Setting up your own business? You’re far from alone. The coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has seen countless numbers of us choosing to change our career paths. Perhaps you lost your employed role due to company collapse resulting from social distancing measures and lockdown periods. Maybe you were made redundant. Perhaps you simply had time to reflect on the position you were working in and decided you wanted to follow a new path where you’re your own boss.
Of course, running your own business comes hand in hand with countless perks. You’ll quickly find that you gain a whole lot more control over your own working life. You can decide what you sell. You can choose the market you’ll cater to. You’ll choose who you work with and who works for you. You can choose where you work from. You can manage your own working hours. The list goes on. But with all this freedom comes a lot of learning and responsibility.
You’re going to have to become proficient in countless areas to ensure that you manage your business well and guide it in the right direction to becoming a success. Here are just a few areas of focus you should keep in mind when getting things up and off the ground!
Create Your Website
No matter what kind of business you’re setting up, no matter what industry you’re operating in or what field you’re specializing in, you’ll find that a good quality website is going to prove absolutely essential to your overall success.
Well, we’re living in a technological age where people are spending more and more time online. Whether that’s through a work laptop, a personal laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. When people shop nowadays, they expect to be able to view products and learn more about them online before purchasing. Many will also want to purchase online too.
If you offer services, a website is still important for creating a brand image, providing customers with a space to leave reviews and informing customers of your opening hours or location and other key information. Of course, creating a website is no easy feat and, for many of us, is something that we’re going to have to bring in special help to achieve. Some people you will likely collaborate with when designing a website include:
- Web Designers and Developers – unless you intend to fully train yourself in code, you’re going to need web designers and developers to actually create your site for you. Not only will they make a site that works, but they can create a site that looks great and fits in with your brand image too. The value of these individuals’ work is hard to exaggerate. Studies have shown that people tend to decide within a matter of seconds whether they’re going to stay on a site or click the exit tab, so a great site can significantly contribute towards making sales and creating customer relations.
- A UX Designer – UX stands for user experience and a UX designer will ensure that your customers and potential customers can get around your site easily, finding what they want and making the process of browsing and buying more streamlined. UX can also direct customers’ attention where you want it to be, encouraging them down the sales funnel.
- A Product Photographer – a quality product photographer can create great imagery on your site. Remember, when people are shopping online, they often only have the images of the product on your site to go by in terms of getting a look and feel of the product. A professional product photographer will have the equipment and experience required to show your products in their best light!
- A Copywriter – your website is going to have a lot of copy on it. Copy includes any written content. It could be product descriptions. It could be “about” pages. It could be FAQs. The list goes on. You need good quality copy to get across a brand tone of voice and to show customers why they should shop with you. It also helps convey key information that could lead to a sale!
Focus on SEO
Once you’ve got your website up and running, it’s time to start directing people to it. You could have the best website in the world, but if nobody lands on your pages, you’re not going to make any sales through it. Of course, this is by no means an easy task to undertake. There are countless websites out there and, chances are, you have a lot of existing competitors who will be vying to get customers to their site instead of yours. So, what can you do to experience success in this area? A good place to start out is SEO.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It’s a commonly used business practice which revolves around getting as much traffic to your website as possible. It achieves this by getting your page to rank on the first page, or first few positions, in search engine results for keywords that relate to what you’re selling.
To understand how it works, it may be best to first consider what you do when you’re looking to buy something online. Chances are you go to Google or another search engine and type in what you’re looking for. If you want to buy a dress, you may type in “pink dress”. If you want to buy new headphones, you may type in “noise cancelling headphones”. Google will then crawl the web to find sites that offer these and that will provide you with the most relevant results. You will go through the search engine results page (or SERP) and click one of the first few links, likely buying from one of these pages.
When is the last time you went beyond the first page of Google? Probably a long time ago, if ever. This is why it’s so important for your page and products to rank first. SEO helps achieve this by optimizing your site for google and other search engine’s crawlers, ensuring that the search engines see your content as relevant and flagging you as a good option to click first.
Of course, this is a hugely complex field to get involved in. So, the majority of companies will use an SEO agency to take care of the work for them. At the end of the day, SEO is always changing, with search engines changing how they work and putting new rules in place to ensure they are delivering quality content rather than being tricked by company’s SEO tricks. To keep on top of these changes and keep your site constantly up to date would be a full time job. Outsourcing to a third party sees you gain all the expertise you need without having to constantly learn yourself. Alternatively, if you have the budget, you could hire an in-house SEO specialist.
Of course, once you start making a name for your brand, making sales and generating more profit, you’re likely to experience increased demand. Having set up yourself, chances are, you’ll be used to working alone and taking on all responsibility within your business. But one person can only do so much and can only specialize in so many areas.
At some point, you’re going to have to consider recruitment, bringing staff members on board to maximize productivity and encourage business expansion. The recruitment process may feel a little odd at first, but you’ll soon get used to it. Here are some initial steps to engage with:
- Advertise roles effectively – the first step in the recruitment journey is to advertise open positions. The easiest way to do this is through a recruitment agency or online through jobs boards. Recruitment agencies are more expensive, but they can take a load off your shoulders. Jobs boards can attract a larger pool of candidates, but you will spend more time sifting through CVs. The best option depends on your budget, needs and preferences.
- Interview – once you’ve whittled down potential candidates, it’s time to interview them. People can often exaggerate experience or knowledge on their CVs and an interview will help you to confirm whether they genuinely know what they’re talking about. It can also help you determine whether the candidate would be a good cultural fit within your company, as you get to see their character and personality.
- Making offers and rejections – once you’ve settled on the ideal candidate, offer them the position. Provide all details required for them to determine whether they want to accept or reject the offer, including salary, benefits and other perks of the job. Once you’ve found an appropriate candidate who accepts, make sure to politely let candidates you haven’t accepted know that you appreciate their time but their application hasn’t been successful.
Sure, there are countless other areas you’re going to have to focus on to make your business a success. But for now, these initial steps should get you started out in the right direction! Hopefully, some of the information provided will help make this entire process a little easier and more manageable for you!