How to build a thriving small business
By Dror Shaked, VP business development at Wix.com
So you’ve got an idea that you want to unleash into the world and have decided to start a new business. Congratulations! Plunging into the world of entrepreneurship can be scary but if you’re successful, the rewards will be more than fruitful.
Here are some steps to making your dream or passion a thriving, successful reality.
GET YOUR BUSINESS PLAN RIGHT
Take time to brainstorm. In order to be able to create a good business plan, you need to scout out all the information and create a winning strategy for your business. A plan for a new small business is a guide in terms of information, operations and most importantly, it can determine success.
A good business plan exposes your strengths and weaknesses, but all you have to do is to focus on your strengths and how you can overcome the weaknesses. Building a plan takes time and effort, and researching and writing your business plan may seem like a monumental task, but as you go through the process you will develop invaluable knowledge which will put you in a much better position, reducing the risks of failure.
Before you have a go at doing your business plan, make sure you have a basic business concept, have decided on your products and services, and brought on board a team that can support you such as accounts; above all, ensure that you understand the financial investment that your business will need.
Before you kick your business off the ground, start planning for marketing and branding. Building your brand identity is essential; this includes choosing a business name and designing a logo that establishes the look and feel you want for your business.
Start evaluating your competitors in the same field, as you can learn a lot by doing so. Identify what makes your brand unique; knowing what sets you apart from the competition and making it clear to your audience gives you an edge over them.
An important part of your brand is your online presence so you need to create a website that clearly explains who you are and what you do. If your budget is low, you don’t need to hire a web developer; beginners can get a website up and running in no time with web development platforms such as Wix. Websites are usually the home of your online presence and can be used to sell your products and services online, but most importantly to engage with your clients through the various tools such as newsletters, email marketing, content and others.
A great business won’t do you any good if people don’t know about it. Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and a following. Social media is essential in today’s world in order to spread the name of the business. Depending on the type of business, venture out into platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and perhaps even Snapchat. You don’t need to have all platforms, just the ones which are relevant for your business. Social media is a great way to engage with new clients, gain inspiration, as well as offer coupons and discounts to your followers. The more active you are online, the more likely you are to be discovered.
Through your website or competitions, get customers to fill in a form with their email address on it and start building your database. Email marketing is useful to reach out to a small or large list of potential or current clients to let them know when you have a new product, offer or news. Keeping them informed is a great way to drive recurring business and attract new customers.
If you invest on marketing yourself, your customers will grow quickly and you’ll start building a base of customer loyalty if your clients are happy with your service and impressed with what you have to offer.
KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING
Networking is key when running a business — from the time that you’re starting your business until it’s fully established, and even beyond. Introduce yourself to business owners, relevant societies and influential members of the community — you never know who could be a potential lead or customer. This is the best way to spread the word and bring in new clients or getting ideas that can take develop your business further.
If you have a particular area of expertise you should also look at industry conferences and events and participate as a speaker; this will give you exposure and allow you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Finally, continue to raise your profile by considering investing in PR, as it can be a valuable tool to raise your business profile with your key target audiences, whether they may be investors, partners, trade bodies or customers.
This post is by Dror Shaked, VP business development of Wix.com, and first appeared in Global Banking and Finance