How to Start Your Own Business
101 [Secret] Success Tips for Starting Your Own Business
Do you want to start a business, but you’re not quite sure how to get started?
Then you’re reading the right article.
Here you will discover 101 surefire tips for brainstorming business ideas, doing your market research, getting the funding you need, and getting the business off the ground.
Content Index:UNCOVER BUSINESS IDEAS
DO MARKET RESEARCH
BOOTSTRAP YOUR BUSINESS
CREATE A PLAN
THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR
BUILD A TEAM
FOCUS ON GROWTH
So without further ado, let’s jump in…
Your first step in starting up a business is to brainstorm possible business ideas. Here’s how to do it…
1. Look for gaps in markets.
Here are two types of gaps:
Underserved niches. For example, maybe you’re interested in selling to bodybuilders. Perhaps you’ll find that the “over 40” market has plenty of customers, but not many products.
Poor products. Another gap is if you discover a market where the products don’t quite seem to meet the market’s needs. So how do you even begin looking for gaps in markets? Here’s one idea…
2. Think about your own problems and hobbies.
Think about what bothers you in niches of which you are a member. Whether you are a gamer, a dieter, a golfer, a dog lover or anything else, you probably have your finger on the pulse of that niche. Ask yourself, what are the niche’s shortcomings? Is there an opportunity to start a new business in the niche?
3. Brainstorm your friends’ problems and hobbies.
Take some time to talk to your friends about the niches of which they are a member.
Ask them the same questions about the niche’s shortcomings, problems with the products in the niche, and what sort of solutions they’d like to see.
4. Pay attention to the news.
This includes local, national and world news, as well as political news, entertainment news, science news and more. You can get all of this news on one site, such as CNN or BBC. Simply paying attention to what’s going on will expose you to new ideas and business opportunities.
Simple example: perhaps you see a segment on your local news about owners of blind cats. That may give you an idea for selling supplies and information to these owners.
5. Read product reviews.
Go to Amazon.com and read product reviews in your prospective niches. This will give you an idea of what people in the niche want in specific products, and what the current solutions on the market are lacking.
TIP: Read product reviews with a grain of salt, as some vendors buy good reviews or bribe people to give good reviews. In other cases, shady competitors may try to drive down a product’s rating with bad reviews.
6. Look for niches with weak competitors.
Another opening to look for is any niche with weak competitors. This includes the weak products mentioned above, but it also includes competitors with good products who aren’t very good at reaching their market.
TIP: Instead of competing with these sorts of marketers, you might consider joining forces with them. They can create the products and you can market them.
7. Apply your skills to a new field.
Here’s an example: let’s suppose you’re a hospice nurse. You might take what you know and provide information and supplies for people who do hospice for pets.
8. Play the “I wish there was a ____” game.
How many times have you caught yourself wishing for some type of product? That’s a possible business idea. You can also go to Google and type in “I wish there was a” … and then see what sort of things others want.
9. Do an all-out brainstorm.
You may have more business ideas than you know. Set aside 30 minutes for a brain dump, where you list as many business ideas as possible. Don’t censor or edit your brainstorm as you go, as there are no right or wrong answers.
10. Survey a market.
Once you have a market in mind, survey them about what they need and what the market is lacking. You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey.com, and post your survey on niche forums and Facebook Groups. (With the permission of the owner, of course.)
Now that you have some market ideas, you need to research these ideas to see if they have potential. Check out these tips…
11. Check Google Trends.
Go to https://www.google.com/trends/ and enter keywords related to your niche (such as “organic gardening” or “car restoration”). This tool will show you if interest in the topic is increasing, decreasing or holding steady, plus you can even see where in the world this search tends to be most popular.
12. Search a Keyword tool.
Another option to determine interest in your idea is to use a took such as WordTracker.com or MarketSamurai.com. These tools will show you the exact words people are inputting into the search engines to find products and information in your niche. It’s a good way to get insight into what a market wants.
13. Do research using Google.
Another good way to check interest is to run a keyword search in Google. If there are plenty of websites competing for your niche’s top keywords, that’s a sign of a healthy market.
And here’s something else to do when you’re browsing Google…
14. See if marketers are buying ads.
As you search Google, check the sponsored ads alongside the organic search results. If marketers are paying to place ads, then it’s likely a profitable market.
