Deciding to start your own business is exciting and scary. You may have dreams of becoming the next big thing in your niche, but if you go into it unprepared you will crash and burn quickly.
Most start-ups fail due to lack of funding, but without a solid foundation and clear understanding of your customer base, a start-up can never get off the ground.
An often overlooked part of a solid foundation are essential business products that help with preparedness. Without these five products, your start-up is doomed from the get-go.
A Business Plan Kit
When I started my own business a few years back, I had no idea business plan kits existed. I also had no idea why I would need one. Because I never put a clear vision for my business on paper, I restarted and changed direction three times, costing me valuable time and money.
A business plan kit helps you define company values, set forth a funding plan, marketing plan, launching plan, and more. All start-ups and established companies need a business plan regardless of business type.
I remember taking my receipts and putting them into a pile thinking it would be easy to figure out my income and expenses once tax time came. It only took one time of sifting through mounds of unorganized receipts for me to understand what a mistake I had made.
You do not need to be an expert in accounting, but you do need to understand the basics. Luckily basic accounting software can teach you those basics and keep your finances organized. Choose a program that is accessible on both your computer and a mobile device. That way you can enter expenses on the go. When first starting out, there are several excellent free products out there. You can always upgrade to a paid version down the road.
Printers that can do it all are not expensive, and they are a necessity for any new business. You want to be able to print, scan, copy, and fax when needed. You also want to be able to choose black and white or color.
When a new business is just starting out, money is tight. Being able to print your own business cards and letterhead can provide professional quality business essentials while saving lots of money.
Social Media Products
Part of launching a successful new business is creating buzz around the business. Many new entrepreneurs have a great idea that could make them a lot of money, but once they launch, all they hear is crickets. Why? They didn’t market their business properly through social media.
Free products like Hootsuite can help you identify the people with the most influence in your niche. Once you know who they are you can begin to build a relationship through social media. You can also schedule your own tweets and posts to go out regularly through the day. A shout-out by someone with influence in your niche can sometimes bring more business than paid advertising ever could.
Email Marketing Products
Without an email marketing plan, it is difficult to be successful. Basic plans are inexpensive and bring a lot of value for the cost. Not only do they give you a database for communication with potential customers, but also they give you an avenue for marketing funnels and more advanced methods as you grow.
There are free products out there but beware. If you do not have a program with a double opt-in and auto responder, you could easily violate anti-spam laws. You usually need a paid version to add these features.
There are many other products you can utilize to prepare for a successful start-up, but these five are essential. As you grow, you will learn more successful ways to market your business while keeping accurate records.
In the end, all that matters is delivering what the customer wants. Learn as much as you can about their desires and fears, and then utilize social media and other means of marketing to get the word out that you have what they need. Most importantly, deliver on your promise, and you will be a success story among the many start-ups doomed from the start.