An estimated 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years of startup, according to the Small Business Association (SBA). That’s a high number of failures, but you don’t have to be a statistic if you take the time to start your business out on the right footing.
Below are a few important things to consider when starting a small business …
Legal & Financial – First and foremost, before diving in too deep, seek advice about the most beneficial legal structure for your business from a lawyer. Next seek money management advice from an accountant. If funds are tight (and they likely are) you can visit the IRS.gov Website and also the SBA.gov for help.
Pick a Niche – While you can offer your services to virtually anyone that needs them, picking a niche can be beneficial. Try and pick something you know you enjoy and steer clear of those areas that make you cringe. Narrowing your focus helps you and your clients get the best results.
Branding is Crucial – Everything from the color of your website to your logo to your business cards and in between is important to branding your business and needs to be consistent. These things don’t need to crazy expensive when starting. Websites like GotLogos.com charge $25 for a logo.
Online Presence – You need a domain name that matches your business and paid hosting. Please, if you remember nothing else, pay for hosting and don’t go the free route. For some it may be tempting but it’s not advisable. The logo on your website should match your business cards; again, consistency is the key.
Embrace Social Media – Create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn account that all highlight your business and credentials. The easier you make it for people to connect with you, the better it will be for you and your business.
Build a List – Newsletters are a great resource and affordable too. After you are set up and going consider offering a newsletter through a service such as Aweber.com and send out regular emails. You can also incorporate affiliate marketing on your site and in your newsletter by signing up for programs that are relevant to your business as a great way to make additional income.
Blogging & More – Take the opportunity to attach a blog to your website. It’s a good place to offer more information to your readers and visitors and you can also attract like-minded bloggers that might want to post on your blog. The more information you offer the bigger your reach. Search Engine’s love new content and it keeps your website fresh among the competition.
While the internet provides for unlimited reach, don’t neglect local networking and opportunities. Word of mouth is everything in any business. Join local business groups and forums and make sure that everyone knows what you do.
Offer Add-On Services – While this is most definitely a personal decision, it is a good way to add additional income to your business to make up for any lulls you might experience starting out or when times are generally slow.
If we missed anything important, please feel free to share! You can never have too much help or information when starting and maintaining your small business.