Also, check if sites in your niche accept advertising (and if their advertising spots are full). Again, it’s a good sign if marketers in the niche are paying money to get in front of the market.
15. Find out what people are already buying.
The best predictor of what people will buy tomorrow is to look at what they’re already buying today. To that end, check out marketplaces such as iTunes, Amazon and Clickbank.com to uncover the best sellers in your niche. Then follow the old adage and “build a better mousetrap.”
16. Analyze the competition.
You can have the best product on the entire planet, but if you don’t market it well and differentiate it from the competitors’ offerings, you won’t get much traction. That’s why you need to analyze your competition to find the gaps and weaknesses in the market that you can exploit.
17. Estimate the market size.
It doesn’t do much good to create products for a market if there aren’t enough people to buy these products. That’s why you’ll want to get an idea of the market size.
Here are three ways:
- Use a keyword tool like MarketSamurai.com or WordTracker.com to find out how many times your niche keywords are searched for each month.
- Use Facebook’s ad platform to estimate your market size. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads/ad-targeting/.
- Research your audience in Google to see if any reputable sources have compiled statistics. E.G., “How many dog owners are there in the US?”
18. Check government data.
Governments around the world sometimes compile and share data. For example, if you’re wondering how many people have been diagnosed with an illness in the US, check out the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov.
TIP: Check out www.business.gov for general information from the United States government.
19. Get feedback from your market.
Another good way to get information is to get it straight from your market. Here are two ways to do it:
- Create and distribute a market research survey using www.surveymonkey.com.
- Set up a focus group to learn more about what your market wants.
20. Test your idea.
What you do here is put up a sales letter for a non-existent product just to see if you get any interest. A quick and easy way to determine interest is to see how many people click on the “order” button.
Note: the order button won’t lead to an order page. Instead, you’ll let prospects know the product isn’t ready yet, and then encourage them to join your list in order to be notified of when the product is released.
That way if you do create the product, then you’ll have a waiting audience ready to buy it.
21. Look offline.
Another good way to get an idea of whether there’s a market for something is by seeing if there are offline businesses catering to the market. This includes:
- Service providers.
- Stores selling supplies.
- Publications such as magazines.
If there’s a lot of competition both online and offline, that’s an indicator of a healthy market.
Now the next step…
Before you put up your “open for business” sign, be sure to get all the legalities in order. Here’s how…
22. Learn the applicable laws in your area.
For example, if you’re in the United States, check sites such as www.ftc.gov to learn more about advertising laws. You’ll also want to check with local government offices to find out which laws and regulations apply to your business.
23. Get licensing, if needed.
Certain types of businesses may require licensing, certification and/or insurance. Check your local laws as well as with related professional associations to see what you need to do to set up a business in your area.
24. Acquire legal documents.
The exact documents you need to put on your website depend on your business model.
25. Ask freelancers, business partners and others to sign contracts.
Have your attorney create contracts for the various business partnerships you expect to form.
This includes contracts for:
- Joint venture partners
…And anyone else with whom you expect to work.
26. Hire an attorney to review contracts.
If someone else is asking you to sign a contract, be sure to have an attorney review it before you sign it. If you’re not happy with the terms, negotiate the contract.
27. Know the basic tax laws.
Obviously, this varies depending on where you live, so check the appropriate local and national laws. If you’re in the United States, go to www.irs.gov as well as your state’s revenue department to learn more. For example, business owners in the US must pay quarterly estimated taxes.
28. Get an accountant or tax professional.
While you should familiarize yourself with the applicable tax laws, you don’t need to do all the paperwork yourself. Instead, you can hire a professional to do it for you. A good tax professional may find savings that you wouldn’t be able to uncover on your own.
29. Keep good records.
Whether you do taxes yourself or hire a professional, tax time will be easier if you keep good records. This includes:
- Printing off important receipts and other paperwork so that you can hand them to your attorney.
- Making bookkeeping entries on a daily basis as the transactions occur.
30. Retain your records.
Again, you’ll need to check with your relevant revenue department to see how long they suggest keeping your taxes, receipts and other records.
For example, in the US experts suggest holding onto business tax records for a minimum of six years.
31. Get a business bank account.
Separating your business finances from your personal finances will make it easier for you to do your taxes, plus it will also help if you ever get audited. It’s also simply more professional to have credit cards and checks under your business name.
