You’re starting a business, but you don’t really know where you start. It’s understandable. Starting a brand new enterprise is hard work. It’s easy to get bogged down in the finer details and unimportant stuff that appears important but is actually trivial to your success (i.e. the business license, DBA, website design, business cards, stationary, etc.). Statistics don’t like. Most businesses are out of business within 15 years. If you can make it to the five year mark, you have a much better chance of keeping your doors open. Here’s how to get off on the right foot.
Start Out Of Your Bedroom
Most small businesses make the mistake of spending a lot of money on overhead and supplies. This is totally unnecessary. Odds are, you don’t need a lot of space or a lot of overhead. Buildings cost money. Separate utilities cost extra – especially if you’re signing up for the business-class service.
Start small. You don’t even know if this venture will be a success yet. Most businesses can be helped out a lot by squeezing the budget until overhead is razor thin. When almost all of your revenue is profit, it’s a lot easier to reinvest and “snowball” the company into a stable company.
Commandeer Personal Equipment
Keeping in line with the “lean start” approach, try commandeering your personal stuff for business use. That laptop you use for surfing the web and watching Netflix? Bam! It’s now your business’s primary computer – the first of many (hopefully). Your little inkjet printer? It’s the company’s printing machine. Now you can make copies, print letterheads, and send invoices.
Pens, pencils, even that spare bedroom can be converted from personal to business use. Take a lamp from an unused (or rarely used) room in the house and use it for office lighting if you don’t have an overhead light in your new spare bedroom office.
Now that we’re on the topic of using spare bedrooms as home offices, kick everything out of there. This is your office. It should be a dedicated office, not a “converted bedroom.” Dedicated is good – especially when it comes to tax deductions.
Hire A Good Marketing Agent
Marketing is probably the most important aspect of your business. Even if you have a great product, your company is a failure unless or until you have a good marketing plan. A lot of mediocre products (and companies) exist today because of stellar marketing. Just think about all of the lame infomercial “as seen on TV” products out there – junk. Of course, you don’t want to hock junk products.
The point is, marketing is important. Most small companies, like Dubizzle, have figured out that the best way to market is to use direct marketing or direct response. Branding is generally reserved for the big boys like Amazon.com, Google, General Electric, Pepsi, and Walmart. As a small business, you need customers. You need orders.
Direct marketing will get you those orders. For that, it’s probably worth it to spend the money on a good direct marketing and PR person. Have someone write the ad copy for you. You won’t be sorry.