Generally speaking, it’s a whole lot easier to apply for a role within an existing company and commit to the life of an employee – working in an office or other commercial space and heading home at the end of each month with a set salary. So why are people taking the hard road rather than sticking to the beaten track?
Well, there are a whole lot of benefits that come hand in hand with owning your own company. As long as you manage everything correctly, the hard work really does pay off and you can slowly but surely see your own dreams come into fruition, rather than spending your life working to build someone else’s dream. You also experience a lot more freedom. You choose your own working hours, you can work from a location of your choosing, and you also decide what field you are working in. You design and sell your own products, spending your days working on something you’re genuinely interested in!
So, if this sounds good to you, you might want to consider starting your own small business. But where do you start? Well, that’s where we can come in to help. Read on to find out exactly how to get your business off the ground!
Ditch Notions of Brick and Mortar Commerce
When you first start up a company, it’s always a good idea to base yourself online to begin with. Now, there are various reasons for this, but most are to do with commitment and your finances. Setting up a traditional brick and mortar store is both expensive and risky business. Let’s start by considering commitment.
You generally have to find a commercial property and sign a contract, tying you in to a deal where you have to pay for the lease for a specified period of time. When you first start out, you don’t necessarily know whether your business is going to take off or not. Though you should always be optimistic, you also have to be realistic.
The majority of small businesses don’t make a profit in their first year, so you need to give yourself a little time to work out whether your products are going to be a success. You also need to give yourself time to figure out whether owning a small business is for you. If you realise that this venture isn’t working out or quite right for you as an individual a few months in, you don’t want to be tied into a multi-year commercial property contract that could leave you in debt or tied into a business that your heart isn’t invested in.
When operating online, you only really have to invest in a domain name to gain a space to operate within. Domain ownership generally only lasts a year, so if after one year you realise that you’re not invested anymore, you can always just end your lease.
Now let’s look at costs. Commercial property is notoriously expensive in and of itself. That’s before you even consider overheads such as electricity bills, gas bills, and water bills. Then you have to take on staff to work the shop floor and security to ensure that nobody steals from your stock. The costs incurred through operating online, on the other hand, are significantly lower. So, take our advice and operate online to start with. You can always expand out into brick and mortar business down the line!
Directing Traffic to Your Site
You may think that you should focus on directing traffic to your site once it’s up and running. But this isn’t necessarily true. Your best bet at getting as many visitors to your page as possible is to engage with a common business practice referred to as “SEO” and many SEO techniques can be brought into play throughout the setup of your website. The SEO process involves incorporating as many key terms into your website’s product titles, product descriptions, blog posts, FAQ pages, and any other area of your site that you can think of in order to help your page appear as high in search engine results as possible. A reliable SEO Agency will be able to do this on your behalf. The higher you appear in search results, the more likely people are to be directed to your page, and thus the more people who will browse the goods you have on offer and make purchases. It really is an investment that you should consider making.
Setting Up a Website
When you set up your website, you should spend your time and money on setting up from scratch rather than using host sites. The process of web design is often trivialised or played down by companies who attempt to rope you into their hosting sites which allow you to use free themes to create a website. However, it’s important to remember that free themes or even purchased themes are not unique. They’re sold to hundreds or thousands of people every day. So, if you want your site to stand out from the crowd, you’re going to have to create something unique, and unless you have an extensive understanding of complex CSS and HTML coding, you can find yourself feeling a little lost.
So, always collaborate with professionals in web design who will be able to take your ideas and convert them into a code, bringing them to life on the screen in front of you. Look for an individual or agency with extensive experience, as this will mean that they have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to guide you along the way. When it comes to design, you’re going to have to craft a space for yourself and your business within the consumer marketplace. This means laying a whole lot of focus on branding and your small business’ brand image.
Branding is essentially what lets people know what you and your products are all about. It also helps consumers to differentiate between your products and the alternatives supplied by other companies. So, your brand should be bold and noticeable. Generally speaking, branding should be established so that consumers can differentiate between you and your competition within moments of seeing anything associated with your company. This goes for your product labels and packaging, but should perhaps most importantly be instilled into your website.
Your website should convey all sorts of information to the individual accessing it at a moment’s glance, encapsulating your brand’s entire image in a small snippet of visual information. Often, consumers decide whether they like the look of a brand in a split second, which helps to explain why studies have found that so many sites are left within just seconds. It is clear that branding can make a profound difference in terms of whether people continue to your site, browse your stock, and take a look at the services you have available. If you can’t get people past this stumbling block, your business will inevitably fail. So, you need to convey your brand identity consistently throughout your entire site, from logo to font and colour scheme on various different pages. Your web developer is likely to keep this in mind regardless, but it’s perhaps best to discuss it with them before they get started to ensure that they have a full understanding of your brand and its unique aesthetic before getting to work.
Now, once you’ve got your website up and running (and appearing highly in search engine results), you should be good to go. Within no time, people will be browsing your stock, choosing from your products, and checking out. This all makes you profit, which is the aim of the game to start with! There are, of course, plenty of business practices to consider after this, but for now, focus on actually getting your business off the ground. After all, you don’t want to try to walk before you can run. Once you’ve found your feet and made a little profit, you can start to look to reinvest and move things further forward!