Many of my networking circle started a small business in order to provide themselves with a family flexible working environment. We all desire it and in many cases our old employment doesn’t fit our now altered commitments and childcare is a massive strain and expense. Freelancing is quickly becoming a much more feasible option alongside new and exciting opportunities to earn an income via social media, meaning working from home has never been easier.
To physically start up a small business you might require a Small Business loans or you could look at how to incorporate bootstrapping, which is a posh way of saying starting a business without external help or financial capital. Back in 2008 when I started Charlie Moo’s I literally bought some stock for £56.65 which I sold at events, whilst performing crucial market research and then reinvested back into the business to pay for branding, website and more stock.
3 Ways to Kick Start Your Small Business :
Branding encompasses all aspects of your small business and getting it right in the beginning at elevate costly mistakes. Here are my top branding tips to get you started.
- Logo Design : If you are trying to bootstrap your start up costs then a logo design is somewhere you can cut back on costs. For example Wix Logo Maker is aimed to help small business owners who can’t or don’t want to spend a fortune on a designer, create a brand new and unique logo with a minimal cost. Not only is it easy to use, but it is also free to use you only pay for the logos you decide you want meaning you can play around to your hearts content.
- Personal Branding : I recently had a new set of headshots taken as my face is my avatar on all my platforms. I network a lot so need to be instantly recognisable and a logo isn’t going to do that. Amanda from Virtual Assistant Coaching and Training’s branding is all magenta pink and therefore she can usually be found wearing a magenta top or cardigan. These visual clues help identify you and your brand in a sea of other faces and businesses.
- Streamlining Your Social Media : It’s really important to make sure as much as you possibly can all your avatars, banners and handles are the same. It not only looks more professional but makes it easier for people to find you.
- Business Cards : Love them of loathe them Business Cards still have a valid place in our small businesses. Take the time to buy quality cards utilising all the space (don’t leave the back blank) which are in-keeping with your brand theme, colours and ethos.
Further Reading : Five branding tips for your small business
Start Small :
It can be really easy to get swept away in the idea of having a business and what you need, but really to begin with you are much better off starting small and reinvesting. There’s no reason to hold tons of stock unless you have places to sell and customers to sell too. There’s also no reason to buy all the latest equipment and a fully furnished office space when your mobile, laptop and dinning room table will do.
- Buy only what you REALLY need.
- Always look for the best deals around, whether that be stock, office supplies or insurances.
- Use free tolls such as social media and local networking groups to build your support network and customer base.
- Do a skills swap. If you need something doing instead of paying or outsourcing swap a skill with someone else.
Networking is one of the easiest and most underrated ways in which to get your small businesses going. Networking sadly has amassed a bit of a bad rep, think awkward conversations in a room full of people trying to sell at you and I can see why people tend avoid it. BUT done in the correct fashion networking is a vital, and inexpensive, tool for your small business. Building and making connections with other small business owners in your local area not only helps you grow your business but you also develop your community/tribe/support network who help you through the tough times, provide you with real life people to talk too and support your business. For me the emphasis on networking should be to almost build a team around you rather than looking for a quick fix sale. Meeting real life people can also develop your communication skills, we get so used to speaking through text these days that we can be really bad at reading body language. Networking also enhances your online marketing, as your connections will check you out on social media and if they like you and you have taken the time to build a relationship with them they will share your content too.
Further Reading : 10 ways to successful networking
Starting up a small business can be scarey and liberating at the same time. I love the freedom to be able to be a full time parent in the holidays and I love being able to pick and choose the clients and work I take on. But it can also take time, dedication and passion to keep moving forward, especially in the start up stages when you aren’t making a proper income.
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