Is your small business a start up? If you are in business one year or less then your business is considered a start up and there are common sense things that you need to know and understand before you rush off into the sunset thinking because you sell it or offer the service that the people will just come. Because, they won’t.
Before you even think about a website you need to do this first:
Understand that you actually have no idea what you are doing. Face up to this fact and seek help and guidance from those advisers who have the business experience.
Hire a business coach. Retaining a business mentor should absolutely be your very first expense / investment in your business. Do a phone interview with several business coaches before settling on one. Make sure the fit is right for your business needs. Each business coach that you interview should give you some free initial consultation time on the phone. Be respectful of their time limit. 15 minutes, 20 minutes. Listen for a business coach who expresses genuine interest in your business and who is willing to treat your business and you like the unique entities that you are.
Decide whether your current idea of your product is fulfilling a need or want that prospective clients have. Do some market research, do internet research. With tangible products explore selling at craft or trade shows or local marketplaces. Gauge the interest, or not. You may have to tweak your product several times in order to find the sweet spot that gets you customers.
With services, determine who your local / main competitors are and analyze how they do what they do and use it to your advantage. Learn from the ones that instinctively grab your interest. You too will have to go through the tweaking stage more than once to find your sweet spot that nets you clients as well.
When you see that your product or service is viable, this is the time to create a flexible business plan that can grow and evolve with you.
If you are going to need a payroll service such as ADP go directly to them yourself. Do not use a middleman. In fact, do not use middlemen for anything for your business. Go direct or go nowhere – the commission fees will bleed you dry and when money is slow to come in you will find yourself still having to pay the higher price because of the middleman.
Be motivated when cold calling on businesses if you offer a service. Don’t hand them a flyer and expect that they will call you. They won’t. You have to get in there, meet the owner or manager, give them a reason to want your service. Your market analysis of competitors should have been done by this point and you and your business coach should have come up with a plan that sets you apart from the rest.
This legwork is necessary before you spend good money on a website. Putting up the website first is like putting the cart before the horse. You don’t even have a game plan at that point.
Hiring the right website designer is crucial. Again, you should touch base with several website designers, doing the phone interview bit. If they don’t offer a free 15 or 20 minute consultation they are not right for you, right off the bat. Each website designer should be asked about what they can do for you. Just like the business coach, the website designer should express a genuine interest in your business, and be able to tell you briefly what they can do for you clearly and in understandable terms. If their services include marketing after website launch they need to be able to tell you what they will do to get your business out there.