There’s a lot to running a business, eh?
Well, yes and no.
To start with, there doesn’t need to be a lot to it. Honestly.
I know it feels like it.
You sign up for all those free webinars, workshops, challenges, masterclasses because the Facebook ads throw them at you and everyone’s talking about them in the Facebook groups, so they must be the right thing to do. Right?
You don’t need all the bells and whistles at the start. You really don’t need that much at all.
OK, what do you need to start a business?
It’s pretty simple to set up a business – you decide what you want to do, and you tell people about it.
Everything else in those webinars and whatnot is just ways of doing that better.
The key to keeping it simple is to remember that you don’t need to do ALL THE THINGS straight away.
At the start, you just need to tell people about *that thing you do*
It doesn’t matter how you tell them. You don’t need a sales funnel or a webinar or a mailing list. Got a Facebook profile? Use that. Yep, you don’t even need a Facebook page on day one, let alone a website and a logo.
Done and out there is better than sitting in drafts waiting for perfection.
Good enough is good enough. Get it out there, improve as you go.
It’s really that simple?!
On day one you need the idea, and to tell people about it. Honestly, that’s it.
1) Use your favourite social media account to tell people;
2) Ask them to send you a message if they want to buy;
3) Reply to messages with your bank details.
You don’t need a dedicated bank account to start out – just keep a note of any sales, for your tax return.
Once you’ve started telling people, use their comments to refine your idea. If you’re not getting many comments then find another free way to tell people – a different social media platform, or a networking group.
At this stage, everything is just a live testing ground. Within a few months you should have enough comments and sales to know if this is a good idea or not.
OK, what next?
Once you’re at ‘yes, this is a good idea’ stage, it’s worth investing your time in the foundations of your business.
These are the key things to get in place within your first year:
– Separate bank account
It doesn’t need to be a business account, just something that separates your business finances from your personal stuff.
– Business presence on your chosen social media platform
Having started out using your personal presence, the next step is to create a Facebook page for your business, a business-specific Instagram account, etc. You don’t need to set things up on all the platforms, just the best one or two where your audience is.
– A mental image of your ‘ideal client’
This is someone you bring to mind when you’re working on your business – ask yourself, how will X respond to this? From writing social media posts to developing new services, everything you do is designed for them. If this is confuzzling your brain, I have a workbook that helps.
– A good idea of how you want to be seen and thought of
This is your ‘brand identity’ – eg I’m ‘approachable’ rather than ‘professional’ (which sounds a bit suited-and-booted). Think of how you’d like other people to describe your business and why it’s so great. There’s a workbook on this too, if your brain needs un-confuzzling about it.
– Testimonials/reviews from happy clients
This is your best sales tool – use stories from happy clients to get other clients! Of course you’re going to tell people your stuff is great – duh! But when other people say that, it seems more genuine because they don’t have anything to gain from it. Get into the habit of asking people for testimonials, and share them on your social media.
Er, you forgot a logo and a website!
Nope. Not essential.
Useful, yes. But don’t spend forever (and a fortune!) getting these done at this stage.
Unless you’re a graphic designer or a website developer, obv…
I’ve worked with all sorts of people and never once visited their website.
Building the audience for your business is all about building relationships with people – so show people your picture, not your logo.
If you feel you NEED to have certain things and you won’t be able to move forward until they’re in place, then go ahead and do them. But not because other people think you should.
If you’re frozen into inaction by feeling you need to have certain things and don’t know what to do for the best, give me a shout. I’ll help you work out the next step.
Keep it simple, get the basics right.
Then you can add on the bells and whistles that are right for you.
So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a bit but feel it’s still not ‘proper’, hopefully that’s reassuring.
What you need to start a business is having a thing you do, telling people about it, and getting paid for your thing.
Everything else is just ways of doing that better. And you’ll always be trying to do things better, right?