1: The Idea
All businesses begin with an idea. The best ones tend to result from trying to solve a problem. If you’ve managed to find a novel solution to an issue, it’s probable that other people need it too!
Jot down your ideas and do some research online to discover whether they’re already available. If not, you have a viable business in the making! Even if you do find a similar idea, don’t be disheartened. There might be a way to finesse it; such as enhancing features, making it less expensive for the customer, or bringing it to the market more sustainably. If your idea is already being done, think of ways to do it better!
2: Crafting a strong brand
Once you have a solid business idea, it’s time to build a brand around it. This starts with a name. And it will be one of the most important decisions you make during the start-up process.
What’s in a name? For a new brand, it needs to be memorable. Not too trendy; opt for a moniker that will stand the test of time. All the better if it relates to the industry you’re in. Don’t make your company’s name too complicated, difficult to spell, or hard to pronounce.
3: Creating a web presence
Any business worth its salt has an online presence. Your company may operate completely online, or with a blend of virtual and real-life customer interaction. Either way, your brand will need a website at the very least. This should hold key information such as customer service details and the products and services you offer. If you’re running an eCommerce site, you’ll also need to set up and test the buying process.
Your company’s web presence will also extend to social media. Set up business accounts for Facebook and Instagram as a start, and extend your reach to Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest, depending on what’s relevant to your business.
4: Preparing for launch
If you’re selling products, it’s time to think about the route from stockroom to customer. Carefully plan the quantities of stock you’ll need for launch; this may require a period of research and development, or testing of products supplied by another business, as well as sales estimates. At this stage, you’ll probably need an injection of cash; click here to read about the benefits and disadvantages of a bank business loan.
You’ll also need to consider logistics. Again, if you are selling physical products online, select courier services that offer both affordability and reliability. Don’t let your business down from the start by choosing an unreliable postal service.
If you have a bricks-and-mortar presence, ensure that you’ve moved in with plenty of time to spare, and that all utilities are set up. If you have employees, make time to train them and check any required qualifications are in place.
In today’s hyper-connected world, social media has become a gold standard conduit of promotion. You’ll need to make decisions about outbound and inbound marketing techniques, whether or not to pay for advertisements, and the types of content you’ll focus on.
There you have it! Five tips to see you from a bright idea to the first customer. Good luck!