You have developed your product or service, and now it’s time to launch your business.
You’ll need to plan your first month carefully, as the initial decisions you make can determine whether you’ll thrive or fail. Use this week-by-week template to tackle the tasks necessary for completing an epic launch.
Begin by focusing on the building blocks of your business.
Verify your business’s name
After some back and forth, you’ve finally come up with the perfect company name—but you may not be alone in the idea. So if you haven’t already, search the US Patent and Trademark online database to ensure that the name you’ve chosen for your company isn’t already trademarked. Even if it hasn’t been, you should still make sure that the website URL and social media handles you intend to use for it are available. After all, you’ll want those to match your name as closely as possible to make it easy for customers to find you online.
Establish your brand
Your brand is your identity and the core of your business, so it’s essential that you focus on building it from day one. Put your values and what you do best front and center in all your marketing and interactions with potential customers. For instance, Paula Anderson, co-owner of New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Providence, Rhode Island, created her business to be “all about connection and educating about coffee in an easily digestible way.” She’s worked to cement her brand identity as a quality coffee provider by teaching others how to make and recognize a tasty brew. Similarly, you should identify the core values of your business and make them the foundation of everything you do from this point forward.
Investigate your market to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Study your craft
Successful entrepreneurs are always striving to learn more and apply that new information to their business. Get to know your market, pinpointing anything that could impact you or your clients. There are several ways you could do this: look at some of the most successful companies in your field and identify what they do best, find a mentor or hire a professional coach, peruse inspiring or motivating reads about the industry, or listen to an instructive podcast. For example, if you are a sales or marketing professional, subscribing to a podcast like Stay Paid could give you access to valuable inside tips and advice from industry professionals that can help you develop the skills you’ll need to grow your business.
Develop a framework for conducting your business and creating an online identity.
Assemble your tools
You’ll need a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to store and manage the information you’ve gathered about your prospective clients. There are many CRMs available, such as Agile, Zoho, and HubSpot, so pick one that’s easy to navigate, can produce custom reports, has live customer support, is affordable, and can grow with your business. Also consider using non-CRM tools, such as Notion for team collaboration, QuickBooks for finances, Microsoft 365 for productivity, Trello for project management, and Zoom for videoconferencing.
Develop your online presence
Given that most consumers rely on the internet to make purchase decisions and evaluate local businesses, developing an effective online strategy will be key to growing yours. Your website should be attractive, easy to navigate, and reflect your branding. Consider hiring a website designer to make sure it looks its best; you could even ask for designer referrals from businesses like yours. You’ll also want to be active on at least one social media platform, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter. Use a tool like Hootsuite to help you schedule posts and keep your profile regularly updated with new content.
Construct your CRM and seek new clients.
Build your list
Begin filling your CRM with phone numbers, email addresses, links to social media accounts, and other useful information about your contacts. A good place to start is with your sphere of influence, which includes 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 both her career and her personal life. “I knew investors and company founders 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 explains. “They are a source of comfort and information for me.”
Use the contacts and information you’ve entered in your CRM to find clients, and search for new ones daily. Prospecting can be hard, but it reaps results. Start by letting those in your sphere know you’re in business; ask if they can use your product or service or if they can refer you to someone who can. Cold-calling is a time-honored prospecting tool, but there are plenty of other options too. For example, you could network at sales conferences or community events, find customer leads through Facebook or other social media, distribute your business card to both new and old contacts, reach out to potential clients via email marketing, and get the word out through radio and TV ads. You can also create landing pages on your website that invite visitors to sign up for emails such as new product offerings and newsletters. Try a variety of these methods to find new clients and determine which ones work best for you.
Start building your business profile on your favorite social media platform today.