You’ve made the decision – you want to set up your own business. Brilliant! What next? These 10 easy to follow steps will take you through our ADAPT-THRIVE-GROW model of creating your first business plan. #firstbusinessplan #myownbusiness #strategicplan
In this post we will tackle Steps 7-10, the GROW stage (if you missed Steps 1-3: ADAPT you can find them here and Steps 4-6: THRIVE are here.)
The GROW stage kicks in once you are ready to launch your business. These are the last few activities which will help it to fly!
We are here to help at all of these stages with online courses to walk through this in more detail or specific personalised sessions on business planning. Just contact us!
ADAPT: This is where you take your general idea for what you want to do and adapt it to fit the business landscape that you’re entering.
THRIVE: The actions that set up your business to be successful and provide a solid foundations to launch forward.
GROW: Your business idea is ready to launch, now let’s make sure it can fly (the focus of this post).
Step #7: BRANDING
Branding (read – logo and the ‘look’ of your business in marketing material) is usually something you either love or hate; either you have an eye for it and a clear idea of what you want, or you’re clueless and don’t know where to start. Just don’t underestimate the importance of getting your brand right in the eyes of your customers. Everyone is very brand aware these days and anything that ‘jars’ will turn customers away. The good news is that branding can adapt and change as you grow, so your first attempt is not necessarily set in stone.
There are endless options, from completely free to very pricey and many different areas to cover. As a guide here are some tips:
- Logos don’t have to be done by an expensive design agency, there are free websites which will create one for you based on your preferred colours, styles etc. Sites like Free Logo Design are a good place to start.
- Spend a bit of time thinking about how things look when you put them together; so that means chose colours that work together, a similar style of photography and imagery and a typeface that matches your style and that you use everywhere. Consistency is key here.
- Don’t just ‘steal’ photos, make sure that they are royalty free or buy the rights to use them from a valid website like shutterstock or istock photos
- If you don’t know where to start, try looking at competitors in your space and see how they are branding their businesses. Do you want to follow the trend or do something completely different? If they all have a similar look and feel, then perhaps there is a good reason for that. Have a think about your target audience and what they would respond to.
Step #8: YOUR PITCH
In the olden days, this would have been your sales brochure that would have been handed out or mailed out to prospective customers. Today, the digital world offers a myriad of options; social media business pages, website landing pages like Canva, interactive e-books, presentation formats like Prezi . The core fact remains; you need a clear, concise, persuasive sales pitch that can be delivered as well when you’re face to face with someone as it does on a presentation.
The key to this is .. Practice, Practice, Practice! You need to be so comfortable selling your business concept or products that it rolls off your tongue as easily as your favourite ABBA lyric!
Step #9: FIND YOUR CUSTOMERS
Using your new, confident sales pitch from the point above, you now need to speak to people. The more research and opinions you can gather, the better targetted your business or your product will be towards your ideal customers.
The first step is understanding your ideal customers;
- Where do they hang out (online and in real life)?
- What channels do they use to find your sort of business?
- Which of their problems or needs is your business solving?
- What conversations can you join which tie in nicely to your business?
Then it’s just a matter of getting stuck in!
Step #10: Website
Websites aren’t optional any more, but that doesn’t mean that you need an all-singing all-dancing site from day one. The minimum you’ll need is what is referred to as a ‘brochure site’. This is a small website with a few pages about you and your product or service. It’s somewhere that you can direct people to give them a sense of your company, your brand and what you stand for.
There are options for everyone’s needs, skills and budgets. You can buy practically a ready-made website and just add your own words (websites like Go Daddy, Squarespace or Wix are three good options) or you (or a web designer) can build something from the ground up.
Just make sure that whatever you chose, it has a method of gathering and displaying data; that could be through a Google Analytics tracking code or through an built-in analytics package.
We could write hundreds of posts on websites alone, including topics like Google Analytics, SEO (search engine optimisation), user experience and CTA’s (call to action) because there is so much that could potentially be done, but it’s not all necessary for Day 1. Consider your website as an evolving and ongoing marketing tool. If you’d like some help with your website then please contact us and one of our digital experts can spend some time with you.
So those are our Top 10 Tips for Kick Starting Your New Business Plan, we hope you found them useful. In summary;
- Spend some time doing the planning and research at the start as it will pay dividends later
- Spend money cautiously and keep track of everything you do
- Don’t be afraid to start small and try things out, nothing is permanent
- Sign up for our online, on-demand start-up business course to give you step by step support and personalised guidance.
Posts to read next..
10 Steps to Kick Start Your New Business Plan – PART 1: ADAPT
This is the starting point of your new business plan, where you take your general idea for what you want to do and adapt it to fit the business landscape that you’re entering
10 Steps to Kick Start Your New Business Plan – PART 2: THRIVE
The actions that set up your business to be successful and provide a solid foundations to launch forward.