You’ve heard it before, “Small businesses have never been easier to start,” or conversely, “Fifty percent of all start-ups won’t be around in five years.” The truth is, the resources and information to begin planning a business have never been more accessible thanks to the internet. Everything from marketing to building a web-page equipped with responsive design can be learned from the comfort of home.
Business itself, however, has not gotten any easier. If anything, the world of the sale has only become more competitive. In this article we’d like to discuss what foundational steps are still necessary to getting started, while focusing on the possibilities presented with a globalized market-place.
Planning A Foundation
It’s important to imagine a business as being a living, breathing organism whose very life is dependent on the planning and investment placed in it. The best business owners make their careers extensions of their personality, strengths and skill sets. Knowing yourself and the lifestyle you like to live is a tremendous first step to developing a service others will respond to.
Ask yourself three questions:
- What skill or product can I offer that enough people need?
- Does this business already exist? If so, how can I do it better?
- Will this business still be in demand five to ten years from now?
A foundation in the business world signifies room for growth, and a stable platform from which sustainability can be achieved. Without one, your business is 50% more likely to fail according to a study written by Paul Tiffany in “Business Plans for Dummies”. To get familiar with the look of a business plan, we’d highly advise checking out the steps involved at the Small Business Administration’s website.
Finding Momentum In The 20th Century
Rather than outlining the legal logistics, and discussing what form of business structure you should follow, we’d like to explore how to approach making sales in such a diverse economy. Apparent or not, making money has moved farther away from the cash register every year.
According to PR Newswire, 89% of consumers prefer shopping online rather than in a store. A trend that has extended prominently into the mobile market as devices are being optimized to support mobile browsing and e-commerce. It may surprise you to know, but:
- Four out of five consumers used smart phones to shop in 2013
- 78% of retailers plan on investing in mobile technology this year
- Global 3G coverage is expected to be at 21% in 2014, increasing access for mobile users
What This Means
Ask yourself one more question: Will what you’re selling be able to exist in the online market space? That is to say, your service or product can be seen, sold and shipped to anywhere in the world.
One of the greatest factors being considered in business models nowadays, is how to best utilize the power of global connectivity.
Think about it.
What once was a limiting and location based market has now expanded to the eyes of anyone capable of accessing your web-page. Which leads us into the next point.
If you’re not interested or are incapable of selling your product/service directly, having an online presence is still a must when it comes to how people choose businesses today. The faster your company can establish itself in the search engines, the more likely you will begin to see a profit.
Steps To Begin Optimizing Your Web-Page
The optimizing phase is a great place to be at for a start-up. It means your brand has been developed, you have something ready for sale, and all that remains is allowing your business to be seen by those interested in your trade.
1. Build A Website With A Responsive Design
Due to the increasing amount of mobile users, a factor to retaining traffic is whether or not your website will work equally as well from a smart-phone or tablet. Many customers will give up if a page doesn’t load correctly, or if it takes too long while browsing on a mobile network.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a way of building your website to adjust gracefully between a computer, smart phone, tablet, or any other device of varying screen resolution. Many hosting sites have RWD built into the newer themes, saving you the extra dollar when it comes to having someone write the code instead. To remain competitive in 2014, it’s imperative that your information can be accessed no matter what device it’s found on.
2. Make Your Website Visible
There’s a great deal to be said about how a website ranks in the search engine nowadays. Google, for example, has completely updated their algorithms to allow for more authentic and viable content to appear before any spam based pages.
If Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seems like an entirely new language, it may be worth the investment to hire a company capable of having your website rank before your competitors.
3. Understand Your Customers With Analytics
Part of remaining in business is understanding what your customers want. By using Google Analytics you’ll be able to monitor how much traffic your site receives, as well as how they move through its pages.
By knowing what content gets page visits, you can begin to cater parts of your service towards areas of higher demand.
4. Tap Into Social Media
It may not be the first stop for new customers, but the advantages of sharing your business and its updates with all of your existing social circles free of charge is unbeatable in the marketing world. Word of mouth is still one of the most popular means of referral, and if someone can recommend your company through Facebook it’s more likely an individual will trust your friend than a review left on Yelp.
Many businesses have learned the expenses involved with marketing, and with how much you can benefit from Facebook for free, it’s definitely an option you should consider once you’re ready.
Jeremy Jensen is a Professional Photographer and Freelance Writer based in Lake Tahoe, CA. His work is centered around photojournalism, nature and music, but also loves any opportunity to work with people. To view his portfolio or to follow him on Social Media visit JeremyJensenMedia.com