Starting and running a business takes planning and a strategy, but it also helps to know what tips might help. These are tips that other businesses have found successful and can apply to any business when tweaked to fit. The planning includes several phases to ensure the business gets off the ground and not only runs smoothly but makes the profit necessary to keep it afloat. Every business has overhead, employees, taxes, payroll and supplies. These need to be considered when planning a strategy if the business is going to be successful.
The Planning Stage
The planning stage whether it is a new business or an existing business that is not profiting.
- Targets: The first thing that should be done is determining who the business is targeting, what type of customers will require the service or goods the company will offer. This is important to decide before planning any further since this will be the target audience for marketing and advertising. Once this is determined the rest of the strategy will fall into place and make the company goals possible.
- Services or Products: Making a list of all of the services or products the company will offer is the
next step. Then it is essential to decide how customers will find these services or products and that includes marketing.
Marketing is vital since without it customers will not know the services or products are being offered by the company. The most common way to market today is on the Internet with a company website, blog and social media. The one consideration will need to be cybersecurity if the company is going to allow customers to use their website to visit the website, order items or services from the site and so the website is not hijacked by hackers. This is where Stickman can help since it is their main focus to ensure cybersecurity with a variety of services.
Create a list of goals for the company, without having set goals the business can become stagnant instead of continued growth. These goals can have a core value of the company and work upward from that such as quality. Any business must have quality services or products to grow the customer base and as the business grows the quality must continue in its original form instead of becoming lax in this core value. This includes ensuring that any employees understand this goal.
Another goal to strive toward in the business strategy is to promote the brand, whether it is services or products. Getting the brand known is part of target marketing to bring in customers and grow a loyal customer base. This part of the strategy can be one in a list or outline form that can be marked off as it is achieved.
Strategy in business is crucial for it to succeed and part of this strategy is to research competitors. If the business is not unique there are other companies offering the same goods or services and they will be the company’s direct competition. It is important to look at their business model, pricing, goods offered, target audience, marketing, and advertising. It is not to copy what they are doing, but like in chess, it is wise to know the opponent. If another direct competitor is offering goods or services at a lower price and is established with a large customer base this needs to be taken into consideration when planning a strategy. Even with the same pricing the marketing and advertising must reach enough customers.
Every company has a budget and strategy in the marketing and advertising planning this is when corners might be cut. If there is extra profit it can be put into this part of the business plan. The worst place to cut corners to meet a budget is for the goods or services part of the company. These must be top quality and if it is services being offered while they may not be an actual cost any employees hired to offer the services are an expense. This will need to be the main consideration in the budget for the company. The budget is basically cut into sections:
- Services or goods
- Advertising and marketing
- Unplanned expenses
The financial plan for the business must be adhered to until the company reaches a point where even unplanned events will not throw the entire budget off for the amount of time the budget is set for, whether it is by the week, month or quarter.
Advertising is the main way to reach customers and once a customer base is built reviews of the company will help to reach even more customers. Since more people are searching products or services before they use them with online reviews even more than a personal reference. Some data shows that 97 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 85 percent of people depend on Internet reviews about the same as they do family or friends recommendations.
There are many ways on the Internet to advertise or market the brand including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Facebook: Facebook is where a business can reach an extreme number of people if done properly since advertisements can be run and the company can have a Facebook page for customers to visit. They can add it to their page so not only with one click can they visit the company page. But it will also show up in their newsfeed where their Facebook friends will see the company’s posts.
- Twitter: Twitter is where only a certain number of characters can be used in one post so it must count. But images can be added to the post and a hashtag. Hashtags are popular with people that use Twitter as a way to spread posts they find interesting, which will also promote the company by people that have either used the company’s services or bought items. Though it can also be spread on Twitter by people that are potential customers and seen by even more potential customers because a picture or hashtag entices other people posting.
- YouTube: YouTube is where a company advertisement can be seen by people searching YouTube for services, products or a number of other things. The more interesting the video or if it is helpful the more views it will get by potential customers.
Having the right business plan and strategy can provide the tools needed to grow the company and keep it within the set budget.