How to to bring your business idea to life - online in easy steps
Being involved in the Bringing Your Business Idea To Life Expo got me thinking about start ups and decided to put together a 'guide' for start ups for their online presence.
As a start up, you are probably overwhelmed by all the tasks you need to get done before even launching your product - business registration, banking, branding, product development, testing, packaging, social media....the list goes on and on!
In today's world every business needs an online presence - as ..said 'if it is not on Google - it does not exist'..
Getting online presence can be complex for many business owners as there is a lot to consider. Often start up get into the trap and rush to develop a website (and pay top $$) before product is even launched and find out a year later that the strategy was wrong and need to re-develop their site.
In some cases all they can afford is 'home made website' which does more harm than good to their brand.
If you business is NOT an online business prominently, a step by step approach is the best solution.
For example if you developed a food product there are many ways your can sell it: markets, retailers, cafes, your own shop, online...setting up an online shop with no brand awareness might not work as your product needs to be 'out there' before people will buy it online.
Another example, if your main objective is to sell through retail shops, they might not want to stock your products if you sell them online (want exclusivity).
Here are the steps I recommend you take when you start up before getting a full professional website.
Register a domain name
Think outside the box, not only your business name but perhaps variations that will help you in the future with SEO.
Set up a basic hosting account
So you can set up email addresses with your domain name - this look more professional and will give you more credibility than using a Gmail / Hotmail account.
Put together an online strategy:
Think short and long term. Think, what do you want your website to achieve - short and long term - for example develop brand awareness followed by an online shop in the future
Set up social media
Decide on which social media platform you want to be on (think were are your potential clients on) and set them up. remember, better do one well than all of them badly. you can set up a strategy to develop your social media presence gradually.
Start an email database
Using an email marketing platform such as Mail Chimp you can set up a database for your new or potential clients. Start collecting addresses at markets, trade shows, network events.. you can use it later to send up campaigns.
Set up a website landing page:
Once you get your branding, set up a landing page. This should include:
1. logo / name
2. brief - what you offer
3. optional say 'website coming soon'
4. professional product photos (if you sell a product) as a banner or static.
5. contact details
6. social media links / e-news registration
some examples on my landing page section on my portfolio.
a blog can help with your presence/ ranking and promote your reputation as an expert in your field. You can set up a free blog with blogger or Wordpress.
Register your business online
Look online directories that are relevant to you: general directorates such as Yellow Pages and Google for Business and industry specific review sites / directories such as Trip Advisor, market websites...
Work on your business!
Now, start your business get out there, showcase your products, see what the market says and review your website once you get a clear direction - online shop? brochure site?
by this stage you will also have more content for a professional website - photos, testimonials...