Starting a small business isn’t easy. It is a time-consuming process that can be tough, even for the most experienced entrepreneurs. So, if you’re just starting your business and you have your doubts – don’t worry, you’re not alone! All around the world entrepreneurs just like you are experiencing the same thoughts, concerns, victories, and setbacks. Luckily, we are here to help. We have done some research and in combination with our experience as a small digital marketing company, have come up with these ideas that will lift your spirit and get you back on the right track.
The road from idea to action can be long and bumpy. Nearly 40% of small business owners took less than 6 months to get from business idea to launch, 20% took between 6 months and a year and another 40% took more than a year. However, almost half of the queried entrepreneurs identify their startup experience as a “slow burn”.
Start your Small Business with Confidence From the Beginning
Beginnings are always hard. You are probably feeling tangled in a web of numerous things to do, and you don’t even know where to start. There is nothing unusual about that. You are about to embark on a long bus ride home with many stops along the way. Did you know that entrepreneurs have to reach at least 10 different milestones before they start a business? Here are some of the most common ones:
- Choose and register your business name
- Develop a customer pipeline
- Conduct product/market fit
- Obtain permitting/licensing
- Acquire the first customer
- Set concrete business goals
- Purchase technology
- Design and launch a website
- Set up social media accounts
- Start accepting payments from customers
With so many steps involved, it can be difficult to know what to prioritize. This is why it is important to try and learn everything you can about running a business. Many entrepreneurs have said that at first, they had a fear of failing. It’s just human nature. The successful ones, however, realized that learning, becoming proficient and feeling confident to start the business, is paramount for success.
- 41% of pre-launch businesses said they spend more than 3 months attending seminars, participating in training sessions, and talking with their peers.
- 54% of businesses in which the founder is the sole employee indicated that their research is still ongoing today.
The only way to go is forward. Keep your eyes on the road and keep moving, even if you don’t have all the answers.
Set long-term and short-term goals
Your long-term goals should be focused on growth, revenue, and profits, so you never lose sight of where you’re going. Then, identify short-term goals to keep you motivated on the road of endurance.
Learn from your peers
Ask for advice from other entrepreneurs. You have miles to go, so don’t hesitate to share knowledge and experience with people who have already been in your shoes. Read books, listen to podcasts, attend trade shows, or visit local businesses and chat with owners and managers to get a nudge in the right direction.
Don’t be discouraged by failure
As a business owner, it is important to remember that everything is a learning opportunity. There will be times when things don’t turn out exactly as you planned, but you should look at it as your chance to grow and improve. Just believe in the process, pick yourself up, and continue the marathon.
Don’t Wait to Start Finding Your Audience
Being a small business owner often means having a lot of things to think about, but attracting your customers should be priority number one on your list. By having a pipeline through which to funnel your potential customers earlier on, you will find it easier to start generating business. Many entrepreneurs recognize this, but don’t always focus on the steps that could help them get their first customers faster.
- 64% of pre-launch businesses had not yet acquired their first customer
- 28% of post-launch businesses had not yet acquired their first customer
Finding your first customer and making your first sale is not that easy. It takes a good deal of time. It’s even harder to get a regular customer base, especially without having an impressive or extensive portfolio. This is why it is important to start marketing as soon as possible. To get your voice heard far and wide, you will need to buy the right tools for the job – tools such as email marketing automation software, an internet domain, and hosting.
- 81% of businesses paid for marketing software in the post-launch phase
- 58% of launched businesses paid to register their domain
You will need to conduct research to identify product/market fit and learn about your target audience.
You can talk to your potential customers through surveys, interviews, or use focus groups to help you understand who your customers are, what type of messages resonate with them, and how much they’re willing to spend.
Conduct beta testing by inviting your potential customers to try your product and give feedback. This way, you will be able to fine-tune things, if necessary, to make sure everything works just as expected when you are ready to launch.
It is also important to keep an eye on your competition. Scout the marketplace to find gaps that can set your business apart from everyone else and then capitalize on them.
Build Your Online Presence
After you have done your research, it is time to invest in tools that will help you grow and scale your business. It is important to start promoting as soon as possible. Many entrepreneurs regret not starting to advertise their business sooner because they were uncertain about which steps to prioritize. For starters, find a marketing platform that fits your budget and allows you to create personalized content. If you are not ready to create a website, buying a domain name should do the trick. You can publish a “Coming Soon” page to start collecting email addresses and work on automated messages to prepare for your launch. Expand your marketing campaign across multiple channels to reach a bigger audience.
Use social media to your advantage
Create profile pages for your business on multiple social media platforms, and use industry-related hashtags in your posts. If used well, this could be a very powerful marketing tool, so you should consider dedicating a portion of your budget for social advertising.
Start building an engaged audience
Consider creating a landing page through which people could sign up for your messages and updates and learn about your products and offers even before you launch. You can also give them an opportunity to pre-order some of your products. This way, you can create a list of recipients that are interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to stay engaged with your brand or product.
Create helpful and unique content
Boost your name recognition and reach more potential customers by creating a website or a blog about your business. On it, you can publish informative articles about your area of expertise which your readers will find helpful and problem-solving.
After you have made your presence known and have also built an initial customer list, it is time to gather customer data and give a boost to your marketing strategy. You can use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to collect, organize, and analyze everything you need to know about your customers. Searching for trends and patterns, monitoring their engagement and spending habits, and learning about their preferences will help you create more relevant content that will improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Starting a small business can be hard. There are so many things to learn, so many obstacles to overcome, and so many different strategies to try until you find the one that will make you stand out in the vast sea of brands and offers. But if you focus on marketing early in your business creation journey, you will be able to launch sooner and will be poised for growth right away. Just remember never to let uncertainty slow you down – find your audience early, connect with them often, and start marketing your business on day one. Everything is time-consuming, but it all comes together in the end.
Looking for Marketing Help?
Do you feel that it could be easier to have a helpful team? We believe it is wise to have experienced and friendly professionals at your side. If you need a team of graphic designers, programmers and marketing aficionados at your side, we’re here to help. Schedule a call with Alpha Efficiency strategists and let’s have a value-packed strategy session, and gain confidence about launching your small business.