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SMART MOVES FOR THE SMARTER STARTUP 10 INSIDER INSIGHTS THAT WILL SAVE YOU TIME, MONEY & FRUSTRATIONS

1. Do This 10 Second Test Before You Register A Business Name

BEFORE YOU REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME - CHECK if the business name you are considering is available as a web domain and social media account usernames, so to create a consistent online presence.

It only takes 10 seconds but could SAVE you hours of annoyance down the track.

WHY? In most cases, you will want your business to have a home across most of the Social Media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linked In and Pinterest etc. Each of these require you create a “username” by which the account becomes known. For example - fb.me/yourusername. Best practice is to use the same username across channels, and for the username to be closely aligned to the business name.

THE BIG BUT! As social media accounts do not require the username to correspond with a registered business name in any way, it is increasingly difficult to find usernames that haven’t already been taken.

It is similar with website domain names or URLs - the www.youraddress.com.au. For a .com.au you are somewhat protected, as to register a .com.au domain requires an ABN and the chosen URL must closely match the business name or its offerings. This means, you are less likely to find it difficult securing your preferred domain. The same cannot be said of .com domains. They are available to anyone without any regulation.

BE WISE. Check the availability of your business name on social media and as a website URL before you register it.

This 10 seconds of research may help you decide between a couple of options or it may inspire you to tweak it a little so you can secure the preferred username across all channels.

DID YOU KNOW? Website domains are no longer restricted to the COMMON .com, .com.au, .org, .org.au! There is a growing range of different domain name extensions available that are specific to industry, business type, interest area or location.

2. Two Crucial Questions For Your Logo Designer – Before You Hire

Before you choose a graphic designer to create your logo - whether a local designer, an online service or outsourcing offshore, be aware of these 2 IMPORTANT FACTORS impacting many new business logo designs - especially the cheaper options. The 2 questions you must ask your designer are:

#1. WILL THEY PROVIDE THE LOGO AS A VECTOR GRAPHIC?

Ask the designer to supply your finished logo as a VECTOR GRAPHIC not just as a bitmap/jpeg graphic. If they don’t know what you mean here - then look somewhere else. A vector graphic is a special type of file that can be scaled to any size, without any loss of image quality. A bitmap/jpeg file cannot do this. It will pixelate and look fuzzy as it is enlarged. When you come to needing signage, embroidery or screen printing you will be in a tough spot without the EPS. This usually requires you to ask another designer to either convert or recreate the logo costing more $$.

Insist the designer supplies the logo as an EPS and PDF file (as well as the jpeg).

Both of these are typically vector file formats and the type needed by printers. Special software is needed to be able to open and view the EPS file, so do not be concerned if you get it but cannot open it. You will be able to open the PDF.

#2. WILL IT BE A CUSTOM DESIGN & NOT FROM STOCK GRAPHICS OFF THE INTERNET OR GOOGLE SEARCH?

So many logo creations today have not been designed with the individuality of your business in mind. Instead the logos are based on images found on stock sites or in Google Image Search. The cheaper design options are often created this way.

This can be a problem as, in many cases, it is illegal and could cause complications for you down the track - again costing your more $$ unnecessarily. If a stock site has been used to source the logo graphic the usage terms need to be checked to see if it can be used in a logo. If an image has been found on Google and retraced then that will be a copyright infringement. There is also the possibility of other businesses using the same design.

ASK YOUR LOGO DESIGNER IF THEY WILL PROVIDE A CUSTOM DESIGNED LOGO, UNIQUE TO YOUR BUSINESS, AND PROVIDE AS A VECTOR GRAPHIC.

3. Typical Marketing Tools That Will Set Your Business to Flight

Adopting the most suited marketing tools for your business will depend on what your business is and who your ideal customers are. The common order of marketing tools for most startup businesses are typically:

  1. The Logo Design
  2. Business Cards
  3. Flyers / Brochures
  4. A Website
THE TYPICAL TOOL SET INCLUDES Logo Design, Business Cards, Flyers/Brochures, Website

BUT, here are some other suggestions that might do a better job AND $AVE YOU MONEY!

The Not-So Typical Tools That Can Help Your Business Ignite!

EMAIL SIGNATURE

The email signature is the name and contact details that sits at the bottom of every email. It is potentially THE marketing tool that is most used, most seen BUT is most often overlooked and underused as a marketing tool. Include the logo, a photo (optional), contact details and a link to the best online resource to discover more about your business (Linked In, Facebook, Youtube video). You can also use it to drive people to a specific landing page or sales page.

