I was recently asked what advice I'd give to startups. Here are nine (9) tips:
1. To take time to test the waters while working with market research on what services or products folks need, what they are willing to pay, who the ideal willing and able buyers are, your strategy to reach them.
2. To draft a business plan. The business plan should include your vision, mission, the products and services you are going to sell, your market research, your unique selling propositions, realistic sales forecasts, and realistic expenses. The goal is to use this business plan to guide your business growth over a period of 3 to 5 years.
3. To draft a separate marketing plan. The marketing plan should include affordable marketing options such as how you plan to use social media marketing tools. Social media marketing tools include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, EzineArticles, Hootsuite and Aweber.
4. To save money or get an investor to fund your outreach to prospective buyers.
5. To avoid using credit cards and taking out loans.
6. To learn how to set up systems: payroll, income tax, marketing and sales systems.
7. To not go it alone. Vet and hire trustworthy affiliate sales folks on commission and figure out a way to get admin assistance through bartering services, using student interns, or asking family members to help.
8. To be flexible and be willing to pivot. We have pivoted three (3) times. First, we earned six (6) figures helping land development clients. We pulled construction permits and handled zoning for big wheel land developers. That crashed in 2008. So, we pivoted drawing from many years of working for government agencies. We started teaching b2b clients how to get government contracts. We quickly realized that these small biz prospects do not pay enough to cover our expenses. So, we pivoted toward doing the same in front of larger audiences partnering with universities. Then, the federal govt shut down. Many, many business owners like me quit. But, we worked hard to build the company. So, as the firm's leader, I went back to school, got an Executive MBA and got into a Phd in Management program. We are now looking into building global partnerships and technology based targets related to university tech transfer research and technical assistance.
9. To learn how to figure out where the action is and to follow the money trail.
Contact Clovia Hamilton for business startup training and support services: http://lemongrassplanning.com/business-support-services-2/
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