Every day, hundreds if not thousands of businesses start up here in the UK.
Unfortunately, many are doomed to failure for one reason or another. Whether it’s a lack of funding, a poor business idea or something else, many will just not take off.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
If you’re thinking of starting a new business and are looking to give it an online presence to get it in front of thousands of new customers, read my guide below and give yourself a jump on your competitors.
Below are some of the most important basic steps. There are many more things to consider, but by focusing on these six below, you will give yourself the perfect launchpad to get your business off to a great start.
STEP 1 – Come up with a valid business idea
This obviously is one of the most important stages to starting a new business, it’s also one of the hardest.
There is some much competition these days, that it’s becoming harder and harder to standout from the crowd. This is why it is so important to come up with a business idea where there is demand and obviously a lack of supply in terms of competitors. If you can come up with an idea that is completely unique, then all the better.
With the vast majority of business now done online, it is important that your focus is much more targeted. Think of it this way. The more unique your business idea, the easier it will be to get off and running quickly and not get bogged down with trying to compete with a ton of competitors in your search space.
Instead of thinking real estate in London, specialise in a particular area or type of property in London. Become that ‘go-to’ person or business for that particular NICHE. Or if you are looking to sell guitars, why not focus on Fender guitars or Les Paul’s or vintage guitars. You get the picture!
The more narrow your target market, the easier it will be for you to become a specialist or expert within that field.
For me this is key. If you can’t do the above, best not read on as you will already be fighting a losing battle!!
STEP 2 – Analyse your competitors
How competitive is your search space? What I mean by this is when you search for a search term or keyword in Google that is highly relevant to your business, how many sites appear that you could consider your competition? 10, 100, 1000?
This will most likely depend on how niche your business is and size the of your target audience.
Knowing what you are up against before you spend money on setting up your business is an important step in ascertaining whether your venture will succeed or not.
A simple yet very effective form of analysis you can do on your own (and competitors) business is to do what we call SWOT analysis. This is how it works.
Strengths – This will be internal to your own business. What are your business strengths? Where do you excel where your competitors may not?
Weaknesses – Once again, this is related to your businesses. Where can you improve? What is holding you back?
Opportunities – This is to do with your competitors. What are they NOT doing that you could be? Have they missed keyword opportunities or maybe they don’t sell a product or provide a service that you could?
Threats – What are the threats from your competitors? Maybe there are a few big players that have big budgets that you simply can’t compete with. This all has to be thought about.
Sit down for half an hour with a pen and paper and get brain storming.
STEP 3 – Register your domain name
Ok, so you have made it through the first couple of steps above. You now need that all important domain name.
Some considerations when choosing a domain name for your business.
- Make sure it isn’t too long – Having a long domain name is going to take a while for people to type in and creates a greater risk of people typing it in incorrectly.
- Make sure that it doesn’t look spammy – For example www.cheapdiscountfurniture247.com Not only does it look awful from a branding perspective, it could also mean you get penalised by the search engines.
- Does it reflect your business and brand? – So think about putting an important keyword in the domain name. For example seoprokent.co.uk.
- Branded or non-branded domain? – A domain name doesn’t have to have a keyword in it, many big brands don’t e.g, Apple (no mention of tech or mobile phones), Ikea (no mention of home ware), B & Q, etc etc. There are hundreds and thousands of big brands that don’t feel the need to use keywords in the domain because their brands are synonymous with what they do or sell.
While you are at it, make sure you also register an appropriate username URL for the main social media websites you will be using such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
STEP 4 – Employ the services of a web designer and developer
Unless you have web design and development skills you will want to invest some money in building a home for your business online. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. A simple business startup website package can cost less than £1,000 and it’s a small price to pay to have the peace of mind that you have an experienced professional at your side guiding you through every step of your online campaign.
STEP 5 – Promote your website to the masses
Once the site is live, you will want to promote your brand online. How you go about this is all about TIME and BUDGET. I personally always focus on budget when a customer comes to me for help in promoting their business. The budget will dictate what an SEO or digital marketer can do and where they can focus their efforts. Perhaps you only have £200 per month to spare. Maybe you could consider a newsletter campaign? Build your list and send out regular newsletters. Maybe a social media campaign or some search engine optimisation? Where do your customers hang out the most? Focus your efforts there.
The opportunities will be there. You just have to figure out where you can get the most bang for your buck!
If you have members of staff, get them to help you grow your presence via social media. All hands to the pump and all that!
STEP 6 – Make consistent efforts to grow your business
This may come as a shock, but in order to be successful online, you need to be CONSISTENT!
What I mean by that is that there is no point in tweeting once a week or adding something to your blog once a month and expecting to see great results. The most successful businesses online engage with their customers on a consistent basis.
Once again it comes down to TIME and BUDGET and expertise.
Maybe write an article once a week and add it to your blog, or tweet at least once each day, or update Facebook every day. Whatever you do, set a schedule and STICK TO IT!
I offer digital marketing solutions to businesses of all sizes in Kent and other parts of the UK. If you would like a friendly chat to find out how I can help you succeed online, give me a call or contact me via our contacts page.