There may be few road maps when it comes to starting a small business, but there are certainly things to keep in mind. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when getting started and when running your business as well that can help you along the way. Enjoy!
Keep your mind on funding. For example, special incentives in place right now may make it a perfect time to look for investors for certain kinds of domestic corporations. The incentives may not be right for your business but could help with startup or expansion in company’s meeting the prescribed profile. Always be on the lookout for opportunities for funding. WSJ
Figure out your customer. There are a lot of things that go into figuring out your market, whether the market for a new product or service or a market into which you might want to expand an existing business. But creating a profile for the ideal customer can be a great place to begin. Respectfully Disobedient
Buy a business that works. Of course, you don’t have to start a business from scratch to launch yourself into entrepreneurship. Why not buy an existing business instead. The key to this process, of course, is to make a good purchase on a business that works and that you can work at and expand with time and hard work. WSJ
Marketing & PR
Understand the Web. This does not mean you need to be a Web guru or even that you should go and hire one. It does mean that a good understanding of how the Web works including some practical common sense understanding of SEO is advisable for any entrepreneur seeking to launch almost any business in an era so dominated by online communication. Directory Journal
Embrace the social media. Yes, we said embrace! It’s not enough to know and except its existence. Facebook, Twitter and their ilk have transformed communication forever, and whether they remain in existence next year or even a decade from now is beside the point. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand how to get to your customers and right now they’re all on FB. M4B Marketing
Learn the basics of public relations. Whether you intend to hire someone to do PR for your company or not, understanding the basics of PR are key to any entrepreneur or small business owner. Advertising and marketing are both huge costs. To the extent you avoid those costs with a bit of simple public relations instead, the importance for your business could be huge. EMSI
Setting Up Shop
Learn the art of the press release. Along with the basics of PR management, every entrepreneur should learn the basics of the press release. Though writing may not be your long suit, when starting out small it can be critical to have a basic grasp of how to tell others, most importantly the media, who you are and what you do. David Coyne
Invest in the talent you need. Whether tech specialists or other employees, your workforce will be important to your success, at least if your business expands beyond a one man or one woman operation. So the question becomes, how do you find the right people for your business and attract them to your company? The answer may not always be money. WSJ
Find the right location and make it work for you. You’ll here it a lot in small business circles: location, location, location. But the fact is that answering this question for your business could be more important than most., Do you need the best location in town? Do you even need a location or will a virtual office serve just fine? Are questions to answer as your business plans move forward. The Frugal Entrepreneur
Virtual assistants: the future is here. Possibly the most important innovation for the overworked entrepreneur is the virtual assistant. Often entrepreneurs themselves, these workers have emerged as an outgrowth of both outsourcing and online technology allowing support that gets you what you need when you need it at cost you can typically afford. They may be working for other people too, but there’s no need for you to hire another employee or the headaches that go with it. The Rise to the Top
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Using internet marketing and SEO correctly can make a huge difference in the success of your new business. You may not have the funds to hire someone to help you but some internet marketing companies offer one off consultation and even free resources!
I found 3 different free email series and a bunch of inexpensive guides on the various areas of internet marketing on the Portent Interactive website – http://www.portent.com/
These are great tips and certainly in sync with today’s business trends. Over the last nearly 30 years working with Entrepreneurs, I consistently find they make the same mistakes when starting a business.
All the best,
Holly A. Magister, CPA, CFP