The Email Signature would be the cheapest marketing tool to create and provide the most views with the highest potential for a return.

LANDING PAGE

A landing page is a single page, as opposed to a full website, that serves as an entry point for collecting email details by use of a form (enter name and email). Connect the landing page to an email marketing service like Mailchimp and you are on your way to building a list of contacts interested in your offer. Have something that you can give them for free (like an ebook or video that relates to your product or service) and you will have even better list building success.

Lead Capture on a Landing Page helps build a lead list

VIDEO

Video is marketing gold! It is so much easier to SAY what needs to be said than typing it out in long form. And it is so much easier to HEAR what is being said than reading long pieces of content. Plus with a video you can share it everywhere – on your Facebook page, website, landing page, Youtube, link to it from your signature. Express who you are and what your business is about quickly and easily. AND by seeing and hearing you, yes YOU, potential customers will be building a rapport and familiarity with you which can possibly lead into quicker business transactions.

Video on a Home Page helps increase conversions

4. Know The Ongoing Costs Hiding Behind Every Website

The time will come when a website is your focus. Remember though, websites are not a pay once and forget kind of deal. There are ongoing costs you need to budget for:

THE DOMAIN NAME

The www.yourbusiness.com.au is your DOMAIN NAME. It is a registration that requires ongoing renewal. .com.au domains renewals occur every 2 years. .com domains every 1 year. Some providers do give the option to increase the number of years to 5, 10 or more years.

WEBSITE HOSTING

If you have a stand alone website (eg Wordpress, Joomla, HTML) then there is a computer somewhere in the world storing your website files. Website hosting is effectively the rent of that space and the serving of the files to the public. It also is an ongoing cost for the life of the website whether paid monthly or yearly.

ONGOING MAINTENANCE AND UPDATES

A website built using a Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla and Wordpress require ongoing security updates and upgrades. It is imperative that your website stays up to date with the latest versions of its plugins, themes and software.

Your website developer may show you how to do it yourself. Great! But if that DIY idea sends shivers down your spine then you should also budget in someone to run website updates for you. Depending on the themes and plugins your website uses (forms, shopping carts etc) you may also need to pay for license renewals on these so to have the most recent versions running on your site.

5. Avoid The Common Email Fail Of Today!

The best way to manage your email from the gET GO

In the past, we had our desktop computer with an email program installed (like Outlook) and when you opened it, it would download your emails onto the computer. Now that we are using multiple devices (phone, tablet, laptop) to check our emails, our requirements have changed, so then our email setup also needs to change.

The main issues that can occur are:

  1. If email accounts and devices are not set up properly, when an email is downloaded, it is removed from the server, which means the email cannot be viewed on other devices.
  2. Or secondly, if your email accounts are with your web host provider and they have limits set to the amount of storage space you have, you can quickly run out of space when your emails are set to stay on the server. Those attachments add up over time. This becomes problematic down the track as you will run out of disk space and have to remove/delete emails.

two ways to better email MANAGEMENT are:

  1. If you are unsure, hire an IT specialist to set it all up for you, so everything is being downloaded, stored and deleted properly.
  2. Set up an email account through a cloud email service like Gmail or Office 365, and use them as your email platform. YES you can still use your domain emails (eg admin@yourdomain.com) with these services. If it is just you and 1-2 email accounts, then you might manage with Gmail’s FREE email service. If there is a team of you and multiple emails then you would be better to go to a paid service.
Business is better when emails work! It is still the primary communication tool for most businesses so establishing a solid foundation in the early days will save you headaches and heartbreaks down the line.

6. Overcome This Block For SKYROCKETING Success

Some of you will jump at this with glee, others will absolutely, positively no way, agree to do it without being pulled kicking and screaming. But TRUST ME (as I was once a kicker and screamer) it isn’t so bad on the other side, and it really does help boost things along - quickly.

A video. Of you. Talking, sharing, caring, informing, and demonstrating – whichever is the business task at hand.

Video tells the story quickly, easily and visually

A video simply gets your story, your idea, your reason for the business existing, across more easily, quickly, interestingly … than forcing us to read.

If you are the business, then it makes sense that YOU are the person on screen. Video can be used on your Facebook page, Instagram feed, Youtube channel, website, shared in emails… it’s just easier – for you and your customers.

If the business isn’t just you, then sure, swap yourself out for someone who is more willing.

When potential customers actually see who you are and hear your voice, they connect with you, your enthusiasm, your passion, your solution. A video can help create that familiarity and comfort with you that will nudge them along to making contact or initiating the purchase.

