Help to get up and running
Here are a few tips that can help you get off to a good start, and continue growing into the future.
1) Keep costs low with a virtual office
Depending on the type of business you’re running, you may not need a formal office space, which is a significant cost-saving in the start-up stage.
This is particularly the case if you don’t need to meet with clients regularly or operate mostly online. For example, if you work from home, and have only the occasional need to meet in person with a client, you can hire a meeting room.
Rather than having fixed communications infrastructure and a dedicated office phone line, you can work with a virtual toll free phone number that redirects to your mobile. You can also use an online fax system to send and receive faxes on your PC or mobile device without the need for a clunky machine.
Online faxing is paperless and cost-effective, and can be used anywhere you have an internet connection. The better online fax solutions, such as eFax, allow you to file share, and also offer free cloud storage. They are secure and far more reliable than the traditional fax machines that are at the mercy of phone lines, paper jams or engaged numbers.
2) Spread Your Brand Message Online
It’s very hard to cut through as a new business. So it’s worth looking at all the possible online marketing options, from making sure your website is optimised for mobile to using social media to drive customer engagement. It’s crucial to get your brand message out early. Also think laterally about other ways you can improve your visibility, for instance writing blog articles or offering link swaps with complementary organisations to improve your reach.
3) Research constantly and be prepared to change
The old maxim ‘adapt or die’ certainly applies to business. You may go in with preconceptions about what will work, but you’ll almost certainly discover that there’s no guaranteed pathway to success. So keep tracking and researching the market and your potential customers, and the progress of your marketing activities.
Many businesses fail because they simply don’t listen to what their customers want and need. Also learn from what your competitors are doing, and identify if there’s any gaps that you can exploit.
4) Do the legwork in getting leads
A great deal of your time should be spent chasing up customers and sales leads. Without this, you have no business. So prepare to put in a lot of legwork, and don’t be discouraged if it takes time to build a customer base. Also remember that even if you don’t generate any hard sales at first, you’ll still be establishing yourself in people’s minds as a viable service provider. A refusal from a potential customer isn’t a no forever, and they may well want to use your services down the track.
Run a low capital, high profile operation overall
Be vigilant about keeping costs down in all areas of your business operations and outlay the minimum possible, especially in the first phase. And use all the tools available to help you market your business, and steadily grow and expand.