There is no doubt that the world of business is now firmly online, in some cases brands are exclusively found on the internet. Although many people still visit stores, there are now many more people that have decided to do their shopping online. It means that for any company who wants to be a success, they need to have a good online presence and a brand that is strong and recognisable, especially in the already densely populated marketplace. If you are wondering where to begin, below are a few tips to get you started.
Believe in Your Brand
To make your company a success, whether it's online or on the high street, you need to have an idea that you believe in completely. There will always be ups and downs in the business world, so you have to be able to believe in your idea and be determined to make it a success. As important (if not more so), is to convince your customers of your idea as well. Not everyone will be impressed by your business idea, but that doesn’t matter. There are many companies who had bad starts that went onto being major brands, so don’t let a slow start stop you from doing the job you believe in to the best of your ability.
Don’t be Afraid to be Different
Many companies have become similar in their approach to what sells. They adopt a ‘me too’ attitude that sees companies making similar products to each other. While this can be an almost guaranteed way to make money, it won’t make your company stand out. Instead of making similar products to everyone else, why not try to be innovative? For example, when Dyson came out with their revolutionary bagless vacuum, they were instantly popular. From that point onwards, other companies have come up with their own versions of the bagless cleaner. Sure, you would be supplying the demand for this type of vacuum, but you aren’t necessarily offering anything innovative. Ensure you take the time to research and development and see where it takes you.
Prepare to be Copied
If you are steering away from the ‘me too’ business culture, and trying something innovative, then you need to be prepared for some copying. Other companies are not shy about adopting the same products as their competitors, and so they will develop their own versions. You need to be pragmatic about being copied, although you still need to maintain your intellectual property rights. Many companies who develop these innovative products use the marketing campaign to show shoppers that theirs is the original and best. The other way that you can keep your products more relevant to your customers than your rivals is innovation. Keep improving your product so that they are always behind the mark. That will encourage your customers to seek your products first.
Have Reserves of Money on Hand for Emergencies
New businesses don’t have lots of money just sitting around, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot start to save a little. Run your company as lean as possible and use any spare money as a reserve to help you in bad times. There will always be moments when your company isn’t doing so well, so to have some spare cash to see you through can be the difference between success and failure. However, remember that when you are keeping costs low, don’t compromise on your product quality. If you do, then eventually your customers will realize and might shop elsewhere. As a new business owner, you are also bound to make the odd mistake, so having money saved can help with this as well.
Keep Control of Your Company Until You are Ready
There are some entrepreneurs which will happily give up some of the control of their company in order to gain venture capital. While this gives you more money to play with, it might also stop you from being the free and innovative company you started off as. Although some business owners prefer to be led by a larger company, that doesn’t mean it will make the company better. It means that if you want to change anything or do something different, your owners might not like the idea and block it. It is conflicts like this that often see the founders of big companies leaving to start again.
Make Your Website the Heart of Your Company
With so many customers liking to shop online, the way you present your company is important. Your website needs to be the shop window of your company, and anyone that visits needs to know what your company is about and what you do. That doesn’t mean that you need to have something overly complicated, in fact, less is more when it comes to websites. Lots of big organisations have now adopted a simple look to their website, one that is easy to navigate and even easier to use. The easiest way to develop your website is to hire the experts, and then host your newly created site with a professional company such as Brixly. Shopping online is also a huge part of retail now, so you need to have a shopping area on your site so that you can take advantage of this. If you have high street stores as well, then try to offer some products as online only, this will encourage customers to purchase online, and they can get to know your website.
Keep Your Budget Tight
As a small business owner, you will be acutely aware of the need for a tight budget. However, are you going far enough when it comes to saving money? Your primary goal is to survive long enough to make your company a success, but, until that time, you need to be frugal. Apart from your website, you shouldn’t be spending money you don’t need to spend. Choose a small office to work from, or better still, work from home. Don’t go printing lots of glossy brochures, instead choose something plain and simple, if you need to print them at all. Avoid hiring people just because you are growing slightly; it might be a temporary growth before your sales fall, then you will need to justify their employment. Wait for stable and continued growth before you consider additional staff.
Don’t Try for Too Much Too Soon
The old saying ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ Has never been truer when it comes to business. Starting a new company and helping it to grow into a bigger company takes a lot of time and effort. While there are those exceptions that made it big quick, for most entrepreneurs, that is not the case. You need to take things easy and try not to grow too fast. Otherwise, you might lose your momentum and fall back down again. You need to be planning for the long haul and thinking about where you can take the company next. As soon as you have a product that is doing well, you should be thinking about and plan the next one. That way, there is always something new for your customers to see and keep them interested.
Think About You and Your Family Too
You might think that starting and growing a successful business requires long days and even longer weekends in the office for as long as it takes. However, for your own sake, this is not the way to do it. As well as having a business, you might also have a home and a family, they need and deserve to spend time with you as well. No company is worth sacrificing your family, your health or your sanity, so try to find a balance that works. One way to do this is to set yourself ‘work hours’ that you keep to strictly. Outside these hours, you don’t answer phones or messages, and you don’t go to the office. If you can keep yourself to this regime, then you can begin to balance your life and your work. The same applies to your workforce; they also need to have a good work-life balance if they are to stay reliable and productive.
Build a Company to Last
Your company needs to be something that you want to see growing and succeeding for many years. It needs to be a company that you are committed to and want to stay with. Will you eventually sell? Perhaps, but you shouldn’t go into the business thinking that. For one reason, you might never get a buyer, and the other, those that go into this for the short haul, usually fail. That is because they aren’t thinking about the long-term gain, they just want the big buy-out. For example, many of the big companies around today began small and grew because their founders had a vision for what they wanted.
If you have an idea for a business venture, then why not take the chance and go for it. Even though it will be a long and difficult path, there are many rewards to be had with success, if you can keep your head.