Video is the BOOMING marketing activity of the moment.

7. Make Capturing Their Email Address Your Top Priority

Email marketing might seem old fashioned to many today, compared to the vast array of marketing possibilities. But look at it this way… with all the different online marketing channels out there (Facebook, Websites, Youtube, Google Search etc) they all rely on your customer coming to you. Your potential customer has to think of you first and then get around to looking for you and hopefully finding you (and not a competitor).

Email Marketing, on the other hand, is one of the only ways YOU can approach them first and get them to be thinking about you. Plus they don’t have to hunt you down, there you are waiting for them in the inbox.

Email Marketing still works as an effective marketing communication tool

So collecting email addresses should be a top priority for every business during the startup phase. You can be collecting them before you even start trading. Tease them with pre-launch “What’s Coming Up” tasters, and allow them to give their email address to be the “first to know”.

8. Collect Photos. Snap Photos. Good Ones.

Photos matter. Good quality photos matter more.

Start collecting or start snapping. If your business is one where you transform something or someone from drab to fab then absolutely take before and after photos. Personal trainers, hair dressers, home renovators, landscapers, makeup artists, personal stylists, painters, furniture restorers, shop fitters … you know where I am going. START NOW. EVERY JOB.

Pictures tell a thousand words. Before and After pictures tell ten thousand words.

Even those businesses that don’t fall into the above categories… business to business service providers, shop owners, restaurateurs… nearly all online marketing involves photographs. Ideally they need to be visually interesting and appealing. If they don’t look good, then make them look funny.

While stock images are handy, it is better to have your own professional photo library

And if taking your own photos still isn’t an option then start collecting your own library of royalty free stock photos. Here is a list of a number of stock image websites, many of them FREE, download them and categorise them. As time passes, you WILL be needing them.

9. Do You Even Need A Website?

Don’t rush in. There are so many options for marketing your business online today. Once upon a time, you had to have a website to appear as a “legit” business. While there are still many reasons why a website can be an essential marketing tool it can depend on what your business is about and who your customer is, as to whether a website is a must have marketing tool early on in your startup.

When starting out - know your target market, where they hang out and how they use the internet. use that insight to determine the best online marketing tools you should adopt early on.

10. Step By Step Marketing Moves When Starting Out

THE 10 Steps to get YOUR STARTUP FLYING, once you have registered YOUR BUSINESS NAME...

  1. SOCIAL: Secure your preferred social media platforms with your business username (yes, even if you are not ready to start posting yet).
  2. LOGO: Move on the logo design.
  3. DOMAIN: Register the domain name (Australian companies will need the ABN or CAN to secure the .com.au)
  4. WEB/EMAIL HOSTING: Select a website or email hosting service and set up your email addresses. If you plan to have the website on your business cards, then get something up there even if it is just one page with your contact details for now. Now's a good time to create an email signature.
  5. BUSINESS CARDS: Design and print quality business cards. You will feel like a real, live business once they arrive.
  6. A FLYER/BROCHURE: Design and print a professional looking flyer, something you can hand out as you meet people.
  7. VIDEO: A video of you is the quickest, easiest way to spread the word.
  8. SOCIAL: It’s time to start posting (if you haven’t already done this). You have that video so get sharing it.
  9. WEBSITE OR LANDING PAGE: You NEED to be collecting email addresses. You can do this through your website OR a landing page - somewhere you can send people to download a taster of your awesomeness in exchange for their email address.
  10. EMAIL MARKETING ACCOUNT: You need somewhere to store the thousands of email addresses you are going to collect. Mailchimp is super quick and easy to learn and work in.

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Created By
Tanya Euler
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Credits:

Created with images by nattanan23 - "hand type keyboard" • geralt - "businesswoman social media media" • tookapic - "desk workspace pencil" • TeroVesalainen - "business card business card" • Gonmi - "Brochures" • Edho Pratama - "Design smartphone definition" • Aaron Escobar - "Email" • @NonprofitOrgs - "Gates Foundation Email Signature" • Jack Douglass - "ol’ mate nate" • Walkerssk - "kuala lumpur twins malaysia" • rawpixel - "cup drinks business" • Scott Webb - "untitled image" • Jordan McQueen - "untitled image" • Teemu Paananen - "Karri Saarinen presenting at Nordic Design" • Scott Webb - "World Gym workout" • NordWood Themes - "Waiting for a slow WiFi to load our new homepage" • Dmitri Popov - "untitled image"