It is no coincidence that the statistics of failed new businesses in Australia mirrors those in America and the UK. Around 80% of all new businesses fail in the first year, and close to 90% in the first five years. We want to help turn those statistics on their head by giving you our 7 steps to a successful new business.
1. Business Feasibility Study
You woke up one Monday morning and thought “F%#k going in to work today, I have had enough of that smart-ass boss! I’ve forgotten more about the job than he will ever know! I know what I will do, I will start my own business!”
Sound familiar? Then you rush in and start your new business with no plan and no idea whether your business idea, which sounded great while you were thinking about it, will even fly! This is one of the reasons that nearly 80% of all new businesses fail in the first year, and 90% in the first five years. Don’t let your new business become one of those statistics!
Before you start a new business, check with us first and we will sit down with you and run you through our checklist to help get you started in the right direction. Our first consultation is absolutely free and will take from 30 – 120 minutes depending on the complexity of the business idea, and your knowledge of running a business.
At the end of this consultation you will know whether or not your business idea has legs, what your business values and purpose are, who your target market is, your perfect customer, and how you are going to market your business to your target market.
Now you are ready to start your new business idea! You can also download a free no-obligation copy of our questionnaire if you are too
cheap poor to pay for our services. 😎
2. The Business Marketing Plan
OKAY! Now we have established the feasibility of your business idea, it is all systems go, right? Wrong! Now we know that the idea is a goer, but we still need to sit down and work out a plan of action. So far we have:
- established that there is a market for your product or service
- established your brand identity
- established your 4Ps (Problem, Product, Proposition, Promise)
At this stage we know you have a viable business idea, now is the time to draw up your complete marketing plan. You have all heard the old saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail”, well that definitely applies here. Our next step is to put your brand, vision, values, culture, etc down on paper so that they are not just something in your head, but something that you can look at, show your customers and all other shareholders, show your staff when you get them. Shout it from the rooftops “This is our brand, this is our vision for the business, these are our values and culture”. Own them!
Of course we have cheatsheets that we give our clients to fill out as we go through the factors with them, but here are some of the sheets for you too. Our Business Vision, Culture Statement, and the all-important Elevator Pitch sheets. Don’t say we don’t give you nothin’! 🙂
Now, at some stage you will need to raise money to help fund either your startup, or expansion, and bank managers all like to see a properly drawn up Business Marketing Plan. So the next step is to sit down and draw one up.
This isn’t as painful as it sounds because we have already covered most of the requirements, so it is just a matter of filling in the blanks. Again, we can help you set out the Business Marketing Plan or you can download a copy for yourself.
3. Build a Business Website
Now we are starting to get somewhere! We have established that your business idea has legs, you know what you are selling, who you are selling to, how you are going to sell to them, and you have set up a workable marketing plan. It is time to get to the fun stuff!
Google recently said that over 60% of all sales now begin with an online search, so no matter what your business is all about, and who your customers are, you need to be found online, because if your potential customers don’t find you online, they will find your competitors!
Because of the popularity of social media, you not only need a professional looking website, but you also need to be found on the social media platforms that your target market would be looking for you. A recent survey showed that nearly 70% of all respondents said that they wouldn’t trust a brand that didn’t address problems on social media. So you not only need to be found online, but you also need to be responsive to comments on social media.
But first you need a website, and that is where we come in! We can build you a professional business website which not only looks great on all devices, but can attract new leads for your business automatically.
If you want to sell your product or service directly from your website we can make that happen for you. To save you time on the phone answering the same basic questions over and over again, we can set up a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website. This alone will save you hours every week.
We can arrange for you to take bookings directly from your website if this suits your business. This will also save you hours every week. We can incorporate Google Maps into your website so that potential customers can find your shop or office.
if you are in the hospitality or related industries we can incorporate a feedback system into your website so that customers can easily tell you what they thought about their visit, and share great experiences online with Google, TripAdvisor, or any other platform that caters to your market.
Disclaimer: We are not the cheapest website builders in the area, and don’t pretend to be! If you want a cheap website then your fourteen-year-old niece could probably build you one for nothing. And there are plenty of cheap, cut-throat web builders out there who will quote you stupidly cheap prices to build your website for you. But this is one area where you do get what you pay for, and nothing more.
But if you want a professionally built website which will earn you money and bring in additional customers with little to no extra work on your part, then run to our website submission page and fill out the form before we decide to put our prices up again! 🙂
Apart from getting a website built, you also need some sort of website care plan to keep your website up to date, backed up, and protected from the bad guys. We may be biassed, but we happen to think that our Website Care Plan packages are about as good as you will find anywhere. All of our care plan packages, even the cheapest, includes daily backups, anti-virus and malware checks and essential updates to your websites plugins and themes.
The websites that we protect are stored in a secure facility in central Sydney CBD, not in the USA like most of our competitors. We only use the latest state of the art computers and SSDs (Solid State Drives, like in your laptop, but much bigger) to store your website and your website will be optimized for maximum loading speed, which is vital for both customer satisfaction, and for Google because they now take loading speed into account when ranking your website.
As usual, for those who can’t afford our services, we haven’t forgotten you, we have you covered. This guide to building a WordPress website is a few years old now, but most of the content is still relevant. We will be updating it in the very near future, so stay tuned. One addition we will be making to the new version of the sheet will be the brilliant pre-built site packs from Site Origin, they will help your fourteen-year-old niece to set up a very good looking website in no time. Then all you need to do is to customize it to suit, which is drag’n’drop simple with their Page Builder system. Highly recommended!
