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10 Steps to a New Business

Train Tracks

Have you dreamed of owning your own business, but don’t know where to start? Have you started planning for your new business, but keep wondering if you’ve forgotten anything important? Check out the basic steps below to be sure you’re on the right track.

Evaluate and Develop Your Business Concept

1. Do you feel passionate about this idea? Will it be something you can do every day –- and night?

2. Jot out a quick break-even analysis. Can you make money at what you’re planning to do?

3. Figure out how you can pay for it, until it pays for itself and then makes money. Determine best and worst case scenarios.

Structure Your Business

4. What type of business will you form?

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation

5. Who will be your key employees, partners and vendors? What value do they add that you don’t have?

Brand It

6. Determine the name of your business. Start with a brainstorm session, then research your top 5-10 names for trademark and online domain availability.

7. Register your name and trademarks.

8. Determine your brand identity. If your brand were a person, who would it be? What does it stand for? How does it speak? Your brand is more than your logo and name, by answering these questions, and more, you will begin to identify your brand and its persona.

Set Up Your Business Systems

9. Obtain Insurance. Determine what liabilities are most relevant and insure for them.

10. Set Up Your Books. Find an accountant or bookkeeper that can periodically check your business situation, methods and prepare your taxes.

There’s more, but these are the top ten things that need to happen, to give your business a sound start.  This is a basic list, but you would be surprised at how many people, and companies, skip some or all of these steps.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, give me a call. Many of these steps can be readily achieved and will build the foundation for a strong business. Your strong business.


Even Santa likes Social Media

It’s got to be good if Santa likes it. The phenomenon of social media continues into a Christmas-decorated living room near you. Social media are now part of celebrating Santa’s annual visit to children near and far.Santa

Mashable has just posted “9 Ways to Connect With Santa on the Web” so kids can get in touch with Old Saint Nick. Services range from Santa emails to tracking his sleigh in the skies as he delivers presents around the globe. It’s just one more instance of how Social Media pervades our private lives and provides businesses with ways of engaging their customers.

In the true spirit of Christmas giving, most of these services are free and can be found at http://www.emailSanta.com/.

And what do you give in exchange? Your gift is personal contact information and permission to market to you and your little ones.

First Steps to Successful Inbound Marketing

So, you’ve watched Socialnomics with Eric Qualman and now you ‘get it’.

Haven’t seen it yet? Here it is again.

Now, you’re ready to begin the first steps to successful Inbound Marketing. Because traditional marketing will never be the same. It will no longer get you ‘there’. If you want to move your business forward, then you will need to focus on what you’re doing online. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Own Your Own Website
There is nothing more important than owning your own website. It’s your basecamp. The place that all your social media efforts revolve around. The place where all your communications should originate from -and end up at.

Location, location, location!
Now more than ever location matters. Whether it’s a busy street corner or a hard to find hole in the wall, getting your spot on the map right is vital. My recommendation is first things, first. Can people find you? If you’re a restaurant, hotel or auto repair shop, then start by registering your address and details on Google Places. This will literally, put you on the map.

Google Places http://www.google.com/help/places/index.html

Get Found
Make it easy for others to find your website (you do have a website, right?) by adding it to these most popular search engines, as listed below. Yes, all of them. This will allow the search engines to find you without waiting for them to ‘crawl’ your site. Being proactive on this is a good thing.Socialnomics

Google – http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Bing- http://www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx
Yahoo! Local – http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
Yelp! http://www.yelp.com/business?country=US

Consider these:
__Craigslist- http://yourcity.craigslist.org/
__Here is a link where you can submit your site to MANY places:
http://www.locallytype.com/pages/submit.htm

Next steps
For all businesses, the top things that you need to do is establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and start a blog. For hospitality businesses, include TripAdvisor in that equation. Put it at the top of the list.
I’ll cover those in future articles. Stay tuned!

Social Media- Room to grow

Here are some interesting facts about who is… and who isn’t using the Web. Do you think there is room to grow?

  • 40% of small businesses don’t have a web site
  • 81% of entrepreneurs still don’t take advantge of social media
  • 47% don’t think that Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn are beneficial to their business
  • 84% don’t provide for e-commerce
  • 62% don’t use email marketing

(Source: CBrogan via Citibank survey 2013.)

Where are you going? …with your Inbound Marketing efforts

attracting customersInbound Marketing refers to attracting customers to your lodging property through a variety of social media and content distribution and interacting with readers, rather than the older means of buying attention through disruptive advertising and other devices. Simply put, Inbound Marketing employs a ‘pull’ strategy, rather than the ‘push’ strategy employed by traditional marketing techniques. With the sophistication of the Internet, the opportunity for distributing content and building communities make Inbound Marketing the best chance for small businesses to get noticed in this overly messaged world. Engagement and differentiation is where small businesses have the advantage. So where are you taking your business?

What are you doing now to get found?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog and your website are all set up. You have them cross-referenced to interact with each other. They all hold a consistent brand message. You have clients that are interacting with you online. Life is good, right? Everyone should beat a path to your door, right?

Well, not exactly.

Where the problem lies for many businesses is in getting ENOUGH people to VISIT and then TAKE ACTION. That’s where you’ll need a good plan (and maybe some help). One that includes developing a content strategy, sound social media execution and personalized, genuine follow-up. How many visitors will you need each day to convert ENOUGH people into TAKING ACTION?

Feeling overwhelmed? Make no mistake there is a huge amount of effort that goes into leveraging SEO, blogging and social media to increase website traffic. Face it, now may be the time to invest some time and money into this endeavor. A certified and experienced Inbound Marketing professional can help you with a detailed analysis of your business and the competitive landscape. And help you set and achieve your online marketing goals. To get started on your detailed plan, determine your goals, and get people to TAKE ACTION, give us a call. Don’t worry, the first visit is always free.

“Goals without plans are meaningless. Plans without deadlines and measurements are wishes.” –Unknown

Note- First published Nov 2010 and republished Dec 2014