5 Must Haves for New Business Owners
by Summer Alexander on February 1,2012
Starting a new business can be a daunting task; preparing a business plan, obtaining financing, business licenses, accounting software, a location, materials and conducting proper market research can almost begin to feel like a full-time job in and of itself. However, once all of those background items are in place it is now time to put on your best face and open the doors of your business to the public. Whether or not your business is online, mobile or a traditional storefront location there are 5 essentials necessary to maximize your chances for success.
- A Website – I know it may seem obvious but many new business owners overlook this key marketing tool. 81% of Internet users have used the Internet to do research about a product they are thinking about buying according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. This means that when your potential clients conduct online research about your company it is imperative that they find you. Your website should clearly articulate your brand, your message, the benefits of your products and services and your pricing. There is no quicker way to lose clients than by having a website that doesn’t tell them what your selling or one that is plagued with spelling errors and no information on how to purchase your products/services.
- A Professional Email Address – Asking potential customers to purchase from your brand new business is asking potential customers to trust you. They need to trust that it is safe to provide you with their payment information and that your products or services will enhance their lives in the way your marketing pitch claims. Make it easy to believe that your company is professional by having an email address that ends in the same domain as your website. For example: Summer@salexanderresearch.com instead of Summer@Hot2Trot.com.
- A Business Card – Just like your website and email address, your business card should be professional. Having a business card on you at all times allows you to buy gold and silver coins, leave contact information with potential clients no matter where you are; the grocery store, church, the gas station etc. Every way that a potential client may contact you should send the same message. Having a logo and a mission statement are a good way to ensure consistency amongst all marketing channels. Your message should clearly let customers know exactly what your business does. My logo gives my name and title, my mission statement tells you what I do: Providing prompt, accurate and reliable marketing research for small businesses.
- A Target Market – Business are meant to solve problems for their consumers. The key to your financial success in business is making sure you are solving the right problems for the right customers. The only way to do this is by conducting proper research. You need to know current trends in your industry, who is likely to buy your product or service and why, and you need to know the best way to reach your target consumers. Trying to sell a product or service to the wrong market is called “business self-destruction”. The preparation you put in on the front end gives your business a much better chance at success. Example: Failure to conduct proper research will find you opening an all you can eat beef restaurant in a neighborhood full of vegetarians .
- Social Media Presence – Being active on the various social media outlets is a great way to engage with clients and potential clients and can be done for little to no financial investment. It is a good idea to have social media accounts with all the main players: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube however, put the most effort into the channel most likely to translate into customer conversions. For example: If your target market is senior citizens you should know that there are far more people over the age of 55 on Facebook than on Twitter.
Think of a must have I missed? Share below.