32. Talk to an attorney about incorporating your business.
Incorporation can separate your personal assets from your business assets, which protects you. Talk to an attorney to find out if this is something you should do, and what type of incorporation model would be best suited to your business.
Most business models require some funding to get a website, hire people and do advertising. Whether you need a little funding or a lot, here are tips for getting the funding you need.
33. Save up.
Now is the time to draft a personal budget and cut back on household expenses to save money. For example, you might get rid of the $100 cable bill and get a $10 a month Netflix subscription instead.
34. Consider crowdfunding.
If you’ve got a great business idea that’s sure to ignite and inspire others, then look to crowdfunding as an option. Here are two popular crowdfunding sites:
Check out popular campaigns on these sites to get an idea of how to construct a successful campaign.
Generally, you’ll want to include a persuasive sales letter, a high-quality video and appealing rewards for those who contribute.
35. Look into crowdlending.
If you need to borrow money, then crowdlending is an option. This is where you get multiple small loans from several people (versus getting one big loan from a bank).
Check out www.prosper.com for more information.
36. Compare loan rates at financial institutions.
If you do borrow money from a commercial lender, shop around first to compare rates.
Be sure to check with your local bank and credit union, as they may give you lower rates if you’ve been a good customer.
37. Keep your job.
Many new business owners quit their jobs to start their business. However, if you keep your job then you’ll have more money to invest into your new business. Plus you’ll also have a safety net during those lean months as you build your business.
38. Do some moonlighting.
Another option to fund your business is to do some freelancing to get extra cash.
You can put your writing, programming, accounting, design and other skills to work on sites such as www.elance.com and www.upwork.com. You can also post on sites like CraigsList.org, especially if you offer local services such as yard work.
39. Sell unwanted stuff.
A good way to de-clutter the garage and house while raising money is to sell your unwanted stuff. You can post these items for free on CraigsList.org, or get a bigger audience on eBay.com. Another alternative is to hold a yard sale and advertise it locally.
40. Keep track of spending.
This applies to both your personal and business spending. Write down everything you spend money on for at least two weeks, including the small stuff such as the candy bar from the vending machine.
This will raise awareness about your spending habits, which you may find eye-opening. It will also train you to make better decisions so you can save money.
41. Skip the venture capitalist funding.
Many new business owners assume they should look to VC funding first. That’s a mistake, as venture capitalists will want a big return on their investment. Start with other funding sources first to raise the money you need without selling your soul.
42. Consider getting micro-loans from friends and family.
Think of this as crowdlending through friends and family. Instead of asking one person for a big loan, ask multiple people for smaller loans. This makes it more likely they’ll say yes. Be sure to draw up a written repayment agreement.
You can start a business on a shoestring budget. Check out these tips…
43. Create a budget.
The first step before you start spending money is to create a budget.
Figure out all your expenses, such as outsourcing, software, tools, product creation, advertising and so on, and determine how much money you’ll allocate to each of these categories.
This will help you stay on track so you don’t blow through your budget before you get everything you need.
44. Barter with others.
You don’t necessarily need money to get the services and tools you need.
Instead, you can exchange your products and services with others.
For example, if you can do copywriting, you might approach a web designer about exchanging their design skills for your copywriting skills.
TIP: You can post on the barter board on CraigsList.org, in Facebook groups that allow bartering in your area, and on business forums (where allowed). You can also approach individuals directly to propose bartering.
45. Look for free products.
Sometimes you can get high-quality products for free. For example, if you need to set up a blog, then you can use the well-known platform at www.wordpress.org.
Or if you need word processing software like MS Word, you can use Open Office instead, which is an open-source alternative.
46. Shop for sales on tools and other products.
You might check Groupon.com for deals on tools.
You can also search Google for the product name alongside a search term such as “coupon.” If you’re a savvy shopper and you have time to wait for a sale, you often don’t need to pay full price.
47. Negotiate prices.
In some cases, you may be able to save money by negotiating prices with vendors. This is particular true if you’re buying services or products in bulk.
For example, instead of ordering one blog post at time from a ghostwriter, order a few dozen posts and ask about a volume discount.
48. Reinvest profits back into your business.
You may be tempted to take all your profits and pay them to yourself to pay for your living expenses. However, your business will grow more quickly if you reinvest the profits back into your business. This frees up money for outsourcing, advertising and other expenses.
