Starting a small business or buying an existing business?
Before you even think about marketing or even starting a small business you should have taken many points into consideration.
What product or service is my business going to sell?
Have you completed a business plan?
Have you thoroughly researched your product and competition?
Is your small business going to be a full time or part time operation?
Have you got the premises or storage necessary to maintain your stock or staff?
Are you actually ready to start your new business?
If the answer is no to any of the above I suggest that you are completely sure on all of your options prior to investing your time and money in your product or service.
More information on starting a small business at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk
If you are ready or have an existing business please read on.
Starting a new web based business
You have decided that you are starting a small business online! Maybe it’s an extension of your current business maybe it’s completely new. Your ideas is great, you have researched, planned, and sought information from all of the best sources. Now it comes to building and planning your new online business. You have already got a name in mind and you are just about to buy the domain name… Stop!
Starting by choosing a domain name for a small business
Your domain name or URL is one of the most important choices you can make – and incredibly important in SEO. Unless you are the financed by an enormous amount of money you are not going to be able to brand or advertise your small business with the advertising budgets that large companies do. You need to think about what you are selling and more importantly what people are going to search for on the internet. Let’s say that you are called John or Jane Smith and your company is going to sell fireplaces.. When thinking about starting a small business you already had a domain name in mind. You have looked online and found out that your dream URL ‘HotJohnSmith.com’ or ‘HotJaneSmith.com’ is available – your heart is set on it but you must not buy it, marketing this website on the internet will lead to increased costs that are not necessary this early on in your businesses life – let me explain why. A more sensible URL or Domain name such as FireplacesbyJohnSmith.com or JaneSmiths-Fireplaces.com allows you to be searched and found by people searching for ‘Fireplaces’ much more easily. This is a simplified version of what happens but what I am trying to do is save you money and time in the long run.. Of course you can use the ‘Hot URL’s’ but if an option with your product name is available please buy that one, or even better contact me either on my internet marketing blog or by email and I will gladly help you with your choice. When starting a small business it is always best to take advice!
Starting a small business with great website design
Be sure of the function of the website before starting to brief any website designers.
Who do you want to talk to? Who are your potential customers? Know your target market from the start!
How will your customers interact with your website?
Will customers buy directly from your website, will they download a brochure or even book a consultation? Without understanding these critical elements the website could be constructed in a way that actually turns your customers / clients off.
What do you want your website to do?
Do you need to show large amounts of products, are you completely focused on selling a single service, do you want them to request a sample?
How do you want it to sell?
Do you need to design a website that includes ecommerce, will a credit card facility do? Do you need to take money over the internet at all?
Also, look what your competitors are doing and why?
Understanding what your competitors are doing and why will help you to understand the market that you are entering, how do their sites work, where are their weaknesses and strengths, where will your small business sit in the highly competitive arena that is the internet.
Before starting a small business be sure of your websites objective from the outset. This allows a website designer (small business website design) to cost the site correctly from the beginning, saving you time and money.
Starting a small business marketing campaign
If you have followed the above steps you have already begun to create your small business marketing plan! As with any business the more you research and study your market the better, the more time you put in now, the less potential mistakes you could make later.
To summarise briefly, before starting a small business marketing plan you should have already;
1) Have isolated a need for your product or service?
2) Know what you have to offer that is different to others – have you found a niche?
3) You have you put together your small business plan?
The construction and information that you require to build your marketing plan has already been considered getting to this stage and should be neatly entangled within the business plan, extract this information and this will be the basis of your marketing plan.
The basis of your small business marketing plan should include the answers to the following questions.
Who, when, where and how:
Who - is your target market?
When - is your product seasonal?
Where - the area that you are going to target, locally, nationally or internationally?
How - what methods are you going to use to achieve your goals?
The ‘How’ is what we must consider and is explained in the Small Business Internet Marketing page.
When starting a small business try to forecast for any problems in the planning stage. Although you won’t be able to forecast every problem, a lot of issues can be prevented in the planning stage.
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