There are small businesses opening up all the time in the United States. Even last year, when businesses were closing, the number of new US businesses that started up was still 2 million more than the number of new businesses in 2010. The US is a friendly country to start your own business, and many people have found great success and freedom doing so. If you’re looking to start a business in 2021, there are certain things you can do that will greatly improve your chances of success. Here is a guide to help you get your feet off the ground, and reach the goals you want to reach.
Create a Business Plan and Find Your Investors
One of the biggest things that stops a new small business from dead in its tracks is financial backing. If you don’t have the capital to get started, then you should not go forward. You can provide the funding yourself if you are able to, but you may have to look to other investors to help get things off the ground. You could do a Patreon-type of fundraising campaign, or you could find people in your network who would be willing to put up the funds.
In either case, you need to be prepared. You have to show potential investors what your company will do, and how you will achieve the targets you set. This means having a comprehensive and well-thought-out business plan that accounts for both the ups and the downs. There are very few small businesses that experience growth from the minute they start. Growth is not linear, and there will be bumps. Account for that in your business plan and make your plans clear to potential backers. You will present yourself as honest and dependable, and have a lot more success raising money.
Get Ahead of Things and Promote Your Brand Before You Open
No matter what sector your small business is going to operate in, you will want to promote yourself before you officially launch. This will help you hit the ground running and get off to a good start. Studies show that consumers are looking for authenticity when they support a brand. If you’ve started a website and social media channels, you can start talking about what you do and how you go about your business.
This will give your business a boost of authenticity and reliability. When a customer comes across your brand after you launch, they will see that you’ve been working at it for a longer time period and will give the impression of professionalism. This pre-launch period is also an important time to iron out any issues or mistakes in your branding. Your website logo should be prominent, and your colors should be consistent across all of your platforms and channels.
Whether your business is completely online or is a local establishment, you can benefit from in-person and local marketing. An online business can leverage its neighbors and community, and a local bricks-and-mortar retailer needs the walk-in traffic. While digital marketing strategies like local search engine optimization (SEO) helps your business be more visible in local search results are important, you should not neglect physical, or offline marketing.
This can take the form of anything that is not online, including radio, television, print ads, and billboards. One of the best things about being in your community is being able to connect with people on a personal basis. Using acrylic sign holders to display your ads better will attract customers, and help you build a personal rapport with them. You can set up at special events, trade fairs, marketplaces, and anywhere else where you think you might be able to connect with people. Make sure that your marketing materials are professional and share consistent branding with your online materials. Prepare for these events by investing in professional, traveling fixtures that will set you and your business apart from the rest
Digital marketing will work for hand in hand with your offline marketing efforts to create a cohesive marketing strategy. Your best bet, especially if you are a local small business, is to incorporate SEO into your marketing. This means that you will use techniques, including creating content on your site, that will help search engines rank you higher on their results page. SEO can provide an excellent return on investment, and get the website visitors you need to convert to sales and grow your business.
There are several technical ways to boost your SEO, such as meta-tags and optimizing your website for mobile and download speed. If you are a local small business, you want people to find your website when they search for your type of business in your area. If you sell widgets, and someone searches for “widgets in Whoville,” you need to appear near the top to be able to compete.
As a small business, you can’t afford to let any potential customers go. You have to make them love you. That starts with great customer service. Your website should be easy to navigate, and you should be easy to reach. Make sure to answer questions promptly, and be willing to go the extra mile to make their experience as hassle-free as possible. Does that mean extra work and investment from you? It absolutely does, but it’s necessary when you are a small local business possibly competing against big box stores and national corporations.
There’s a common statistic that many businesses subscribe to, that it costs 5x more to gain a new customer than it does to keep an old one coming back. This is true; however, it doesn’t truly capture the full extent of it. Not only do good customer service and relationship building help create loyal customers, but when you do get a new one, they will be more likely to repeat their business. Also, loyal customers are more likely to be advocates for your brand. They will recommend you to friends and family, and word of mouth can be very powerful.
Have the Right Team In Place
People start their own businesses for any number of reasons. One of the biggest is freedom. You can have the freedom to make your own hours. The freedom to run things how you want. The freedom to live your life the way you want. However, if you don’t have a team that you can rely on and that has the skills you need, then you won’t be able to reach the goals you have set.
It’s common for small businesses to employ family members and work together. If this arrangement works, then it’s perfect. However, in some cases, employing family or friends may not be in your best interest for a successful small business. Make sure before you start your business whether you want to work with family and friends. You should only attempt this if you believe that you will be able to count on them when needed. Otherwise, you might create difficulties and unnecessary stress. If you hire the right people, it will be easier to get the results you want.
You might have the best idea that’s ever been conceived. However, you need to take that idea and create a viable business out of it. You can’t simply launch a business without a strategy and a plan. By following these tips, you can create the business you want and the life you’ve always dreamed of.