When you’re first starting out in creating your own business, it’s both exciting and at times, overwhelming. You know why you started and what you want to do, however the many steps it takes to get to where you want to be can seem daunting. The following steps can help you get down to business with your startup while keeping focused on the important tasks at hand.
The experts or gurus will tell you that you need to find your niche and most importantly, a niche market that will pay for your product or service. And while they are correct – it’s not always straightforward.
When you start out, plant your business seeds far and wide. Be prepared for failures and non-starters, and rather be disappointed, use these as a guide to narrowing down your niche and create a base for building your business. This base will be your target market.
Finding customers at the beginning can be a challenge. Using your personal network (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) is a great way to start spreading the word, especially if you have a consumer-focused product. Word-of-mouth won’t get you far when you’re just starting out, but it will get you started, so don’t be shy when it comes to spreading the word or asking for personal favors with your new business.
Balance is key when offering free options. Allowing people to sample your product with no financial risk to encourage them to sign up for the paid service is a great way to build your customer base. When offering free services, keep two things in mind: 1. Your free offering has to be of value to the customer 2. You must hold enough back to make people want to upgrade.
Knowing and understanding your customer is vital to creating a product or service that basically sells itself. Whether responding directly to every comment on social media or customer support, or following review sites, use each of these situations as a chance to survey your customers on their wants and needs. The better you know your customers, the easier it is to tailor your products and services.
Happy customers (which you’ve created with your stellar customer service and tailored products) are the best salespeople. They know the value of your product and feel taken care of. Incentivize customers to share (sell for you) by giving them a reason to get other people to sign up or purchase your product.
Once you start receiving traffic to your website, you’ll need to focus on converting visitors into customers. From website design to product pricing, many factors are involved in determining your conversion rates. To determine what works best, you’ll need to test, test, and test again. You’ll find that the most successful entrepreneurs never stop testing and never assume. They’re always running split tests or A/B tests to determine the best conversion rates.
Starting your own business isn’t an easy task, which is why 9 out of 10 startups fail. As GI Joe said, “Knowing is half battle” while the other half is having a product that meets the needs of your customers and working diligently, intelligently, and consistently.
Rarely do successes happen overnight. If you really want to succeed in your startup business, take the tips offered above, hunker down, and get to work.