BUSINESS TIME: STARTING OUT March 31 2015, 2 Comments
Starting your own business can be daunting. In the early days you have to make pretty big decisions, some of which can come back to haunt you. If you're thinking of going it alone, whether you're launching a shop, blog, or your own freelance services, here are a few things to consider...
Picking a name is one of the trickiest decisions. Do you go for a name that you think sounds nice but has no meaning? Perhaps something more sentimental, or do you pick one that perfectly describes what you offer right now, but that could be restrictive if you expand things in the future? There's no right answer, but you will be asked why you chose it, so you need to be content with your reasons. There's nothing to say you can't change it in the future, but it will be a hassle. Check what's available as a web address, and research your SEO competition on google. (I learnt the last one the hard way.)
I hate the question 'What's your unique selling point?'. I think it's very difficult to be completely unique, and I think there's room for lots of us doing similar things well, competition is healthy and people want choice. But I also think you need to be clear on exactly what it is you offer, and what makes you stand out. Once you're clear on this, write it down, it doesn't matter if it's on a post it note or laminated somewhere. It's your ethos, and when times are challenging, use it to keep yourself on track.
Your brand encompasses every element of your business, it's so much more than your logo, it's your tone of voice when you talk to customers, your packaging, customer service, etc. Think about how you want to be portrayed, and how the brands you love communicate with you, what is it that makes you listen? Every brand is on Facebook and sending weekly emails, what's going to make people engage with yours?
This was never my forte... If I'm honest, I used to hate planning, it felt so restrictive and I'm (what I like to call) a free spirit (by that I mean dis-organised), but plans don't have to be stuffy 20 page powerpoints. For me, it's about making goals for myself. They don't have to be about taking over the world, but having something to aim for does help to drive you. I find it best to plan for the year in January because it's quieter, and easier to reflect on the past 12 months. However, if you're starting up, there's never a bad time to plan.
If you're starting a business or blog because it seems like an easy way to make money, you're wrong. Don't believe those sepia toned instagram feeds, there's a lot of work that goes into making it look 'easy'. Followings aren't built overnight, and it's not going to support you financially from day 1, so be prepared to invest lots of your free time for little or no financial reward.