Congratulations on starting your new business! Now that the easy part is out of the way, the hard part begins but some things don’t have to be hard. There are a lot of things that new business owners should know when running their business but I have compiled a few that I believe are extremely important to running a successful business.
Everything included here is based on what I have learned through trial and error during my three years of running Allebasi Design and because I want you to actually have a successful first year of running your business, I’m sharing it all with you!
Without further ado here’s what newbie business owners or entrepreneurs need to know about:
Growing your email list
Whether you have launched or are still to launch, you need to think about collecting emails and growing your email list. Your mailing list is an opportunity for you to reward your future or current clients; you get a direct line to them to give them discounts, exclusive news and other content that is exclusively for them.
For example, I have an exclusive library of premium resources that is only accessible to people on my mailing list and in addition to that, I send them tips, share exclusive info with them and other things of value.
Let your email list strengthen the bond between you and your audience. If you’re a newbie, you can use the mailing list to further reinforce your brand and be personable to your subscribers which may convert them into loyal future clients. It’s a win-win and many business owners have newsletter opt-ins on their websites. Now, how do you go about doing this?
1 | If you’ve already launched you can try Mailchimp. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers; great if you’re just starting out with building your email list. You can use Mailchimp to collect emails with a sign-up pop-up (click here to read more about how to create a pop-up) on your website or even on your Facebook page! In addition to collecting emails through pop-ups, you can use Mailchimp to send emails to your subscribers with ease
There are other email marketing options like ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, Active Campaign and so on. These are paid plans though, so you might want to go with Mailchimp first until you are comfortable with the whole email marketing shindig and you have grown your list. If you don’t mind paying for a service, I suggest trying them out (the paid services all have free trials last time I checked) and see which one you are comfortable with using.
2 | If you haven’t launched yet, consider hosting a ‘coming soon’ landing page where you tease visitors to your new business and get to collect emails. You can create sign-up pages on almost every website but one that I’ve used to collect emails prior to the launch of my online clothing store is Unbounce which comes with a bunch of landing page templates that are super easy to customise. They have the option of free or paid plans. You can also use ConvertKit and LeadPages to host your landing pages too; there are many good options out there for you to try out.
When I first started out, I wish someone told me about how important networking is. As a very shy person (seriously, I’ve been known to not talk at all in groups of new people and I talk a lot so imagine how shocked those people were when I got used to them) I thought networking meant I’d have to attend events and pass out business cards while holding a champagne flute and talk a lot to people I don’t know. *Shudders*. But guess what? Virtual networking is a thing and in this digital age, it’s a great thing! You can make countless business friends, find clients and collaborate on projects online...you wouldn’t even have to get out of your pajamas for this. So how do you network when you’re first starting out? I’m glad you asked! There’s a lot of ways for this:
1 | Attend events in person. Of course you can actually attend events if this is your thing! Sometimes the best relationships are built face-to-face so make use of real-life networking opportunities. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you could attend Wedding Expos or trade shows and talk to people.
You could also create relationships with wedding bloggers at blogger meet-ups in your area. Heck, if you find yourself in a random queue having a conversation about weddings and how some lady’s great-niece is getting married, well my friend, that is a great networking opportunity and you should jump at it! You may need to have a big stack of business cards on hands for opportunities like these.
2 | Join Facebook groups. I only really started utilising Facebook groups last year and believe me; I’m still mentally kicking myself every time I see how useful they are. There are a lot of Facebook communities for business owners, creative entrepreneurs and bloggers or whatever you fancy. Try searching for Facebook groups for people in your area if you want to connect with targeted people or join ‘worldwide’ groups where you may even just find people in your area.
I have found FB groups to be filled with supportive people. Have a question or problem? There’s always someone willing to help and vice versa if you are knowledgeable about something. Perhaps the best thing about being a member of Facebook groups is the fact that you can get your product or service in front of new sets of eyes and who knows? Your future clients may just be members of those groups. Be considerate though and don’t only promote yourself. Most groups have a set of rules to follow for members, so be sure to check them out before posting anything.
I am a member of several FB groups that I joined especially for my business but here’s a few which I’ve found to be particularly helpful and super friendly:
- Blog + Biz BFFs by Melyssa Griffin. Join here.
- Being Boss 101, a business mastermind group hosted by Ashley Knight. Join here.
2 | Participate in Twitter chats. This is my favourite way to network and I always see my follower count increase exponentially after a Twitter chat session. Twitter Chats are a great way to connect with bloggers, potential clients and other business owners.
Usually the chats cater to specific niches and this makes them eerily convenient in finding new people and because they see you participating too, they are already familiar with you and will more likely follow you back when you follow them. Great isn’t it? Beats having to manually search for people to follow in your niche by Twitter searching keywords, me thinks.
