Last week we covered seven things to do to kick off your new start-up business. Here’s part 2, seven more tips from a bunch of people who have plenty of experience in the start-ups arena and lots of sensible advice to offer.
Think about creating a WordPress site
In our experience, you’d be crazy not to. It’s remarkably flexible, and you can do all your updates yourself – it’s so simple a child could do it – which means your ongoing website maintenance and site update costs are much less than paying a developer to do every little thing for you. Most businesses require nothing more elaborate than WordPress. All you need to do is allocate a decent budget to make sure the result is the best possible shop window for your stuff. The old business rule applies to website design and development: if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Premium WordPress themes
Look at the stunning premium WordPress themes available on ThemeForest. There are masses of beautiful options. As experienced web designers, we’re confident in saying there’s no need to start from scratch with a bespoke design unless there’s a compelling business reason for doing so. These themes have taken thousands of hours to create and develop, and the results are amazing. After all, why reinvent the wheel when a talented team of creative and technical high fliers have already built the most beautiful, appropriate, impactful and efficient wheel on the planet?
Tick all the social media boxes before making a splash
Diving right in might be tempting. But it’s wise to ensure all your social media network accounts are correctly set up first, complete with detailed profiles, images and anything else they let you add. Polish your LinkedIn profile ’til it gleams. Register with Google Plus (everyone uses Google in the UK, so you really should be on G+) and harness Twitter and Facebook, depending on the type of start-up you’re creating. There are more social networks than there are hours in a day. Forget the rest. Unless you can spin all those plates at once and keep up the momentum, it’s best to stick to the big four.
Meet people face-to-face
Social networks are excellent. But it’s hard to beat in-person, real life networking. It doesn’t have to mean cheesy breakfast meetings. But it might mean joining your local gym and talking to your fellow sufferers, chatting to the good folk at your local pub or putting the word out amongst everyone you know.
Work with people you actually like
If you have to take on staff members or hire freelancers to support you, make sure you like and trust them as individuals. And look for people who can bring something different to the party. While it can be tempting to take on six mini-me types to boost your ego and agree with your every move, it’s no way to do business. If you’ve ever read David McRaney’s excellent book, “You Are Not So Smart’ you’ll appreciate the value of different opinions and views, which almost always result in better-rounded businesses. If things go well, reward your stalwarts accordingly. There’s nothing quite as powerful as a thank-you, even more so when it translates into £££s.
Find out for sure who wants your stuff. Establish who your potential customers are and how they buy services or products like yours. This strategic thinking is the key element of business success, a real marketing 101, but it’s surprising how often it gets overlooked. Start by looking at your competitors and doing some basic market research, even if it just means phoning competing businesses to see how they respond to an enquiry. If they do it, you can do it better.
Unless you’re spectacularly fortunate, you’re about to embark on a tough journey. Encouragement can be thin on the ground within your company, especially when you’re starting up alone. You’re going to be incredibly busy. You won’t get many occasions when you can stop, smell the coffee and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. So when they come along, make the most of them.
Next week we’re going to publish a list of excellent resources that you’ll find endlessly useful in your start-up life. Without them, we wouldn’t have got where we are now: a popular and successful web design business with plenty of lovely clients, a proven team of digital professionals on tap and a reputation for sheer excellence… if we say so ourselves!