5 Steps to set up your small business online

It’s often a tough decision, deciding whether to start up your own business or not. We all have big dreams of what we want to do, our 1, 2, 5 and even 10 year aspirations for the business.

It’s exciting.

It’s flexible (Yay for us parents!)

But gee whiz it’s scary. And that is the plain and honest truth.

Years of experience in the corporate world, from small to multi national companies, have helped me learn and grow, and become rather talented in the field of marketing (even if I do say so myself)! However, being wholly responsible for my business, my sales, my income, and having fewer people to brainstorm and consult with? Well, that just adds a whole new layer of “eeek”!

So what have I done to ease the burden? To make it easier? To make it viable?

I’ve engaged with the people who can Help me. Guide Me. And people who complement, extend and bolster my skill set.

Let’s be honest, as much as we want to be great at everything in our own business, it simply isn’t possible. Firstly, you may well kill yourself trying to be all things to all people, but are you really going to deliver the best outcome?

The first thing you have to remember – and yes, this is scary too – you have to spend money to make money.

We can all put time and effort in, and ultimately these all have a price attached to them, but why spend countless hours toiling learning how to use Photoshop, changing fonts, adding images, deleting images, just to look at what you’ve done to discover it’s still a pretty average logo you have designed. There is a reason why graphic designers exist – because they are good at what they do! It’s their profession. They have been trained to do a job, know what is the best font, what colour goes with what, and the best placement of different elements. Everything is subjective of course, we all have different opinions, but they are more than likely going to do a much better job than you are going to be able to do.

So let’s talk about marketing your small business.

There are currently 1,801,864,760…1…2…3…4  websites live right now. with another 50 added every minute (don’t believe me? check out Internet Live Stats.)

How can you compete with that?

How can you make your website stand out?

So everyone knows that there are HEAPS of ways to build a website. We’ve all heard of them – Wix, SquareSpace, WordPress, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc etc etc. Your website is the first thing people see of YOURS on the internet. If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “so, I’ve been playing around on [insert online web build tool here] for the past six months, and I just can’t seem to get it right”.

Now – repeat after me “I will focus on what I am good at”. And what is that? Running your business. Building your business. And hitting those 1, 2, 5 and 10 year goals!

In my opinion there are five very clear steps to setting up the online presence of your small business. Small business marketing is no small feat, so don’t get me wrong – these are BIG steps – but hey, you have to start somewhere!

Research, research and yup, more research

This is probably a pretty obvious one, and if you are anything like me you have probably researched until you are blue in the face!

So what exactly do I mean by research?

It’s about gathering as much intel as you possibly can about your market and niche.

Who are your customers?

  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they likely to be?
  • How educated are they?
  • What sort of income do they have?
  • What is the family status?
  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they “hang out” – both on and offline?

Who are your competitors?

  • What services/products do they offer?
  • How do they compare to you in terms of features and price?
  • What do they do well?
  • What do they do badly?
  • What sort of reviews/feedback have they received?
  • Where do they “talk” to their customers (Facebook, Pinterest, online forums, interest pages, etc)
  • What does their creative look like – logo, colours, marketing materials, website, etc look like?

Now do a side step…. Check out companies that are complementary to yours!

Think about companies that work hand in hand with yours, and check them out the way you would a competitor. Here’s a few examples:

  • Website design – hosting companies
  • Baby bibs – baby food
  • Hair dressers – beauticians
  • Pet food – pet products
  • Furniture designer – interior designer
  • Plumbing – builders
  • Photographer – videographer

The list goes on!

Plan it out

Now that you’ve done all your research, it’s time to plan it out.

Try and answer these questions:

  • What does your business offer that none of your competitors do?
  • What problem does your business solve?
  • What drives your customers emotionally?
  • Is your pricing palatable to the market and is it going to be viable and profitable?
  • What do you like most from all the websites you have visited?
  • What resonates best with you – colours, language used, layouts, etc.
  • What do you and your business stand for?

What do you want to achieve in the next year?

Create a checklist of things you want to do and tackle your priorities:

  • Logo design and branding guidelines
  • Product/service outline and pricing
  • Legal stuff (yup, we all have to do it)
  • Shipping/freight arrangements
  • Payment options
  • Create and launch website
  • Hype campaign (yes, things just got real, lets launch your business!)
  • Get your first sale (yippee!)
  • Set up a presence on social media
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Start video marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Grow and audience on YouTube
  • Google advertising
  • Facebook advertising
  • Influencer blogging
  • Content marketing
  • Retargeting
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Search engine marketing
  • ARGH I don’t know what any of those are, just someone help me!!!!

Ready, Set, Go!

It’s time to put the pedal to the metal and get this baby rolling!

You’ve done all the hard work, all that nitty gritty to get where you are today. Now it’s time to bring in that tribe of people who can make turn it all into a reality.

You are the lynch pin.

You are the project manager.

You are the business owner.

Now own it!

Get yourself a piece of paper and draw a big line straight down the middle – from the top to the bottom.

On the left side of the page, I want you to write all the jobs that you can do. These are all those things you are great at.

Now, on the other side of the page, I want you to write down all the things that you can delegate. You are a small business owner, it’s time to get serious but also let go of the “I can do everything” attitude. There is no “I” in team!

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