3 | Engagement. I don’t necessarily mean the put-a-ring-on-it kind, more like engaging with people in online communities, on Instagram and on blogs. You could comment on the blogs of people you want to connect with, sharing their posts on social media and tagging them or even retweeting or liking their posts.
Doing this shows them that you are interested in them and they’ll be curious about you and start engaging back and sharing your posts, services or products too! You scratch their backs, they scratch yours. A great many business owners have forged mutually benefiting business relationships this way.
4 | Cold emailing. One more thing to try is email the people you want to connect with (visit their contact page for their email address) and offer them a proposal or just ask for what you’d like. You never know, they may just be willing to work with you on a mutually benefiting basis.
By utilising social media you are likely to come across images or stories that make you doubt yourself and question all the work you are putting in your business and your success.
Please note that people usually post their highlight reels on social media and rarely post about their struggles and frustrations, so you are not really alone if and when you go through slumps. It’s a normal (and expected) part of life and business. :)
Do you have a blog for your business? If not, you should consider having one. You can read my post on why small business owners should blog right here. Basically, blogging is a great way to direct traffic to your website and make sales conversions. You can use blogging to teach people about your services or products or provide a value that will attract more people to your website and keep them coming.
As long as you blog about things related to your business and niche and not fluff or long posts about what your dog did this weekend. Here’s a tip: people generally don’t care very much about your personal life, they want things that will benefit them; things that will improve their lives or teach them about something they wouldn’t have otherwise known if they didn’t read your blog post about it.
You can throw tidbits of your personal life here and there to make yourself personable and foster trust but you also need to keep whatever you share relevant example, say you are selling a healthy recipe cookbook: you could blog about how your kid refused to eat their vegetables until you included the vegetables in this very awesome, very healthy green smoothie that your kid and all their friends loved. It shows people that you are a human being who loves his/her kids and keeps them healthy in creative ways and I bet you will find many people who would relate with the nightmare that is getting kids to eat their vegetables.
Also consider being generous and share a lot of value for free. Continuing with the above example, you could post that awesome smoothie recipe or even one or two recipes from the cookbook that you have for sale. This shows people that you are knowledgeable about the services or products you offer, they’ll want more and they’ll trust you enough to part with their money and become your clients. You can also give away freebies in exchange for email addresses and further grow your mailing list.
Another advantage of blogging that people do not know is that it helps you rank on Google. With blogging, you can include keywords that helps people find you easily when they Google something related to your offering. You could try and pack up a lot of keywords on your website (Google algorithms don’t like this, by the way) but the fact remains that blogging is the best way for you to utilise keywords that help you rank on Google. With blogging, you have the opportunity to use long-form keywords appropriately and when people find your blog posts on Google, they’ll have the chance to peruse your other posts and even see what you are about and you may gain a new fan and client through this! Seriously, don’t knock blogging.
Curbing unnecessary spending
If you’re a newbie and do not have a strong client base yet, you may want to tighten belts a little so you have enough money to live of off when things are quiet sales-wise. The best way to do this is by limiting spending on your business. It can be very tempting to buy an e-course on how to do webinars when it is not related to your business or even purchasing an expensive ConvertKit plan when you really don’t need it at this time in your business.
The best way to reduce unnecessary spending as a new business owner is to only purchase things that are strictly relevant to your business and the growth of it. For example, if your target market hangs out mostly on Instagram, you can buy an e-course on how to better utilise Instagram and reach clients.
Be careful of whom you purchase e-courses from. Make sure the teacher is really knowledgeable about the subject and not just selling you information that can be easily found online for free.
You may need to discipline yourself with spending because with all the wealth of information that is available out there that helps you improve and grow your business, it can be challenging to not buy something that you think you will need but end up not using and thus wasting money. You really need to be committed to taking care of your finances, believe me, you will thank yourself.
If you really want something that you believe will help you grow your business, rather purchase it as a reward for achieved goals.
Let’s say you want to purchase a Canon DSLR camera so you could take better pictures for Instagram, you can reward yourself with it once you reach 10 000 Instagram followers or made $5000 last month on sales. The bigger the goal, the bigger the reward as you see fit. This will help you be more determined to reach your goals and you will be actively working towards them.
The result? Business growth goals achieved AND a reward to help you grow further. Not bad, eh?
I sincerely hope that you will take heed of what I wrote about because it is something that I really wish I got to read when I first started out; it would have saved me a lot of money, heartache and time! Haha! But I’m glad I learned from my mistakes so I can help you prevent making them and your road to success will be a little easier!
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Now, I’d love to hear from you, what are you excited to implement in your new business? Feel free to comment and let me know below!