TechsPlace | When you are thinking about starting a business, it really pays off in the long-term to have a thorough and well-researched plan in place, but this is not something you can just throw together over night; there are a number of questions you need to ask and things you need to consider when writing up your business plan.
Before you can even consider opening your doors or launching your start-up, you need to address all of these things thoroughly and make sure that you fully understand the market, have a marketing strategy and an exit plan if things do not quite go as you expected.
What type of business are you?
Whether your business is a sole proprietorship, or you are a sole trader, a partnership, a corporation or a limited company is important, as these all have different implications when it comes to taxes and liability for debts to creditors. If you are the only person who owns your business or operate by yourself, then a sole proprietorship is the way to go, however, if you are starting up a big business with employees and multiple directors, a limited company or corporation will be the best option.
What is my product or service, and who is my target market?
Thanks to the internet and social media, there are many different ways by which you can reach your target audience. But, before you can do that, you need to know who your target audience is. If you sell a product which has an appeal for middle-aged men, then your target audience is clearly not going to be middle-aged women or teenagers.
Understanding who your target audience is can help you develop a successful marketing strategy; if you do not tailor your marketing to your specific audience you will find it very difficult to generate conversions and sales. Figuring out who your target audience is does not just tell you which demographics to focus your marketing efforts towards, but can also help you decide on an overall marketing strategy.
If your target market are older consumers, then you will benefit more from traditional marketing methods as opposed to social media, for example. If your target market is a younger audience, then you will need to use media (such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube) in your marketing strategy – more on this later.
Figure out your competition
Before you go into the world of business, it is important to understand who your direct competition is, where they operate, how they differ from you, how they operate and how you can learn from their successes and failures.
It is super easy to learn about your competition before you go into business, it is as simple as performing a quick Google search, yet many new and young entrepreneurs neglect to do this.
Figure out your marketing strategy
The most important aspect of starting out as a new business is how you are going to market yourself. There are lots of different avenues you can take, from more traditional means such as television and newspaper ads to more modern digital advertising such as social media posts and campaigns.
Your strategy will depend on your target market, but it is likely going to include some form of digital marketing and, given the nature of modern start-ups, social media and digital marketing will probably make up most of it.
Social media marketing is amazing for new business ventures, especially those targeted towards a modern and younger audience, because it can be targeted easily towards a specific niche, can reach people in all corners of the globe, has the potential to go viral and encourages emotive responses from those who see it. Social media marketing helps you establish a brand identity and, with the right marketing campaign, you can have your post, images and videos shared to an audience which spans hundreds of millions of people who all use it on a daily basis.
In short, utilize some form of social media in your marketing strategy; it is a must for all modern start-ups. If you have a team of staff working with you, provide effective social media training to boost the potential of your social media marketing strategy. Having the right people producing the right content who have been trained on the subject is a great way to get your start-up off to a flying start and avoid PR disasters.
Develop your web presence
In today’s business market, you simply must have a strong web presence in order to be successful. Even if you are not an online business or start-up, chances are people will research your company or your product online, and what your potential customers or clients find online will likely be the deciding factor as to whether or not you make the sale or have them inquire about your services.
A well-made website which is aesthetically pleasing, responsive and full of relevant up-to-date content, coupled with a strong social media presence, is a great way to help bring in those all-important clients and customers in your start-ups early days. Hire a web developer if you have to, and make sure you are present on all the social media channels where your target market is. For example, if you are a fashion brand or creative start-up, you will find Pinterest more useful than Twitter, which is a great platform for blogs, magazines and journalistic start-ups.
Invest in security
This is often an overlooked aspect of starting a business, but you need to make sure that all your assets are protected. This can include investing in remote monitoring systems, setting up a security check when entering the premises, firewalls, and so on.
Even if you feel you are just a small fish in a big pond, you may easily become a target – precisely because most small companies feel they don’t need to be investing in security just yet. Prevent this by thinking about the issue on time.