I love business and I get extremely excited when I learn of a new business starting up. So much so that I often jump around and practically volunteer my time to help where needed.
This comes from a passion for seeing other people succeed. So don’t take this rest of this article as criticism, view it as a checklist of items to think about as you start your next business. Or even with your current business.
I want to talk about 4 areas you should not cheap out on when starting a new business. And I’m quite serious.
Starting a new business is tough. It takes a lot of work, time, effort, MONEY and passion. There are many moving parts and I’m sympathetic when certain things are not given much thought. But I also believe this is because we don’t always value them as much as we should.
Oh, and, surprise, surprise, they have to do with your brand and your marketing (I mean communications).
1. Logo Design
Hire a Professional! Period. End of story. Nothing more needs to be said about this.
A logo is the first interaction a customer will have with your brand. You want to make sure it is a good one. One that stands out and presents you for you. Your logo will appear on ads, brochures, websites, newspapers, signs, vehicles. It is the face of your business.
Why do you need a professional graphic designer to design your logo? They are not only training to use the proper tools, but they are also creative people who know how to ask the right questions about how to best represent your business. They know how to extract the information that will make your business, your business. And they know how to design logos for all the uses you will need; colour, b&w, introverted, square, transparent, and so on.
Don’t know one? I know lots, I’ll happily refer you to someone.
Remember everything mentioned here in this article is going to be seen by potential customers BEFORE they are actual customers.
Signage is key for the foot-traffic customers and the ones looking for your store front. You could be a retail store, restaurant, food truck, tour business or dentist. Get some good signage up.
Good signage is also made by good graphic designers. They know how to size your sign and can tell you on the type of material that will be best for it. They know how to weather proof it and how to mount it. They are your sign experts, use them.
As for the actual design of your sign, listen to them. You will most likely want to cram as much information as you can on the sign. This is a bad idea. A good graphic designer will help you select only the most important information. Maybe your name and hours of operation, or contact information. Trust them and they’ll make you something that shows who you are, draws people in and helps those customers find you.
I have had a few conversations lately about the importance of a website. I have been challenged about the relevancy of a website in today’s social media environment, but there is still a place for them.
For a new business, a website is an incredibly important business asset. It can be your online storefront, the place where potential customers decide if they want to check you out. So you need to be ready with information for them.
Having content on your about what you do, why you do it and how you do it will help visitors get to know you immensely. Having content that is personal will help develop a connection with potential customers. Avoid marketing mumbo-jumbo, be real.
If you are a retail store or a restaurant PUT YOUR MENU ONLINE! It is the number one mistake I see businesses do. Get that menu online along with your hours of operation. You have no idea how frustrating it is to not find a menu online.
A simple one-page website would suffice. Something is better than nothing.
Websites are also ideal for housing content just like this article. Content that can be shared throughout social media that talks more about what you do. If you start producing content about your business and telling your story, it will entice customers to find out more about you. They will be more likely to use your product or service when they know of this information.
The argument often arises that a Facebook Page is “good enough” but it is a weak one. Yes, some pages show up on Google Search results, but not all? Does yours? Personally, I go to Google before I go to Facebook to look up a service, so you better be there.
If you don’t have a website, I can help with that. Send me a message.
4. Social Media
Finally, social media. Be there. Get on it. Get on it properly and use it.
In 2015, it surprises me that certain businesses haven’t even properly gotten on Facebook. Businesses that should, without a doubt, be on it.
Food Trucks, for example, when they first started showing up in 2009, Twitter was their biggest asset. They could instantly tell thousands of people where they would be setup for the day. Somehow this method didn’t make it to Yellowknife for some. The simple concept is: if you want to succeed, be where your customers are. If they’re on Facebook, you should be there too.
Make sure you do it right though. A business should have a Page, not a profile. Make sure those little details are clear. And make sure you keep your Facebook Page up to date with accurate information. Keep your About section up to date and hours of operation and website posted. Be proactive.
If you’re not sure if you're doing it right, send me a message. I’ll give you five minutes FOR FREE and get you on the right path.
These 4 points are not life or death. You will be able to run a business without them. What they will do is help you be establish yourself as a dependable new business. First impressions are fragile so you want to make sure yours a good one. People aren't always forgiving, so get ahead of the game.
If you’re starting a new business, I’d love to hear about it. I’m pretty passionate about the business community and love hearing from other entrepreneurs. Let's connect.