This is a collaborative post
Starting your own small business is always a hugely exciting process. You are taking your idea, your passion project, and turning it into a reality. So many people out there talk about what their dream small business would be, but so few actually take that step and bring it to life. However, we are sure that we do not need to tell you that it is a stressful process and that is putting it mildly. If you are about to take this step, then you will have probably spent the last couple of years watching the news and financial markets obsessively waiting to see if this really is the best time to launch.
It is important to remember that there are factors in the market right now that are going to make things difficult for any first-time entrepreneurs. We know that the rising cost of living is going to mean that people have a lot less disposable income. We know that we are going to be looking at paying for more goods and services as prices go up across the board. However, the government has unveiled plans to cushion the blow and there are always going to be things that you can do in order to give yourself a better chance of success. Here are just a few tips for anyone starting their own small business this summer.
Start Building Your Website Now
If you are thinking about launching a business now and you have not started thinking about your web presence yet, then you need to move this to the top of your to-do list right now. Everyone has been forced to pivot to digital if not completely then at least in a very significant way over the last couple of years, and you need to remember that a lot of businesses out there will have had a lot more resources and time to throw at their online strategy than you may have. Start by building a website that is easy to use and easy on the eye. Try to avoid using an obvious, boring template and instead think about how you can best communicate your brand without making it difficult to use. Think about putting some written content together. You are going to need blogs and articles that demonstrate your expertise and experience, full of the relevant keywords without running afoul of Google’s spam filters. Google updates its algorithm regularly so make sure that you understand what they are looking for. You could also think about including other media, such as videos.
Brush Up On Your Software Skills
Speaking of your online skills, anyone starting a small business these days is going to need to understand the software that they need to launch successfully. If you do not have much experience in this area, then you are going to need to do some research to figure out what the most useful software for your specific business is. For example, if you are managing a team of people then you need to think about whether project management software is going to be the best way to stay on top of everyone’s workloads. It is going to be worth investing in cybersecurity software to ensure that your information and finances are safe, not to mention those of your clients. If you are running a business, then the chances are that you are going to need to know how to convert files and manage your own website. Whether you are converting a JPG to a PDF to get a contract across to someone quickly or using their image tools to design a banner for your site, having the skills to do this yourself will be a great advantage.
Do Your Market Research
When you are putting together your business plan, your market research is going to be one of the most important elements. The last couple of years have been incredibly tough for businesses in the United Kingdom, and everyone has been battling it out to stay afloat. If you are just launching, then you are entering a marketplace that is very competitive, but you will also have flexibility that existing companies will envy. Make sure that you study other businesses in your sector closely to see how they have been handling the current challenges that we have all been facing. Identify any niches that you could exploit, as well as areas that are so well-covered that you should avoid them.
Know What Makes You Unique
Following on from the point above, one of the most important things that any new business needs to do is to be clear on what sets them apart from the competition. Your unique selling point (or USP) is what you need to demonstrate to your customers. You need to be able to translate this for anyone who is thinking about taking a chance on you. It may well be worth sitting down with a marketing or branding expert to help you find your visual identity. The market is so crowded, and you want to make sure that you are catching peoples’ eyes.
Do Your Customer Research
If you are launching a business this summer, then you need to make sure that you have done your customer research. There have been so many changes to the way we shop and do our business online, and you need to ensure that you have factored these into your business plan. Take the time to create some customer and client profiles for the people that you are hoping will use your business. Find out where they spend most of their time online and what social media platforms they use. This information will be crucially important when it comes to figuring out where to target your advertising. For example, you do not want to waste lots of time and money promoting your company on a platform used primarily by teenagers if your target audience is in their 40s. Find out what keywords people are searching for when they are looking for the kind of thing that your company has to offer.
Brace Yourself For A Bumpy Ride
If you have never launched a business before, then it is so important to remember that you are starting on a marathon, not a sprint. It is fair to say that the first few days and weeks after your launch will be as hectic as you could expect, and there will be issues that you have not foreseen that suddenly pop up and make things difficult. You may find that so many of the issues that you predicted are not issues at all, and that there are plenty of other things that you need to worry about. The important thing is that you keep moving forward and do not panic.
There are always going to be bumps in the road. But if you can roll with the punches and adapt to new challenges, then you will be in a good position going forward. If you have anyone in your professional network who has been through this process before, it will definitely be worth reaching out to them for advice and moral support. If you have employees in your business, make sure that you keep them informed and make them feel like part of the journey.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post