Starting a small business is a dream for many people, but fear of the unknown or even the unfamiliar can keep that dream from becoming a reality. Not knowing how to attract customers, create a small business website or engage in marketing a small business can hold even the most enthusiastic would be entrepreneur back. Here are seven tips to help you get started on your dream of owning your own small business.
1. Do What You Know
Start with a small business product or idea that you know something about. Do you see a need for a product or service that others need? Maybe you are passionate about a hobby? Now might be the best time to take that passion and turn it into a blooming business. For example, if you are a photographer, consider opening a camera shop or photography service. Keep in mind, if you know about the product or service you are selling and can share your passion on the topic, it will be much easier for you to makes sales and grow. Network with others that have the same interests and you will have ways to promote your business and may even find your customers within your social circle.
2. Be Who You Are
Think about your personality type before setting up and marketing a business. Are you introverted and uncomfortable around strangers and have no idea how to go about getting clients? Then a traditional brick and mortar storefront is not going to fulfill your dream of happy small business success. You might want to consider creating a small business website instead where you can interact with customers via safer channels such as email, online chat or possibly the phone. In the reverse, if you are a gregarious soul that craves human contact, best not to start a home-based business website that keeps you isolated all day.
3. Start Small
One common small business misperception is that you have to jump in with both feet. It is often better to test the waters by creating a website and marketing online for a small business until you have learned how to attract customers. Once you are comfortable with your small business website, marketing for a small business and finding new customers as well as earning revenue, you can think about making it a full time position and possibly quitting your day job.
4. Look for a Proven Market
You might be the foremost expert on new breakthroughs in underwater photography, but if people don’t understand this medium, your efforts might not be financially fruitful. Too often, the small business owners overspecialize and try to build a business on a very small niche market where there may not be enough customers to pay the bills. You will generate more leads if you first focus on the proven market, photography, and then specialize in your underwater photography line to attract customers that are specialists like yourself.
5. Focus On Sales
Sales are what keep the doors (or websites) open — everything else is just what you do to support sales and keep the business running. Focus on providing what people want, at the right price, when they want it and properly support it, and it’s hard to go wrong. Do everything within reason to keep the customers you have and to get the next one in the door. In the Internet age one bad customer experience, shared online, can loose you ten new customers. Look for ways to provide extraordinary service, go the extra mile or offer a special deal for loyal customers. If you provide an amazing experience, customers will talk about you.
6. Make it Easy To Find You
To purchase your product or service your customer needs to find you. These days, regardless of whether your business is online or brick and mortar, you must have a small business website at a minimum and you really should strive to connect with your customers through social media with a facebook fan page. You are losing significant business if you don’t have a website. Not sure how much you can lose by not having a website? Learn here.
If you want to bring customers to a physical location, make sure you are listed properly in services such as Google Places. Check local review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List to make sure that all the correct information is there, including a link to your website. If your small business is online, make sure you are listed in directories, have your site optimized for search (SEO) and engage in link building with other relevant sites.
7. Have a Plan
You know that every business needs a plan, but what about a back up plan? How well are you prepared for life’s little curve balls? Contingency planning is an important part of any small business strategy. Don’t be discouraged by failure, some of the most successful entrepreneurs today have taken failure from previous ventures and turned their contingency plan into a whole new, and successful, line of business.
Realizing your dream of building your small business takes fortitude, sweat, planning, and a little bit of luck. However, the payoff is being independent and loving what you do for a living.
So what are you waiting for? Get started building your small business dream today!