49. Focus on revenue-generating activities.
There are plenty of things to invest in when you’re starting a business, and unless you have very deep pockets you probably won’t be able to get everything you want.
As such, prioritize your start-up budget by focusing on what’s important: the revenue generating tools and services.
For example, if you have the choice between getting a fancy work desk or hiring a web designer, hire the designer. (You can make do with a second-hand desk that you pick up on CraigsList.org.)
50. Think big, but start small.
You may have big plans for your business, which is great. However, the key to starting a business on a shoestring budget is to start small and scale up.
Example, invest in small ad buys as your budget will allow, and then reinvest the profits.
Another example: can’t afford to hire someone to create an entire home-study course product?
Then hire someone to create one video or report for the course. You can then sell this one component separately to build your list. Then reinvest the profits to complete the course.
51. Focus on free advertising strategies.
There are plenty of powerful ad strategies that are free and/or don’t require an upfront cost.
Some of the best free strategies include:
- Guest blogging.
- Building an affiliate program. (You only pay affiliates when they make a sale, so you never have to pay upfront or out of pocket.)
- Social media marketing.
- Content marketing.
- Viral marketing.
- Search engine optimization.
Even the world’s biggest companies use these free methods to drive traffic, so don’t assume that free methods won’t work.
52. Enlist your friends.
You may be able to get low-cost or even free help from talented friends and family.
Close friends may be happy to work for a nice meal. ;)
Check to see who in your network has skills such as:
- Web design
- Video production
… And anything else that would be useful to your business.
53. Leverage other peoples’ assets.
Another free way to advertise your business is by doing joint ventures with others. example:
- Swap content with people in your niche.
- Create products with people in your niche.
- Do free lead-generating webinars with others.
- Recommend each others blogs, newsletters and social media pages.
Those are just a few examples of win-win joint ventures. It’s only limited to your imagination.
54. Be sure your partner’s skills complement yours.
Choose your business partners carefully. The idea is to choose a partner who has skills in areas where you lack.
For example, if you’re good with video production but not good with writing, then choose a partner who is a good writer.
A business without a plan is like a ship without a rudder: it’s aimless. Check out these tips…
55. Make both short and long-term goals.
Your plan should include where you want your business to be next month, next year and five years from now. You’ll also want to make an exit strategy, as your plan for leaving your business may affect how you build it today.
56. Do a SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You should examine the strengths and weaknesses of both you and your competitors. Generally, opportunities and threats are extraneous factors such as building goodwill in a community (an opportunity) or restrictive government regulations (threats). Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis, you’ll have a better understanding of your market.
57. Figure out how to reach your market.
As you’re developing your business plan, you need to figure out IF you can reach your market. If you know you can reach it, then develop a detailed “multi-channel” plan for getting as much market share as possible. Be sure to estimate the costs of reaching your market so you don’t how much to budget for marketing and advertising.
58. Develop a sales funnel.
You won’t get rich selling just one product or service. That’s why you need to develop a sales funnel of offers at different price points.
For example, let’s suppose you’re selling weight loss information. You might stock your sales funnel with these sorts of product:
- A free report to bring people into the funnel.
- A variety of low-cost reports or videos on a variety of topics such as cardio, strength training, nutrition, supplements, motivation and so on.
- Mid-range priced products ($50-$99), such as a video set that show how to prepare meals, do exercises, etc.
- A monthly membership site that provides information and support.
- High-ticket coaching/consulting to help people develop customized meal and training plans.
- Physical products such as whey protein, pre-packaged meals and exercise
That’s not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea of how to build a sales funnel.
59. Anticipate problems (and solutions).
The idea here is to “expect the unexpected,” and then create a plan in case these problems occur.
Ask yourself questions like this:
- What will I do if my main advertising venue isn’t available any longer?
- How will I distinguish myself from my competitors in the marketplace?
Also, remember this…
60. Understand that things may not always go according to plan.
Even the best-laid plans may not take you where you want to go. Worse yet, you may not even be able to pinpoint the problem.
For example, maybe a product launch fails, but you can’t tell if the market doesn’t want the product, if the sales copy stinks, or if some other factor affected sales.
You need to be flexible and roll with the punches at times like these.
Which brings us to the next category…
Sometimes what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the others is simply in the way they think.
