at a lower price or if you can, give it FOC. It’s really win-win for you and your recipient. You get to give back to the community and the community gets to use your services. And you get plenty of goodwill and people will spread the word about how wonderful you are.
Try Barter Trade
If you have the skills but no money and want something that another person has to offer, why not barter-trade your way through? We’ve done this many times in our business so we can vouch that this works. But the first rule of barter has to apply: give something of value to the other person first. Don’t give something of lesser value. Give equal value if that’s the least you can do.
Two Better Than One
If you know another entrepreneur who offers complementary services, why not team up and be a stronger pair? You can tap into her clients and vice versa. You can market together and profit from the added energy and resources!
Make Learning A Must
Make books your best friends. Read business books and apply the ideas you learn. You don’t have to start with buying books. Ask friends or go to the nearest library. Start with business magazines too if books are too difficult. Read online too if you can’t find suitable magazines or books. There are plenty of great resources online. Here’s one to start you off http://entrepreneur.com/