So you want to start your own small business... or perhaps you already have and just need some guidance to keep going and grow it? Here are some tips that keep me motivated and help me grow my business.
Tip #1: Find a niche
In order to create your customer avatar, you first need a niche. The narrower your niche, the easier it will be for you to market your product! Having a niche will help you create a brand story and find your customer base. Make sure that your product is solving a problem for your client. For example, if your niche is "products for small business owners", you can be selling a phone tripod that is more convenient for filming videos for Tik Tok and Instagram reels (for example it rotates more and you're able to film yourself and your desk with equal ease).
Tip #2: Research, research, research
Make sure you study every possible way of creating or acquiring your product. It's better to spend many hours on research and some money on samples, than to spend endless hours fixing your mistakes or thousands of dollars on defective products. I made two main mistakes when I started - I decided to create my own product, not realizing how complicated a process it is. The second mistake I made was not testing my production process enough. I ended up ruining 10 hoodies because I mixed two incompatible heat transfer techniques.
Tip #3: Prioritize
You need to decide what is worthy of your time and what isn't. Do you have many hours that you can spend on production or would that time be better spent on marketing, research and actually running your business? As a small business owner, you will wear many hats - marketer, product researcher, photographer, social media manager, oftentimes model, accountant, IT specialist and of course CEO. If you're able to delegate anything, do it.
Tip #4: Build your customer avatar
You need to know who you're selling to in order to start marketing. How old is your ideal client? Where do they work? What is their gender? What is their family status (do they have children, siblings, parents)? What are their favourite pass-times? What events do they attend? What do they read? What is their daily routine? What do they want?
Tip #4: Optimize your website
Your website is one of the most important aspects of your business! Add apps / plug-ins and use it to tell your story. Collect and share customer reviews, describe your products and emphasize your strengths and selling points (from great product quality to stand-out packaging). Make sure your website is clean and easy to use. Research what language to use for your buttons to encourage customers to check-out (for example using "proceed to shipping" instead of "checkout now").
Tip #5: Add a personal touch
The beauty of small businesses is that a customer feels valued and appreciated. Emphasize that! Put extra thought into your packaging. No need to include freebies if it doesn't fit your budget, but it certainly helps! Definitely include a hand-written note to show your gratitude (even if the note itself is typed, you can at least write out your customer's name).
Tip #6: Love your business and your product
Make sure that you love your product because if you're not proud of it / passionate about it, people will know and it won't sell!
Tip #7: Don't quit!
Most start-ups fail because many entrepreneurs quit if the results aren't what they expected or . They don't follow through with their plans and their ideas are forgotten until someone else picks them up.