So you are considering starting a business (or started one recently). You may be staring at yourself in the morning while brushing your teeth thinking “you fool…why did you do this to us?!”. Today I bring you 4 tips for starting a business that could change the game for you.
4 Tips for Starting a Business
Tip 1: Get clear on your ideal customer
So many of my business mentorship clients answered this question with something along the lines of: “women, ages 25-45”. Well that isn’t very specific now is it?
I am not suggesting that you need to back yourself into a corner, but you need to know WHO you are talking to before you attempt to develop a product or service for them, and you REALLY need to know them before you begin marketing to them.
How do we get to the bottom of this? I start with a brain dump. Use a Google or Word doc, a notebook or the notes app on your phone to start writing down three to five “ideal customer avatars”. Be thorough and dive into everything about them. An example for a Beyond Boss ICA would be:
Taryn – Taryn is a 35 year old woman from Pittsburgh, PA. She works a full time corporate job, however she is really excited to start a side hustle that she hopes will turn into a full time job. She is dating and hopes to be engaged soon. She is undecided about having children and will be happy to go in either direction the wind blows her. Taryn has some disposable income to spend on things that make her happy, but is not wealthy. She is tech savvy, sarcastic and truly believes that if you aren’t kind to the server you probably aren’t kind. She is excited to find a community of like minded women that are committed to personal growth.
Repeat this process multiple times and save the results. This ICA can inform a lot of the development of your business.
Tip 2: Get clear on HOW you will serve that customer
It is easy to get really excited about a vision. But HOW will you serve the customer beyond just developing a product or service and watching deposits in your account?
If you will be selling on Etsy, what sort of turn around time will you promise? What will your packaging look like? If you are a service based business, how can you ensure that you are serving your clients with SOUL, making them feel excited and appreciated by you?
Tip 3: Develop a strategy in these areas: process, marketing, finance
Know what your strategies will be. Starting a business and jumping in without any direction or method to the madness is a recipe for stress.
Process: how will you do the things that you do? What tasks will you complete and when? Get clear on how the big stuff, and the little stuff will get done or guess what…it won’t get done. Business owners have no one to report to, and no one reminding them to get things done. Guess what the first line of attack is when things are falling off of your radar? Your customer. What a nightmare that can be.
Marketing: create an easy to follow strategy for marketing your business. Marketing a small business is much more than gaining nameless, faceless followers on Instagram. Going viral is not a strategy. If I had to scream just one tip for starting a business, it would be that.
Your marketing strategy should seek to funnel your audience from discovering you exist (Instagram, referral, etc), through multiple other channels so that they can get to know you before you ever ask them to make a purchase.
Set office hours. Put up out of office emails. Make it clear what your boundaries are and stick to them. Check in with yourself often, and be sure to adjust as your business grows and your life evolves.
The bottom line is GET CLEAR, and stick to your plans. You can do this.
Caitlin Thomas is the Founder of Beyond Boss, a professional photographer, and a mama of two. She is passionate about helping other women make more time for living and enjoying life, without sacrificing their dreams and ambitions.