Tips for New Business Owners

3 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

This is a checklist for small business owners who don’t have a business degree. Other business professionals might fall out of their seat reading this because it might imply that starting a business is as simple as a checklist. This list merely skims the surface of a bottomless ocean. But let’s face it, thousands of people out there start businesses with no help, advice, guidance or business degree. So, here you go. As a small business owner, you need to have these marketing bases covered:

  • Mission Statement: You must have a mission. All business decisions must have a central theme and this theme can be outlined in a mission statement. It should sum up your business in 1 to 3 sentences.

  • Vision Statement: A vision statement is important too. It may not be as public as your mission statement but it is important to know what your business is working towards so you are ever evolving.

Wait, hold up, stop right there...what's the difference? Do I really need both?

Every business is different but more likely than not, you need both. What's the difference? Simple. Mission: “What we do.” Vision: “What we want to do” or “Where we see this going in 5 to 10 years”

  • Target Audience: Who is your customer? Hint, the answer is not “everyone.” Defining your customer is valuable because you are less likely to forget who you are working for. (Sigh, didn’t I start a business to get away from “working for someone!?!”) Seriously though, defining your target and focusing all your efforts around them will bring you more business than stating your target is “everyone.”

  • Define Goals: Be specific, reasonable and measurable.

Bad: Increase sales.
Good: Increase sales 15% by May 1, 2015.

  • Start Writing: Even if you are able to hire a marketer, don't expect them to write content for you. You have to provide service descriptions, blog entries, schedules and bios. If you get a nice and diversified marketer, they might edit your writing or give tips along the way but don’t hire a marketer before you have spent a significant amount of time writing.

  • Secure Online Names: Grab your business name on popular social media platforms, even if you think you won't utilize them right away. As your business grows, you will see a need to broaden your online platforms and it’s really frustrating when you realize someone stole your name! Secure these: website domain, email domain, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram. This is, of course, assuming you have 100% committed to a name.

  • Logo: Logos create brand identity and consistency. Write any ideas down. Colors, fonts, pictures, random thoughts. These will all be helpful to a graphic designer. I always tell people that their logo needs to be in a square format. Squares are better for social media profile pictures and does not create limitations. After you have a logo, I bet you or your graphic designer can figure out how to print business cards!

  • Website: Brainstorm the features you want to offer on your website. Any information you have prepared will save you time and money before talking with a web designer. Layout, colors, pictures, slideshows, descriptions, blog posts, contact form, social media integration, online store and payment options. Your website designer and bank account will thank you for taking time to plan.

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Make a list of words or phrases your customers “Google.” A good website designer should ask you this before designing anything. You can help the process by working some of these key phrases or words within the writing you're doing for the website!

Okay, sound like fun? If you are serious about starting a business, you will soon face all of these challenges! The fun part is seeing your hard work come to life. This type of planning is usually a work in progress. Remember, you are the boss! If you don’t like it, change it!

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