Cost Effective Ways to Launch Your Business
Admitting to yourself that you want to quit your 9 to 5, or your stay at home status, and want to start a venture of your own takes a lot of courage in itself. To actually start one can be particularly daunting, especially if you do not have a start-up capital to bank on, or previous business experience, or formal business education. Do not let that stop you. Given that you put in time and effort necessary, there is no reason you cannot do this. Remember that you are not on your own on your entrepreneurial journey. On your way, you can avail plenty of help from mentors, coaches, freelancers, and Virtual Assistants. Start from this blog post and see where your business journey takes you.
Plan Your Business
You absolutely need to have a plan before you start your business. There are so many decisions to be made, beginning with whether you want to begin a product based or service-based business. Think about all the things you are good at, and all the things you are passionate about. Check if there are things that are common to both lists. These are your ideal business ventures. Are you passionate about food, and are also good at cooking? Consider catering, a food cart, or a recipe blog. Do you enjoy motivating people, while also always hitting your own personal goals? Consider life coaching. Do some market research, conduct surveys, and determine what niche works best for you.
It is worth keeping in mind that your plans will change. A lot. Forcing yourself to stick to the exact same plan you start out with can be a recipe for disaster. Allow your business the flexibility it needs. Tweak your course of action based on new things you learn along the way.
Substitute Money with Time
Your social life can wait. When you do not have the security of a substantial start-up capital that you can afford to lose, your time is your best investment. Fear of missing out is real, and it can surely be upsetting that you missed your friend’s birthday party. However, what would be more upsetting is not achieving the life you dream of living because you were caught up in an endless string of unproductive social activities.
Instead, dedicate the time to your business. It is not nearly as glamorous as TV and popular media would have you believe. As I sit here writing this article for you, I in no way even remotely resemble Carrie Bradshaw. Picture more of a messy bun, and not the cutesy kind, pyjamas, and a T-shirt that should have been retired a year ago. As much as another hour of sleep feels divine, get up, fire up that laptop, and get to work.
Spend your Time Working Smart
Now that we have established the importance of investing your time in your business, let us establish that consistency is more important than mindlessly putting in the hours. Going back to the first point – planning is crucial. Plan your tasks, your content, and how you wish to roll them out. Plan your strategy and be consistent in implementing it. It is no use if you work for 72 hours straight, and then not work at all for the next week.
A lot of you probably have full time day jobs. In that case, putting in 2-3 hours consistently every day is going to be a lot more effective than working in sprints and then crashing and burning. Prevent burnout. Even out your workload and slowly but consistently work toward your goal. Big things take time and commitment. If you really feel that you are not meeting your productivity goals, try outsourcing. Hire a Virtual Assistant and delegate some of your tasks to them.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Social media can and will be pivotal to your marketing success. You have invested time and sweat to design the product or service of your dreams. Now is the time to build your brand image, and social media is where you will do it. Finalize the name and logo of your business. Specify exactly what your business is about. This is something you have already fine-tuned in the planning stage. Determine which social media platforms are most popular among your potential clients. Learn the ins and outs of social media marketing, and develop your own killer strategy to market and popularise your brand, and reach out to potential clients.
A good strategy is to batch your content. Create all the content you wish to roll out for the next week or next month, or if you are a master planner, for the next quarter, and determine their roll out plan. Social media management platforms such as Hootsuite and Tailwind can help to automate the process and take some of the stress off you. Virtual Assistants specializing in social media marketing can help you out with this.
Build a Website
Think of this as more of a secondary step. You do not immediately need a website to start your business. Start off with the social media platforms outlined above, and when you are a little more certain of yourself and your business, invest in a good website. There are many wonderful website building platforms out there today, like Wix and Weebly, which are great for beginners, Squarespace, which is an increasingly popular platform, and WordPress, which is a classic. The decision you have to make is which platform to use.
Skip Getting an Office
This one is a no brainer. More and more start-ups are opting for virtual spaces rather than brick and mortar offices. It is a blessing too! Gone is the time when you must have a physical office space to operate a business. The internet has transformed the way we trade, and starting a business with little to no resources has never been easier. Opting for a physical office space is a good idea if you are medium sized or a fairly large company already. However, if you are a small business, or you are just starting out, it is nothing but a waste of money and resources. Bear in mind that you will need a lot more than just the space. You will need to pay for furniture, décor, office supplies, electronics, and the list goes on. Online businesses operate successfully with its employees geographically scattered around the world, but united and working together virtually.
Forgo Hiring Full-Time Employees
Continuing along the same thread as above, full time employees will cost you. Not only will you have to pay full time salaries, but you also have to consider holiday bonuses, medical benefits, etc. Instead, outsource. Hire a freelancer, or a Virtual Assistant to help you with your business. That way, you can pay by the hour, or pay for the specific services you require. It is a feasible option for new businesses, and bigger businesses are also increasingly opting for this. Asking for help does not make you weak!
The Power of Gratitude
This one is so simple, yet so often forgotten or underestimated. Do not forget to thank your clients. It is easy, it is free, and it is a brilliant gesture. It makes your clients feel important and cared for. A simple email thanking them for hiring you and asking their feedback on the work you have done for them. It shows the customer you care, and it will make them want to keep coming back to you. Of course, you have to focus on the actual service bit, and deliver what you promised, but how you treat your clients is crucial in determining whether they will come back to you in future.
Even if you have no clients yet, thank your potential clients for making inquiries, or commenting on your content. Ask and thank them for their feedback if you have been offering free samples of your product or service. Thank the people who helped you set up and run the business too!
The reason I saved this for last, instead of putting it on the top of the list, is because I did not wish to convey the notion that you need to get done with your business education first before you launch your venture. Education is never-ending and ever-evolving. Another idea I wish to emphasize is that you do not need to have a business degree to start a business. Education comes in many forms. You can start a business and fail, and your failure will become the education you need to succeed in your next venture.
Of course, there are less risky ways of learning. Some of the most financially successful people on earth swear by reading. Here is a list of books to help set you up with an entrepreneurial mindset. Another great tip would be to have a mentor if you can afford one. Even if you are not in a position to pay someone to mentor you at the moment, look out for freebies that mentors often give out. Connect with other entrepreneurs locally or over social media, speak to them about your aspirations, and see what inspiration they can offer.
If you need help, as all of us do, we are right here by your side. For more information on how HMR VA Services can help get your business up and running, click here.