Your initial month as an entrepreneur can make or break you. Try these tactics to get off to a good start.
You have developed your product or service, and now it’s time to get your business in motion. Just as a runner can enhance or ruin their chances of winning as soon as they dart out of the blocks, your first decisions can affect whether your entrepreneurial enterprise will thrive or fail. Use this week-by-week template to tackle some of the tasks you’ll need to complete for an epic launch.
Begin by focusing on the building blocks of your business.
Establish your brand
Your brand is your identity and the core of your business, so focus on building your brand from day one. You will want to put your values and what you do best front and center in every interaction you have with potential clients and customers. For instance, Paula Anderson is a coffee aficionado who co-owns New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Providence, Rhode Island. Her business is “all about connection and educating about coffee in an easily digestible way.” So from day one, her focus has been on creating a community of coffee fans and teaching her customers everything about brewing and enjoying a quality cup of coffee. By teaching others how to make and recognize a tasty brew, she’s hoping to cement her brand identity as a quality coffee provider. Discover the core values that make your business tick, and make them the foundation of everything you do from this point forward.
Study your craft
Successful entrepreneurs are always striving to learn more and apply the information they acquire to their businesses. Get to know your market, and work to identify anything that could impact you and your clients. For example, if your field is commercial real estate, find some of the most successful commercial brokerages in your territory and pinpoint what they do best. Try to find an experienced person in your field who can mentor you, or hire a professional coach. Take time every day to read something inspiring or motivating or listen to an instructive podcast. For example, if you are a sales or marketing professional, you could subscribe to the Stay Paid podcast, hosted by ReminderMedia’s Luke Acree and Josh Stike, to grow the skills you’ll need.
Assemble your tools
You will need a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to store and manage the information you’ll gather about prospective clients. There are many good CRMs, such as Agile, Zoho, and HubSpot, so pick one that is easy to navigate, can produce custom reports, has live customer support, can grow with your business, and is affordable. Also consider using non-CRM tools, such as Notion for group projects, QuickBooks for finances, Microsoft 365 for productivity software, Trello for project management, and Zoom for video conferencing to make your business even more productive.
Develop your online presence
Developing an effective online strategy will be key to growing your business. Consumers use the Internet to make purchase decisions and evaluate local businesses. You’ll need an attractive and easy-to-navigate website and active social media profiles. You will get a better-looking website if you hire a website designer. Ask for designer referrals and how much you should pay for their services from businesses like yours. Get on at least one social media platform, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Instagram. Use a tool like Hootsuite to help you schedule social media posts and keep your profile regularly updated with new content.
Use the last few days of the month to start building your CRM and seeking new clients.
Build your list
Start filling your CRM with phone numbers, email addresses, links to social media accounts, and other useful data about your contacts. Good information to add from the start is that from your sphere of influence, such as your colleagues, family, and friends. For example, when Myoung Kang, an entrepreneur and interim CFO in California’s Silicon Valley, started consulting, she reached out to individuals from her career and personal life. “I knew investors and founders of companies who could either hire me or refer me,” she says. She also contacted friends. “Now, some of them use my clients’ products and actively support my career,” she says. “They are a source of comfort and information for me.”
Use the contacts and information you’ve entered in your CRM to start looking for clients, and make it a point to search for new ones daily. Prospecting can be hard, but it reaps results. Start by letting those in your sphere know you are in business. Ask them if they can use your product or service or if they can refer you to anybody who can. Cold calling is a time-honored prospecting tool, but there are plenty of other options too. Try several methods to find new clients, and determine which ones work best for you. For example, you could network at sales conferences or community events, find customer leads through Facebook or other social media, distribute your business card, reach out to potential clients via email marketing, and get the word out through radio and TV ads.
TAKE ACTION: If your business isn’t on social media, start building your business profile on your favorite platform today.