Check out these tips for thinking like a successful entrepreneur…
61. Be willing to take calculated risks.
An entrepreneur needs to be able to take risks (and deal with the consequences if it doesn’t work out). However, a good entrepreneur will do their market research and perform testing so they’re taking calculated risks.
62. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
There’s a good chance you’ll feel fear. It could be fear of success, fear of failure or fear of change. You need to recognize your fear when it rises up as procrastination, perfectionism, or even just spending all your time focusing on the wrong things. Then make a plan and take action, even if fear is trying to stop you.
63. Be persistent.
Things aren’t always going to be smooth sailing. Recognize that, and surge forward anyway. The most successful people in the world got where they are not by quitting, but by being persistent.
64. Outsource and delegate.
While it is possible to build certain businesses yourself, you’ll grow your business if you outsource and delegate other tasks to others. You can start by posting projects on freelancing sites like UpWork.com and Elance.com.
65. Think like a boss, not an employee.
As an employee, you just do what you’re told. Now that you’re the boss, you need to make all the decisions, you need to stay focused, you need to manage your team, and you need to take responsibility when things don’t turn out as planned.
66. Believe in your ideas.
You need to believe in yourself, because you may not always have a lot of support from outside sources. Believing in yourself gives you the confidence to make the hard decisions and keep moving forward no matter what happens.
67. Avoid the naysayers.
Sometimes other people not only don’t believe your ideas will work, they tell you in a rather unpleasant way. You need to avoid these negative people whenever possible. If it’s not possible to avoid them, then at the very least you shouldn’t share your dreams or plans with naysayers.
TIP: Naysayers are just negative people. On the other hand, positive people will encourage you while giving you constructive criticisms and feedback.
68. View failures and disappointments as lessons.
Some people don’t take responsibility for failures. Instead, they look for some outside person or other factor to blame. Successful people not only take responsibility for failures, they learn from these mistakes. That way they can do better next time and enjoy the sweet taste of success.
69. Commit to learning new things.
Successful people never stop endeavoring to learn something new. As a new business owner, there are plenty of things for you to learn too, such as:
- Copywriting and persuasion
- Sales funnels
- Product creation
And so much more. Set time aside every week to learn about the topics which will help you grow your business.
70. Set time aside to recharge your batteries.
A lot of new business owners are so excited about their business that they work virtually around the clock for months of a time. That’s a recipe for burnout.
Be sure to take breaks, such as at least one day off per week.
You’ll also want to schedule long weekends away from work. You’ll come back from these mini-vacations recharged and more creative than ever.
71. Stay focused.
Do whatever it is you need to do to stay on track with building your business. This may include:
- Using productive tools, like apps that don’t allow you to play games or check Facebook while you’re working.
- Creating to-do lists to keep you on track.
- Getting an accountability partner to help you stay focused.
Sometimes just writing down your goals is enough. Experiment with different productivity strategies to see what works for you.
72. Surround yourself with successful people.
It’s great to surround yourself with those who are doing what you want to do because they can help and encourage you.
However, it’s good to surround yourself with other types of successful people too, as it’s easier to achieve when high levels of success is the norm among your circle of friends.
Which brings us to the next point…
It’s exceedingly hard to be a lone wolf in business, which is why you’ll want to check out these tips for building a team…
73. Get a mentor.
Read the biographies of successful people, and you’ll see that many of them had mentors.
You don’t have to do this alone. Find a successful person in your city and ask them out for lunch in exchange for picking their brain a bit about business topics.
TIP: Here’s a good place to start when looking for business mentors: https://www.score.org/.
74. Start a mastermind group.
Instead of having just one person as a mentor, you can put together a group of successful people to form a mastermind group.
Generally, this works best if the group is small, such as around five or six members. You can schedule weekly phone conferences, chat on a private message board, and/or get together if you live in the
TIP: Handpick your mastermind by inviting successful people you know and admire to join the group.
75. Join offline meet-ups.
Another way to network, brainstorm and mastermind with local business owners is to see if there are local groups on www.meetup.com. Search for “business owners,” “entrepreneurs” and similar search terms.
You might also search for your specific industry.
TIP: If you don’t find a group in your area, you can start one on the site.
76. Consider getting a business partner.
You are probably familiar with the “silent partner” who mainly invests cash in the business.
