Starting your own business is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and the best part is that there’s no start up cost. All successful businesses start out with an innovative idea and the passion which bring these ideas to life. The only thing stopping you from coming up with a great idea, starting your own business, and being successful at it is you! Once you have the want to and the know how, building your company name and brand will prove to be easier than you ever imagined.
Being an entrepreneur gives you total control over the decision making, work hours, and most importantly the wages. You are now your own boss, and the fate of your company/livelihood is in your hands. Working for yourself won’t be easy, but it will be a great opportunity for you to prove to yourself that you have the knowledge, the skills, and the drive to succeed independently. When you build your company from the ground up, there is self gratification, not to mention you get to keep 100% of the profits (minus what’s owed to Uncle Sam).
The first thing you’ll need to start your business is figure out what the world needs and why they need it. Now that you have this thing that the world needs, the next step is deciding how you’re going to market it. The way business works is… you find a demand and then you supply it! Simple enough? Lucky for entrepreneurs, most consumers don’t realize they need a product until it’s actually on the market, so bring on your fresh/new ideas and get ready to sell. Aside from offering just goods and/or services, it’s important that your customers like the person running the business and handling the customers (i.e. Customer service). People are more likely to support and continue supporting your business when you’ve made them feel good about themselves and about their purchase(s). This indeed is an art that will pay off in the long run if mastered correctly.
Getting your business started won’t immediately require any of your money, but it will require all of your effort. The best way to work towards building a successful business is to educate yourself as much as possible so that you can make the best of your time, energy, efforts, and money. Take advantage of today’s technology and use the world wide web to research everything you need to know about the services you’ll be providing, as well as the people you’ll be offering your services to. In addition to studying your market and products, you may want to get a feel of who the competitors in your area are, what they offer exactly, and what you plan to do differently. This information will come in handy when you’re submitting your proposals to potential clients.
If you don’t have a home computer or laptop, visit your local library, sign up for a library card, and begin taking advantage of the free computer/internet access that’s offered to the public. Now that you have an idea of what it is you want to offer the public, its time to start marketing yourself and your services. In order to differentiate your business from other competitors, you’ll need a name that best represents you and the services you’ll be providing. The last thing you want is to be in business for a year under “AskCheyB”, build popularity, only to find out that the name you’ve been operating under is legally owned by someone else. To avoid this, research the name you’d like to do business under, make sure it’s available, and then register it with the state as soon as possible.
Visit and register your business under one of the following: Non-Profit Organization, Sole-Proprietor, Limited Liability Corporation, Partnership, etc. <<<< Research each type of business and decide which suits your company best. Fees apply!
Once you’ve registered your business with the state, visit www.godaddy.com and secure a domain name for your website that you’ll soon be creating (i.e. www.AskCheyB.com). The cost for a domain with GoDaddy is as low as $12.99/year. Once you have your domain name, you can choose to also purchase hosting through GoDaddy, or you can use the hosting that’s available through www.wix.com. Hosting is necessary to make the domain name you’ve purchased for your website visible in the internets search engines. The cost for hosting through wix is as low as $10/month. Wix allows you to create a free professional flash website using a pre-designed template or you can create your own design from scratch.
With any business, you want to give your customers a way to contact you; you can create a free email account as well as authorize a free phone number to be associated with your business via http://www.gmail.com (google voice). Choose an email address that’s easy to remember and also matches the name you’ve chosen for your business. Now that you’ve registered your business with the state, you have your tax id, you’ve created your professional website, purchased your domain name/hosting, created your email address/contact number, you are now ready to start marketing your brand.
Businesses thrive on sales, and sales come from people who have buying power. Wherever your market goes, your business must follow! In today’s day and age, the internet is where you will find a vast majority of your market. Albeit, there are many who have not fully made the transition to today’s most popular social media websites, a significant amount of people who have buying power are in fact surfing the web and shopping online. In efforts to tap into both markets, you should plan and execute a strategic online & offline marketing campaign.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are amongst the most popular social networks of today, and fortunately for your business, all 3 sites are free. Be sure to create a profile and include any and all pertinent info to best promote your business on each site. Invest in image editing software such as Photoshop and become familiar with creating designs for your business cards, flyers, t-shirts, and other promotions. When creating your business cards, be sure to include your company name, number, email address, website, logo (if you have one), and links to your social media networks so that the people you meet can easily connect with you.
Contact your friends and family members and ask them to be the first to try your services and refer you to anyone else who might be interested. Also encourage them to visit your website and join all your social networks to support your efforts. Since you don’t yet have any clients, your friends and family members are the perfect candidates to gain experience with without any pressure, and to possibly get a great review on your products and services.
When you’re approaching strangers in person, be sure to sell yourself before selling the services you offer. As mentioned earlier, people are more likely to support your business if they like you. A casual conversation that is genuine and sincere will eventually lead to the topic of “What do you do?”. This practice is known as a soft sell. A hard sell can be hit or miss; you approach a total stranger and immediately tell them what you do and shove a business card in their face. This could lead to a “No, thank you. I’m not interested” before the person even takes a look at your card. Tread lightly!
Design and print T-shirts that you can wear whenever you’re attending places with heavy traffic; this will draw attention to your website and your business effortlessly. Print extra T-shirts and give them to influential people who could potentially be an evangelist and promote your business to a larger audience or refer you to potential clients. Take lots of pictures in your new T-shirt with public figures, celebrities, and the like to further draw attention to your brand.
Develop an email mailing list consisting of people who may be interested in your services and send out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter with information on upcoming events, special offers, and discounts. Conduct a monthly event inviting people to come and try your services at a discounted rate. Require that each person who attends your event join your email mailing list for future promotions, and encourage the people who RSVP to bring a friend! Don’t forget to reward repeat customers by offering them exclusive discounts for their loyalty.
Every day is a work day! Promote your brand any and everywhere you can, and keep your costs low until you can afford to pay for advertising. Send out regular newsletters, post daily updates on Facebook, Tweet hourly updates and promotions, Blog about your events, and connect all of your clients/potential clients to your social networks for a fast/easy to access them. Bring more than enough business cards with you everywhere you go, and be sure to connect with the local businesses in your neighborhood and ask if you can leave some of your business cards at their establishments. When business picks up and there’s not enough time in the day, hire interns to help. In exchange for their service, you can offer to teach them everything you’ve learned about starting and running a business.
The barter system is a great tool to use when you’re trying to keep costs down, and if you’re just starting out, keeping costs down should be a top priority. Do your research and see if you can find people/businesses willing to perform tasks or provide the goods you need in exchange for your services. The results are, both parties get something they want at no cost to them. You’d be surprised how man people and businesses would prefer to use the bartering system as opposed to shelling out cash that could be re-invested into their business, so don’t be afraid to ask.
When it comes to your business, it’s important to treat everyone with dignity and respect. It’s equally important to conduct your business in an honorable and respectable way. Your family, friends, and colleagues will be more likely to support your business if they know/feel as if you are conducting business in a way that best reflects that of someone with good morals and values. Any form of illegal or unethical activity can ruin your business before it even gets off the ground. Develop a mission statement and a code of ethics that you plan to enforce throughout the life of the company, and amongst its future employees.
Email address: FREE (www.google.com)
Phone number: FREE (www.google.com)
Web design: FREE (www.wix.com)
Interns: Feed them and give them exclusive insight on the business.
DBA: (Doing business as) As low as $15, but varies.
Domain name: $12.99/month (www.GoDaddy.com)
Hosting: $10/month (www.wix.com)
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Life & Relationship Coach