You've got the idea, but every small business needs a plan to get off the ground. That can all seem daunting, so here are the best ways to create success.
With the rise of extra small businesses and freelancers, more and more young people are becoming interested in starting their own businesses and social projects. In order not to get overwhelmed with the new role, we will cover several aspects you will need to consider when starting a business from the ground up. This will be a learning curve so be ready for new ideas, multiple project iterations, and a lot of things to do.
Where To Start? Minimum Viable Product
Many of us tend to get bogged down because we want to create the most successful product the first time we try. We think it’s a ‘do it right’ or ‘don’t do it at all’ type of situation and this mindset may overwhelm us to the point of inaction. The concept of a minimum viable product helps perfectionists overcome the initial pressure of doing everything perfectly and rather focuses on doing things well enough.
To create your first prototype, you simply need to answer two questions: Why does the customer need the product? And how can it help them? These questions will get you started on the product development journey but in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you’ll need to conduct market analysis.
To compare your project with the one of competitors, consider using the SWOT technique. This approach allows you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and determine potential opportunities for growth or threats coming from the competitors. Then you could structure your findings in a compelling infographic using Tableau Public or Venngage.
Who’s Your Target Audience?
In order to make sure that your business tackles a specific problem your customers are facing, it is important to understand who your ideal customer is. Here is where a buyer persona comes into play. A buyer persona is a concept that describes your target audience, their needs, wants, and traits. Businesses create such profiles based on research they conduct in order to understand consumer behaviour and product-market fit.
Businesses tend to have multiple buyer personas as they provide products and services for a wide audience. Each target audience will have their own set of needs and, for this reason, will need different tools and strategies to appeal to your product.
There are several questions you will need to focus on when researching the interests and needs of your potential customers. First, collect demographic information and educational background of your target audience. What does an average day in their life look like? What are the challenges they face and you can help with? Consider your customers’ values and what is important to them when making the purchasing decision. Also, make sure to anticipate any objections and have ready-to-go resolutions.
Are All Products Equally Important?
Once you establish your most valuable product (MVP), it is a reasonable step to consider whether you’ll be focusing on one product only or you plan on creating a product line. In case you create multiple products, consider noting which ones bring the most revenue. According to the book The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, the 20% of the products you offer will bring the most money. At the same time, the other 80% may result in fewer sales, however, these products have their purpose too, so you don’t necessarily need to get rid of them.
Having a wide range of products that represent different price margins has several advantages. According to a Harvard Business Review piece by Thomas Allard and Mansur Khamitov, products that don’t necessarily sell have several purposes. First of all, more expensive products make the rest of the line feel more accessible, therefore, driving the sales up. Additionally, having premium price products and services communicates expertise and brand prestige.
Social Shopping As A Modern Phenomenon
Now that people consume most of the news and information on social media, social shopping is becoming more popular amongst youth. Features like Instagram shopping allow businesses to make the purchase on the platform a seamless experience. For this reason, it makes sense for projects and businesses to increase their social media presence by engaging with the audience and providing quality content about their products and services.
In order to build a loyal audience, you need to show your followers that they can rely on you posting useful or fun information consistently. Here, a content plan comes in very handy. A content plan is an outline of your posts, stories, visuals, and topics that you will cover on certain days of the week. Such a strategy helps pre-plan content ahead of time so that you don’t need to frantically think of ideas on the day.
Social Media and Website Content
When you as a company post something on social media, keep in mind that it needs to serve a purpose. To determine whether something will help your business reach its targets, apply the Hero-Help-Hub strategy. Google created this concept in order to categorize content on social media. Each of the types has its own uses and together they help create a wholesome brand. The hero content focuses on increasing brand awareness, help content gets new subscribers and followers, and hub content keeps current subscribers happy.
Social media presence will greatly help drive traffic to your website which is still important to have despite popularity of social media platforms. Here are some of the key feature you may need to consider when you build a website:
The homepage is often the first thing people see when they go on your website, so it’s important to communicate your values and the value of your product straight away. Remember to include a description of your product and details of its benefits.
An about page is necessary for the clients to learn about the history of the company and the people behind operations. Include a brief summary of who you are, what you do, who your target audience is, and add some numbers and statistics.
The products page should provide sufficient descriptions of what you offer as well as prices, deadlines, terms, conditions, photos of products, and, optionally, reviews from previous clients.
An FAQ page is your way to show potential customers that you speak their language and know the potential concerns they may have. Make sure to provide honest answers without vague descriptions. Think of the most common questions that you get asked a lot and include them here so that you can always refer clients to your website.
The contact page, if easily accessible, shows your potential clients that you are open for a discussion should they have any questions. Make sure to include multiple types of contact information including phone numbers, social media accounts, emails, and addresses.
A blog section of the website will come in handy for increasing traffic and creating a lead to encourage readers to purchase. Similarly to social media, blog posts should be pre-planned with the final goal of sales in mind.
The Bottom Line
Starting a project of your own is a thrilling experience, which, on one hand, gives you full control over your actions and, on the other hand, puts all the responsibilities on your shoulders. Although it may be overwhelming, it is important to remember that it is not a sprint but rather a marathon. And with good planning and consistency you will soon be able to see your project come to fruition.
Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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