What we’re talking about here is someone who helps you with the day-to-day decisions and task load. If you do get a business partner, be sure it’s someone whose talents and skills complement yours.
77. Build a team of freelancers and/or employees.
You can build your business yourself, but it will likely take a long time. The other option is to choose the fast track by outsourcing tasks to professionals. Some tasks you might way to consider outsourcing include:
- Video production
- Writing blog posts
- Web design and maintenance
- Graphics work
- Search engine optimization
- Affiliate program management
- Customer service
You can outsource most anything. The key is to outsource the “low value” tasks, which frees your time to focus on the high-value tasks (such as recruiting joint venture partners).
78. Do your due diligence.
Before you hire an employee or freelancer or get a business partner, be sure to do your due diligence.
This means running the person’s name, business name and other details through Google.
Whenever applicable, ask for references (and follow up on them).
You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and hassle down the road if you weed out bad business partners or poor employees upfront.
79. Ask colleagues for freelancer referrals.
If you’re looking for a specific type of freelancer, then ask your mastermind group, offline business group and other colleagues for referrals.
If you get a good referral from someone you know and trust, it helps cut down (but not eliminate!) the time you need to spend doing your due diligence.
80. Reward and motivate your team.
While your employees and freelancers are working for you because you pay them to, they’ll keep working for you if you provide a good working environment for them.
This means offering plenty of praise when it is deserved. You might also send surprise rewards such as a financial bonus or a gift card for a job well done.
81. Make it easy for your team to work together.
The key to creating a well-oiled team is to give them a place to work together on projects.
That way, you don’t need to be the “go between” between your various team members. If your graphics person has questions for your web designer, they can ask each other directly rather than going through you.
A good platform for putting people together is Slack.com, which is a bit like Skype except it’s designed specifically to make it easier for teams to work together.
82. Network online.
You can find joint venture partners, business partners, mentors and more by networking online.
Simply search for business-oriented forums and groups using Google.
- Business forum
- Small business forum
- Business owner’s forum
- Entrepreneur forum
- Marketing forum
You can also search Facebook using similar search terms (e.g., business and entrepreneur) to uncover business groups.
83. Network offline.
We’ve already talked about offline meet-ups, which are a good place to meet like-minded people.
However, search for other clubs and organizations where business owners gather. For example, if you live in the United States you might join the Chamber of Commerce, which holds regular local meetings.
84. Help people before you ask for help.
When you start networking, especially if you’re looking for joint venture partners, don’t just jump right in and start proposing joint venture deals.
People do business with those they know, like and trust – so build a relationship first to give them an opportunity to know, like and trust you. Then help them first before you ask for help in your business.
Now let’s take a look at the next category…
Once you get your business off the ground, then you need to focus on growing it.
Check out these tips…
85. Manage your money wisely.
There will be times that money comes in fast and furiously, but don’t spend it just because you have it. You need to save and reinvest, as there likely will be drought periods during your business start-up phase.
86. Look for ways to improve your ROI.
This includes getting a better return on your investments of both time and money. For example, testing and tracking your ad campaigns will get you a better ROI on your advertising dollar.
87. Create systems.
A good way to boost the ROI on your work time as well as your freelancer’s or employee’s time is to create efficient systems for doing common tasks.
Talk to others who complete these same tasks and ask them for efficiency tips.
Then create a system and write it down so that everyone on your team completes the task in the most efficient way.
For example, if you ship online orders, then you’d create a system for fulfilling, packing and tracking these orders seamlessly.
88. Build your brand.
If you create a strong brand and focus on a brand-recognition strategy, your brand can become one of your most profitable assets.
Think of it this way: would you buy a McDonald’s franchise if you weren’t able to use their name and branding?
That’s because it’s the name brand that makes the franchise such a good business opportunity.
89. Nurture relationships.
People do business with those they know, like and trust, which is why you need to nurture all your business relationships.
This includes relationships with your prospects, customers, affiliates, joint venture partners and outsourcing team.
Be sure to drop regular emails to all of these folks to help build the relationship.
90. Understand that your reputation is a key asset.
Sometimes you’re going to come across some business opportunities that could put a lot of money in your pocket, but they might downgrade your reputation in the marketplace.
An example is promoting an affiliate product that’s nothing more than snake oil, yet the marketing materials are so slick that you’re sure to make a lot of money.
