5 tips for starting a business on a small budget

Website
First question to ask yourself is ‘Do you really need one?’ You may be able to launch your business with just a Facebook page, then as it grows and develops create a website. 
Save £100’s by building your own website. Having tried and tested many DIY sites by far the best one is Squarespace. The templates are compatible with mobile devices, creative and easy to adapt to your brand. Even if you have never built a website before with Squarespace you can and saving £100’s in the process.  


Branding
Many new businesses over spend on what they think is the most important part of starting out, the brand. 
You can create your company brand for free! Use a design tool such as Canva, enabling you to upload photos, logos or images plus pick from their library of images, icons, text and designs. The great thing is you don’t have to worry about dimensions, they do all that for you too. All your social media posts, banners and leaflets can be created by you. 

Learn
If you need help with your marketing but have no budget then learn how to do it yourself. There are many free online courses and tutorials that can help, some specific courses may cost, but online ones tend to be cheaper.
Many local authorities run free workshops for new businesses to help and support local start ups. Look at your local council’s website and see if there are any in your area.


Premises
This is normally one of the biggest expenses to a business. Are you able to set up from home to begin with? Sell a product online to keep costs down and then move as the sales some in. Sharing space with other businesses is becoming increasingly more popular, renting on a daily basis rather than long committed leases.
Co working means you also get to interact with other business minded people and they could end up being a customer!

Networking
For most businesses word of mouth is still the most effective way of gaining customers. There is nothing more powerful than a personal recommendation.
Join a networking group in the area you want your business to grow. Most groups involve some sort of fee, but can be as little as £5 per meeting. Attend networking groups regularly to build relationships with key people.

 

Cure your LinkedIn fears

Does LinkedIn scare you? You are on there but not really active? Do you worry that by updating your profile your employer may think you are looking else where for work?

You are not alone, many people are LinkedIn shy and not clear on the 'dos and don'ts'  Other social media allows a mix of personal and professional life with LinkedIn being purely professional it can be intimidating.  Add to this fact many companies think the moment a team member is active on LinkedIn  means they want to jump ship! its no wonder there are so many inactive users!

Companies should encourage their teams to update LinkedIn profiles after all they will be advertising the great work the company does as well as the individual. Their success becomes the company success. Think of the money companies could save on recruitment fees if more referrals came from their employees. 

But of course you do not want to update your profile just to benefit the company, you need it to work for you too and it can. Use it to remind your boss why you should get that promotion or extra bonus at your appraisal. Use it as evidence of what a valuable employee you are. 

As an entrepreneur keeping up to date and active on LinkedIn is a must for all the reasons mentioned above plus the marketing benefits you can gain for your business.

So to get kick started on LinkedIn you may need a little help, I know I did. There is an on-line tutorial I found very useful (link below) it guides you through exactly how to update your profile, what should and should not be on there, tips on using LinkedIn and how to gain more connections. 

So whether you are working for yourself trying to build a business or just wanting a more professional profile for LinkedIn you will find help on http://www.linkedintosuccess.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

Are you wearing too many hats??

As someone in business what hat have you got on today?

When you work for yourself or run a small business sometimes it can feel like you need to be an expert in everything: A web designer, a brand design expert, a social media marketeer, a accountant, a lawyer, an administrator, a photographer, the list goes on!

We are all aware of the importance of social media for building a business, our website being 'user friendly', making sure we know the latest legislation and not getting behind with our accounts. But, these things are hard to stay on top of when trying to run a business day to day.

I recently spoke to a small business owner about improving and gaining more business, she was putting so much pressure on herself to be a good at everything. She is a Therapist, an expert in her field, has loyal clients and a fantastic reputation in her industry. My answer to her was 'You are an expert at what you do ,do you think a web designer could do your job?'

Some people are able to do it all, good for them! But most of us cannot and that is OK.

If we want to we can learn, do an online course or tutorial, go to a workshop and learn from a professional. Or we can ask for help from 'experts' and outsource areas that are not our strength. Giving you more time to  concentrate on what you are best at.... building your business!

Are you also putting pressure on yourself to do everything for you business?

 

Should you be using social media for your business?

How important is it to use social media for your business?

I was at a network meeting recently when the question came up, around half of those attending did not use social media to its full potential to gain more business. The general feeling was that they would rather gain new business through recommendations not social media.

Recommendations are the best way to gain new business there is no doubt about that, however are we losing out by thinking this means we do not have to use social media?

To promote/talk too or stay in touch with existing clients - Sending out updates via social media can be a quicker way of reaching your clients and reminding them of your services, its an easy way of saying 'hello, we are still here!'

Recommendation - It makes it easy for your clients to recommend your services over facebook/twitter or similar. People like the simplicity of checking out a page and then linking back to websites. Often people put up a status 'Does anyone know a good photographer/plumber/Beautician'

Increase brand awareness - Get people recognising your brand, many customers look to social media for news on new products and services. If customers are not seeing the business on social media then they may questions its credibility.

For small businesses the issue can come with the updating and amount of effort involved in being successful on social media. There are solutions to help with these issues and services on offer.

For help with social media or other admin services please contact Jaime@i-kandu.co.uk