Starting with an idea.
All businesses start with an idea, launched with the well seasoned advice; “start with the end in mind”. So, you have a great idea for a new business, backed by a passion and drive to mould it into life, now where do you see the road taking you down this new business journey? Some business people will say they envision the business becoming something they can franchise, others say that they will be able to expand and provide jobs, and still others that they simply ARE the business, and it will exist as long as they are there to run it. Envision your own individual business coupled with an easily recognisable brand and logo design and strong online presence, and you're off to a great start.
Your new business presence will need to be maintained by a simple online marketing campaign to ensure you become recognisable and most importantly, competitive. Ensure your online presence reflects exactly the business personality that inspired you in the first place! It’s important to start out with a business plan to give shape and direction to your business idea. Your business planning process should include these steps:
- Decide your own goals and objectives. This may include a strong online presence, selling online with an eCommerce website, and/or for your customers to be able to take advantage of everything you are offering, be it product or service, by using their mobile devices.
- Research, research and research, then note down your business plan. Take a look at your competitors websites. See how they are best serving their customers. How easy is it for their customers to access the products/services offered? Are your competitors providing an online service? And if so, what do you or don’t you like about their website, facebook page, twitter feed or other social media presence.
- Review your business plan. This should be an on-going process, ensuring your plan is relevant in your industry and in line with modern business practice. Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing is good practice and will benefit not just you but your customers as well. Let your customers see that yours is an evolving business, changing to meet current needs and trends, and perhaps creating your own trends and keeping ahead of the competition!
- Maintain a focus on your business plan and continue to update it. Things will change, and for the continued success of your business, you need to keep up with business practices, trends, and technology. For example; If your business plan currently incorporates a website, it is invaluable that you know about Googles recent policy change to give search result priority to responsive websites. If your audience are mobile users, it would be in your businesses best interests to change your business plan to better cater to this audience. There may also be room in your marketing budget for app. development or a dedicated mobile website as another outlet for your products and ideas.
The Business Plan
Business plans are a broad platform that take into account your personal goals and the status and future of your industry. We all know the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”, so putting this into practice means to have a strong, pro-active plan for your new business that will focus your efforts and provide a measure for your results.
It’s good practice to identity your risks, know where the pot holes are, the curves in the road and the temptations (like shiny gadgets and envy-inducing signwritten vehicles). For example; if you are a florist and your competitor has an eCommerce website to provide their bouquets online, but you are starting out with a more cost effective content management website (a cms website does not offer online sales) to advertise your florist store, then target your website content and images to best present your products and welcome people to your store, until an eCommerce website and an SEO campaign is an option that would work with your ideal business model and plan.
Knowing your target market and how they will be able to connect with you is also very important. For example; If you are in the travel industry, perhaps a motel owner, you need to identity the risk of not having a responsive or mobile website. Because your target audience consist mostly of travellers, who would very likely be using a mobile device to search for accommodation, are they able to find you online? And if they do will they be able to easily view your important information and navigate your website on a mobile device? Or will they become frustrated with a website that is not mobile friendly and find an alternative accommodation provider.
Websites and Marketing for New Businesses - The Summary
So you're going to take the leap and control your own destiny, turning one brilliant idea into a platform from which to support yourself (and potentially others), offering your skills to the world. Dreaming big is good but first, pen must be put to paper to define your "vision statement" and "mission statement", before we move on to things like registering your business name and purchasing a domain.
Your vision statement will describe where you see yourself. Using our new business florist idea, here's an example; "We are the most accessible online florist in New Zealand, supporting the gift of giving through top quality floral arrangements and fast, reliable service and delivery."
Your mission statement, on the other hand, will be the outlined plan for how you get there, for example; "We are versatile and state-of-the art. Our classic villa style and store is complimented by the design and functionality of an eCommerce site, attached to our in-store stock management system to ensure real-time updates of product availability. We accept and process immediate online orders and arrange fast delivery. We are versatile and pro-active, providing floral arrangements of the highest quality and offering a new product every fortnight, and sales for special occasions."
So get started today on your new business and marketing ideas, visit some websites in your desired industry and look at the latest in design and layout, as well as the information, services and functionality that is being provided. Make your own distinctions on what you favour, in terms of too much or too little information provided, whether the website complements the style of the product or service being advertised, and if an online presence can clearly tell you what that company's vision and missions are.
Visit our Portfolio today to view some recent website design examples and for a little more inspiration into what's possible with professional and affordable website and branding design.
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