Don’t do it. You might make a few extra dollars today, but the hit to your reputation will destroy your long term profits. Protect your future by protecting your reputation.
91. Use a multi-channel marketing approach.
The way to reach deep into your market is by using a multi-channel approach, which means you use a variety of advertising strategies to reach your prospects.
For example, don’t just communicate with your prospects and customers over email.
You should also post important announcements to your blog and across your social media platforms.
92. Keep track of what your competitors are doing.
Sometimes business owners get a little complacent when they start doing well.
That’s a mistake, one that can cost you dearly. (Just look at companies that used to dominate their markets, like MySpace.com.)
That’s why you need to keep track of what your competitors are doing, so that you proactively take steps to defend your market share.
93. Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry.
Subscribe to industry news blogs and newsletters, watch the related world news for events related to your industry and check out academic articles to see what’s new in your field.
This will keep you ahead of the curve in case you need to adjust your strategy or create new products based on new information.
TIP: You can find academic news and articles at https://scholar.google.com/.
94. Don’t put your eggs all in one basket.
Diversify your product suite (sales funnel) and marketing strategies in order to protect yourself.
For example, if one of your most effective ad venues disappears, you’ll bounce back quickly if you’ve already diversified your ad strategy.
95. Focus on customer retention.
The easiest sale you’ll ever make is to an existing satisfied customer, which is why you’ll want to focus on customer retentions.
- Creating a customer loyalty program. (E.G., Buy ten, get one free.)
- Building a customer mailing list so you can stay in touch, build a relationship and offer additional products on the backend.
- Sending out special offers to your customers that aren’t available anywhere else.
You may also ask your customers to give you feedback about how you can better serve them and meet their needs.
96. Think outside the typical marketing and advertising box.
You’ve probably read plenty of guides to help you advertise and market your business.
Once you read all those guides and start putting the strategies to work, then it’s time to think outside the box.
Go ahead and experiment to find new ways to reach your market.
Here’s an example: the Blendtec videos on YouTube, which you can see at https://www.youtube.com/user/Blendtec.
Blendtec asks a simple question, “Will it blend?” Then they put a variety of unusual objects into their blenders such as iPhones, markers, balls and so on.
These videos have gone viral and certainly helped build Blendtec’s brand and reputation for a strong blender.
97. Build your business every day.
Most successful business owners didn’t build their businesses with big leaps and bounds. Instead, they built thriving businesses by taking small, consistent steps every day.
For example, do something to reach your market every day, such as publish a blog post, share something on social media, or find a new advertising opportunity.
98. Reach the mobile market.
The mobile market is getting set to eclipse the number of people who use fixed-internet (such as a desktop) to get online. That’s why you need to reach this market using these tips:
- Ensure your website has a responsive, mobile-friendly design.
- Consider using mobile apps to engage your market.
- Offer a lead magnet in exchange for a cell phone number so you can send text messages.
99. Create dialogues, not monologues.
Email newsletters are a great way to reach your market, but they shouldn’t be your only conversation tool.
That’s because today’s markets want to engage with you.
As such, be sure you’re using social media (like Facebook and Twitter) to talk to your market, as well as opening your blog to comments.
100. Provide top-shelf customer service.
Sometimes all that separates a successful business from one that’s struggling is the quality of customer service.
Your customers are one of your biggest assets, so treat them right by providing outstanding service.
This includes responding fast (within one business day) and always looking for ways to make the customer feel good about any transaction.
101. Blow your own horn (because no one else will).
It would be awesome if others would be as excited about your business as you are, but that doesn’t tend to be the reality.
That means you need to blow your own horn and tell prospects why they should choose your products over others.
Don’t be afraid to sell. If you start thinking about it as helping your customers solve their problems, you’ll feel a lot better about promoting your solutions whenever you get the chance.
So there you have it – you just discovered 101 tips for starting and growing your business.
We covered all the bases, from brainstorming ideas to market research to funding to marketing and a whole lot more.
So now there’s just one tip left: take action starting right now! Because the sooner you put these tips to work for you, the sooner you too will have a thriving, successful business.
Also, check out this article on 5 Super Practical Tips to Increase Facebook Engagement – If you are into Instagram check this one: 4 Tips On Promoting Business on Instagram and if you are using PPC online via Google Adwords PPC advertising then you must read this Top 5 Expert Money-Saving AdWords Tips. Good luck!