Impetus4: Step 3
First Steps in Starting a Business
First Steps in Starting a Business
First Steps in Starting a Business is the third step in Impetus4’s Steps to Success programme.
This is where we look at those all-important first few months of running your business. Now you will be focusing on finding your first customers and making your first sales.
So, you are ready to take the plunge and take the first steps of starting a business. What next?
Ideally you want to start making money from your business as soon as possible so marketing and sales need to be at the top of the agenda.
Getting that first client is your absolute top priority – without it you have no business. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to get your first paying client in the bag. We’ll also look at some of the other things you will need to focus on during the first weeks and months.
Go to our Resource Centre now to find everything you need to start marketing and running your business in the Step 3: First Steps section of the Impetus4 programme.
Marketing your business – and yourself – are going to be a huge part of what you do in the first phase of your business. If no one knows you exist, no one will buy from you.
Marketing is all about growing brand awareness and building trust and is the “reaching out” phase of the selling process.
The idea is that if potential buyers are aware of you, they can come to you rather than all your sales efforts coming from cold-calling, for example.
As a concept, marketing covers a whole gamut of disciplines and for more on what they are and why you need to concentrate on marketing, read Why Marketing is the Number One Factor in Small Business Success.
Among your top “to-do” priorities at the first steps in starting a business stage is to make your website and social media profiles are firing on all cylinders. Then you can start using them to put the message out about what your business offers.
People need to know who you are and why they should trust you – and ultimately buy from you.
Get the word out
It’s all about getting the word out at this stage, so also consider attending as many networking events as possible and make a big splash about your launch.
If you can hold a launch event with a celebrity, all the better, but always try sending a press release to the local press, if appropriate, or online publications or trade press that cover your niche.
You can also join relevant groups on Facebook and Linkedin, where you should introduce yourself and get involved in the “community” by offering value to others. One way of doing this is by answering questions or offering advice.
If you start to build up relationships, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals to anyone else who you may be able to help.
Once you secure your first clients and they are happy, ask them to recommend you and refer you to their network. If possible, ask them for a testimonial which you can add to your website and social media to build trust among other potential clients who may be checking you out.
Like it or not, now you are running your own business, you are now “in sales”. Even if you have a team of sales professionals working for you, there will be situations where you will be called upon to “sell” your products or services to prospective clients.
But it need not be as scary as it sounds.
They key is to remember that “people buy from people”. In other words it’s about building relationships with potential clients, asking questions to identify what their needs are and then communicating how your business can meet that need.
As an entrepreneur – even if you are an introvert – you are going to have to network in some form to build your business.
To ensure you don’t fluff it when it comes to meeting new people who may become potential clients, ensure you have your “elevator pitch” down to perfection.
You know your business better than anyone, so all you need to do is boil that information down into its key components and put them together in a way which tells potential clients how you can help them in a concise and understandable way.
If you struggling with the concept of selling there are hundreds of online and real-world courses you can enrol into to sharpen your skills and grow your confidence.
Or, take a look at the business resources available on Impetus4 to help you on your way.
Impetus4 Inner Circle
Find out more about Impetus4’s supportive Facebook Group and join to receive the support of other aspiring and successful entrepreneurs.
Explore the idea of having a business mentor by your side to guide you through the ups and downs of starting your own business.
Plan for success…
You have spent the past few weeks/months/years planning to get your business off the ground and now your ideas are coming to fruition.
But now is definitely not the time to rest on your laurels.
It may be hard when you are constantly fighting fires as new issues crop up, but you still need to plan for success.
Set your self a goal to aim for in the next month, three months, six months and a year and then create a plan on how you are going to get there.
As always, break each goal into small steps to make it achievable and set aside time to evaluate your progress.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to get all those business processes in place to ensure the smooth running of your business.
Consider setting up a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to keep track of all your contacts and where they are in your sales pipeline.
You also need to have a way of tracking those all-important finances. Even if you intend to hand all the hard stuff to a book-keeper or accountant, you still need to have a clear idea of where your business stands financially.
Constant evaluation of your new business is also crucial to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
It is so easy to get snowed under by the small details of “doing the job” and lose sight of the big picture.
Once you have started marketing and selling, you will soon get an idea of the sort of feedback you are getting.
Do you need to look again at your pricing structure? Should you look again at your buyer persona and change your marketing tactics accordingly?
It is also important to carry out an honest appraisal of your skills and abilities at this point.
Are there gaps in your knowledge that could be overcome by training, or would you benefit from sub-contracting or hiring a freelancer to take care of a certain aspect of your business.
Take care of yourself
You are your business and you are not doing yourself or your fledgling enterprise any favours if you run yourself into the ground.
It’s really important to take time away from the stresses and strains of your business to give you some clarity.
Time out can be useful at allowing you to see the wood from the trees and work out what your next step is, not to mention allowing yourself time to relax and unwind.
Remember your reasons for starting this business may have included having the freedom to spend more time with your family or pursuing a hobby and to give yourself the motivation to carry on through the daily grind, you need to reward yourself for how far you have come already.
Constant pressue – which oftens comes with starting a new business – can lead to all sorts of illnesses – and you being out of action altogether is definitely not in the best interests of your business.
Impetus4: Step 4
Are you ready to move on to Step 4 of the Impetus4 programme – Onward and Upward?