And you are welcome to discuss using our Website Care Plans to store and protect your website after you have built it.
4. Get The Website Found
Now your business is beginning to smoke! You have done all of the preliminary stuff, and now you have a bright shiny new website, so where are all of the new customers? After all, Kevin Costner said “Build it and they will come” in the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ and it worked for him, right?
Unfortunately life isn’t a movie, in real life we need to get the word out that you do have a new website. Once Google and the other search engines hear about your new website they will come and check it out, and if they like what they see, they will start to index your pages and posts in their search engines.
But be warned: Google (and probably all the others, but I know personally about Google because of my contact with their anti-spam experts) automatically treat all new websites as spam websites until you prove to them that you are not! So you need to prove to them that you are a legitimate business before they will take you seriously.
We can help with that because we know exactly what Google is looking for, and we can set your business up from day one so that Google will take you seriously. If you contact us and use the topic “Get found in Google” we can discuss what you need to do and what you have already done.
The other part of this equation is to be found on social media platforms and we will go into more detail in the next step, but for now, bear in mind that you need links from your website to your social media accounts, and vice versa. Stick with us, we are getting close to the bit where you start making money! 😎
5. Set Up Social Media Accounts
Now we are getting close to making money! But first we need to set up your social media accounts correctly. But don’t panic, regardless what most of the ‘social media experts’ will tell you, you don’t need to be active on all social media platforms.
We have already established who our target market and perfect customer are, and where they like to hang out online. So we only need to active and responsive on those platforms, and maybe occasionally visit some of the other platforms which might bring in more potential customers.
As usual, we have a Social Media Establishment service, so just go to the contact page and add Social media Setup in the topic and we will get back to you. But if you are doing this yourself, make sure that you use an account name that describes your business, not marylou9937 or anything like that.
This is one of our ‘secret’ sites, so please don’t publish this anywhere else, but if you go to KnowEm you can check to see which account names are still available in each platform. Try to keep the same account name on all platforms if possible, so that people will recognize that it is you on different platforms.
What is the difference between the different social media platforms? Glad you asked! 🙂
Here is the best explanation I have yet seen, explained with one of my all-time favourite foods!
Try to keep logos, images and brands similar across different platforms for the same reason. And don’t forget to link your social media platforms to your website and vice versa.
6. Promote The Business
Now we are getting to the good bits! Our website and all of our social media accounts have been set up correctly, so we can start making money! 🙂
But for God’s sake don’t do what about 90% of new business owners do and jump on every social media plaform screaming “Buy My Shit! Buy My Shit Buy My Shit!”. People will not only not buy your shit, you will piss them off and they will block you, or even report you.
Just about every religion and every culture on earth has a variation on the theme “Give and Ye shall receive”, even Pagan religions talk about the power of three or the power of seven. Bear this in mind when you start to promote your business, start with giving value to your target market!
Apply this principle to everything that you post on your website and on social media and you are well on the way to success in your business. Before you post anything, ask yourself “Would my target market want to read this, and benefit from it?”.
Yes, you can promote your product or service on social media, but do it in a non-salesy way, and keep the promotions down to about one in ten posts. Use something like “You might enjoy this coupon for 20% off our product for the next day only”.
Around about now you are almost certainly thinking “Where in Hell am I going to get time to spend on social media, I don’t have enough time to work on my business as it is”, right? Well good new is we offer a Social Media Marketing Package for our clients where we can do some or all of your social media posting for you. All you need to do is to send us word of any upcoming specials or events you want promoted and we will promote them for you.
But if you want or need to do it all yourself, as usual we have a number of reports which will help you, including Twitter 4 Small Business, How To Market Your Business in 30 Minutes a Day and 10 Minute Marketing, but the number one tool that you need is HootSuite, it will help you to keep on top of your social media platforms from one dashboard, as well as schedule posts in advance, which is a major time-saver.
Disclaimer: I am biassed because we are both HootSuite Certified and an Australian HootSuite Ambassador, but we became certified and an Ambassador for HootSuite because we love the program, we are not getting paid to promote them, we promote them because we love the program!
A few years back I had the honour of being asked to co-author a book called “Social Media Marketing”, which at the time was described as
The definitive guide to leveraging the power of social media for your business. Written by social media experts from all over the world.
The book is a bit out of date now because of the pace that social media moves, but here is a draft copy of my chapter, “Manage all of your social media in less than 30 Minutes a day”, which is mostly still relevant today. Enjoy!
7. Review And Optimize
Congratulations! If you have done all of this work, and got to this step, or if you have hired us to help with some of the services, then you should have a fully operational website and social media accounts which are bringing in new potential customers automatically every day, so sit back and enjoy the moment!
From now on, all you need to do is to keep promoting, and on a regular basis, we suggest monthly, but do whatever works for you, sit down and review what has worked best for you, what has failed, and what was only fair to mediocre.
Then analyse why some projects failed, or just bumbled on, and look for ways to improve them. Don’t forget to also look at the successes, analyse them and see if they can be improved. Then just keep doing what works, improve what doesn’t, and you are well on your way to a greatly successful new business in 7 steps without having to work 80 hours plus a week like a lot of other business owners do.
And don’t forget to always take time out to smell the roses! 🙂