When starting a new business, there are a number of missteps you want to be sure not to take.
Starting a business from scratch is never easy. You need to plan out everything needed to turn it into reality. However, like joining a war, you have to be strategic in putting up your dream business.
Simple mismanagement of a task can lead to a big disaster if you don't resolve it properly. You also need a backup plan if things don't work out. Having a successful business starts with a proper focus on crucial things that affect it, including having good customer experience, setting up a proper website and managing your social media. Here are the following things you should not do if you want to set your business to a good start.
1. Do everything by yourself
Solopreneurs tend to do business tasks without the help of an assistant or a henchman. This can be an ingredient for disaster afterward. Not everything can be done alone, especially in repetitive tasks. If you're not organized enough, multitasking may even affect your productivity and worsen your piling tasks.
You should learn how to delegate tasks to your remote employees. There are three options you can choose in hiring your first team: freelancing, agencies, or business process outsourcing companies.
The first one can be hired through different platforms in the market, such as UpWork and Fiverr, while agencies let you hire at least one person or a whole team. Outsourcing companies, meanwhile, can set up a dedicated team for you. Since they cover the expenses for the equipment you need in working, you don't need to shell out additional resources for their work.
2. Not streamlining your process
Do you or your team really need to do that? Sometimes some processes can be cut, changed, or revised for an easier workflow and client transaction.
Don't be afraid to look over your team's daily tasks and see what can be done easier and what should be left out. Instead of having three requirement verifiers, maybe you can have just one then delegate encoding and request approval to the other two. Your team can automate sending bulk newsletters for a bigger number of customers.
This goes the same with client transactions. You can have their transaction cut to three days instead of five by sending their application forms directly to the client verification team. Lessen their paperwork by sending their requirements online. Streamlining your processes makes it easier for your employees to work and for customers to transact with your business.
3. Not planning on big expenses
You bought a few pieces of equipment for your T-shirt printing business without considering that you still don't have a proper workspace. Not to mention, you still don't have the materials you need: T-shirts, ink for printers, desktop with tools for your in-house designer. Yet, your initial capital is running out.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is managing your expenses badly. Proper cash flow is important, especially when starting a small business. One unplanned move can affect all the aspects of your startup.
This is the reason you need to have a proper budget. List down your initial capital and all your business expenses, from big to small ones. You can also get advice from a financial expert or an accountant on how you can budget your money. When you plan to make a big move, transferring to a private office, for instance, take a look at your books and budget first to know if you’re ready for it. You can set up a timeline on when you want this move to happen. Say, in 5 to 7 years.
4. Not utilizing your social media pages
Social media is the easiest way to attract and retain customers. Nowadays, people who have Facebook and Twitter interact with other users and businesses using these platforms. If you haven’t set up one yet for your business, then you might be missing out.
Creating a page for your business is not enough either. You need to build and maintain your reputation in the online world if you want to expand to a bigger market in the future. Create a social media plan where you can set your target in posting, audience reach, and impressions. Learn what you can and cannot post and practice social media sensitivity. You wouldn’t want your business page to be popular because of backlash from your customers and users from different countries.
5. Not using SEO to your advantage
Another great traffic booster for your website is the search engine itself. When you rank high on Google, you get to be on the top of each search results that are relevant to your business. Your online jewelry shop will appear first in the result list once people google "jewelry based on a character" because search engines know that you’re an expert on this topic. This is what search engine optimization (SEO) does.
Not properly implementing SEO can have disadvantages to your business as well. Aside from less exposure and traffic, you will have a smaller pool of audiences. It will be difficult for you to reach another market and expand. It will also affect your credibility online since only a few knows your business.
Hire an SEO expert that can help you create content for your website. They will search for keywords that relate to your content then strategize on how to gain search volumes with these.
6. Making your website too basic
Your website determines the legitimacy of your business. It’s the online representation of your store, so making it presentable as possible is important. Think of it as in a job interview. You would not want your interviewee to see your hair uncombed, clothes unironed, and shoes almost worn out. You dress for your dream job and be confident enough for them to hire you.
Don't just settle on the default templates that your website builder gave you. Hire a designer to make the logo and design of your landing page. Make your entire website presentable but not too flashy as well. Your customers will love to visit your website more often when they see that it is clean, functioning, and updated.
7. Stalling your website for too long
As time goes by, you might forget that your website needs maintenance, too. Customers like to be updated on different happenings in your business. Do you have a promotion coming up? Will there be deals for your site? Do you have new items to sell? Are you still in the business?
Updating your website also helps Google determine that your business is still active. Adding and revising content makes search engines crawl back to your site, helping you to get back in their rankings. Update even your business address and contact numbers so customers can still reach you. This also indicates that your website is still legitimate.
8. Disregarding customer interaction
Lastly, the biggest mistake you can do is to ignore customer service. Your customers want to be taken care of with their demands. Not engaging with your customers, whether in social media, web chat or other communication channels, has a negative impact on your business. You may lose customers quicker than you know it. Then all you’ll read is complaints about how terrible your customer service is.
Hire a call center to keep customer satisfaction high. Use a contact center to manage different channels such as calls, emails, and live chat. Attend to their concerns as quickly as possible. Take care of your customers because they are the most important part of your business. Without them, your business won’t be successful in the long run.