15 Tips for Your Start-Up

January 11th, 2021 | Posted in How To Start, Uncategorized

A lot of people walked into new year with a big dream– to start a company doing what they love.

I’m here to tell you it’s absolutely possible. And I’m here to tell you it’s not scary. In fact, I only wish I’d started sooner.

In 2005, I got together with some friends, put $72 on my debit card, and started up my first company. We had no idea what we were doing. But we learned quick, grew quick, and in 2008 we sold that first company.

Flash forward to 2011. I joined up with another friend to jump in as a partner on another start-up. And while we always wish we were doing a little bit better– what entrepreneur doesn’t– we’re doing great.

I don’t have a business degree. I don’t really want one.

As I learned in Good Will Hunting:

See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a f***in’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!

With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips for those thinking of taking the plunge, I’ll save you the buck fifty at the public library.

15 Tips for Start-Ups

  1. Follow your passion– the money will follow. A lot of people are passionate about making money. But the simple reality is that money will follow what you’re passionate about. You don’t stay up late dreaming about working for the man, do you? If this is a dream worth chasing, it better come from a place of passion.
  2. Don’t worry about having the biggest or best idea, worry about delivering quality. Over and over again people have beat me to the market with their better financed ideas, bigger brand name, or deeper marketing budget. But I win out in the long run for two primary reasons: quality of productand quality of business model.
  3. Google Everything. Really, everything you could ever need to know about starting a business is available online for free. “How do I…” is something I Google a lot. Read a few articles, follow a few links, there’s tons of free and fantastic advice out there already.
  4. Ask the government for help. In both Michigan and California, where I’ve been involved in start-ups, I’ve found people working at the city and state levels to be extraordinarily helpful with questions If I can’t find the answers to by Googling stuff, I ask an expert. Think about it like this… it’s in the best interest of your state for you to start a business so they really want to help you. Politicians LOVE to talk about job growth and business start-ups– so you aren’t bothering them to ask your questions. In fact, most states have an Economic Development department just for this purpose. Ask them lots and lots of questions. They will help you! And even if you’re doing it wrong I’ve found that they’ll help you get it straightened out before you’ve got a big problem.
  5. Don’t hire a lawyer. There are things down the road which you might need a lawyer for. But most start-ups really don’t need to go through the hassle. In a lot of states, you can file all the necessary paperwork yourself. I’ve found LegalZoom to be a great resource for things that do require an attorney. When we started up and eventually sold our first business in Michigan I never hired a lawyer. (Though I did ask advice of a friend who was an attorney.)
  6. Pick a business structure as soon as possible. Sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, non-profit… the list goes on and on. It all starts with a simple question: “Who owns this thing?” I don’t care which one you pick, just pick one.
  7. Get right with the state and federal government right away. Get an EIN. And don’t you dare pay someone to do this for you. You can do it online. It’s free and takes 5 minutes. You’ll need that EIN for about 100 other things… get it.
  8. Separate your money. Don’t ever use your personal accounts for business. Even if you’re a sole proprietorship and all the money is ultimately yours anyway, it’ll help you to not get emotionally attached to or get tempted to start using that money for personal business.
  9. Don’t quit your job. I’m of the opinion that you should keep your “side business” on the side of your main job for as long as possible. Heck, if you could keep doing whatever you’re doing right now and make 50% more money on the side forever… do it.
  10. Don’t pay yourself until you absolutely have to. This is so simple but so many people mess it up. The more you can re-invest in your business out of your profits before you have to pay yourself, the better. Buy equipment, buy more product to sell, invest in marketing, invest in employees, or just stock pile profits for a rainy day. Everything but that last option is good for your taxes while helping you build your business. Always take free money.
  11. Jump when you get to about 200% of your monthly income needs. The scariest part in starting up is needing to make money to feed your family. My advice? Put off jumping, if you can, until you have the first 2 months of income in your business bank account. (On top of your personal savings.) I’ve found that if you don’t jump off when you have the money… your little start-up will sputter along but never take off. But if you do jump off the cliff and need it to work… you’ll put in that much more effort. Just give yourself a couple months buffer if you can. (I keep at least 2 months reserve income in a business savings account at all times. Took me a while to get there, but it’s a HUGE confidence boost and allows us to take some risks without worrying about going homeless.)
  12. Take accounting seriously from day one. I kind of suck at my own personal finances. For instance, I balance my checkbook annually when I do my tax return. But I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t do that with your business. I’d suggest setting up basic accounting from day one using a Google Spreadsheet (super basic) or something like Freshbooks. (a little more complex) I actually track one of my business accounts with a personal edition of Mint. I’d highly suggest doing it all online.
  13. Anywhere you can automate, do it. I eliminate tons and tons of paperwork (read, busywork) simply by picking stuff that automates. For instance, when someone buys something from our online store, the store software automatically puts that transaction into our accounting software, our payment processor automatically deposits that money in our bank account, the transaction is automatically logged and our system automatically tracks their purchase, sending them a follow-up email a few weeks later to make sure they’re happy. The same is true with our payroll system. I login to process payroll, but that system handles everything at the bank, with our accounting, the state, and IRS all automatically.
  14. Don’t do a business plan. People get hung up on this because it’s a ton of work. You only need a business plan if you plan on borrowing money from a bank or the Small Business Administration. I’ve never done one. To me, it’s kind of like a resume… I don’t have one of those either. I feel like if I do things right I don’t need either. While I do think the exercise of a business plan is ultimately necessary (and useful) I just don’t think you should start with one because you really don’t know what your plan is when you’re just starting out. I think it’s way more important to get whatever your product is to market first, start the money flowing, then worry about formalizing who you are and how you do business later on.
  15. If at all possible, bootstrap. Every business idea can’t get started for $72 and sweat equity, I get that. But I think most of the time you can figure out ways to get things going, generate some cashflow, without taking on a bunch of start-up debt. That won’t work if your big dream is to open a bar. But it will absolutely work if you want to start selling at the local farmers market. I think it’d be way better to seek a personal loan from family or a friend than to take on a start-up debt from your bank or the SBA. (Which would put you in a hole financially, plus all the effort of getting the business plan done, etc.) Basically, you don’t want to be owned by debts when you’re just getting going. Further down the line debts or a line of credit will be useful. You just don’t want to start-up being owned by the bank.

So those are my tips for those taking the plunge in 2015. I’d love to hear what you are planning to start-up.

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5 Tips for Digital Marketing Strategy

October 17th, 2020 | Posted in Marketing, Uncategorized

 

We often think that good digital strategies belong only to large companies or startups with many resources: false! Any business however small, can build a successful marketing strategy, if you follow these best practices.

Today, entrepreneurs have many ways to learn about marketing strategies both search engines and social networks: videos, podcasts , blogs, etc.

If you have a small or medium business and want to open a space for your business in the virtual world here you share a list of 5 tips that will help you succeed both online and offline.

1. Plan your Strategy

Do you ever improvised a presentation? When I have to give a talk and not prepare myself, I can almost assure you that I run media talk arguments or start using those annoying buzzwords “eeehm”, “therefore”, etc.

It is the same with any Digital Marketing strategy. If you do not plan before launching a campaign or digital strategy, two things will happen:

  • We were halfway and not know how to continue.
  • Do not really know if we cause any impact.

And the only way to know if we have any impact is to first define the objectives of the strategy. For example, you may find a very funny picture to share it on Facebook, but if the image does not respond to a defined objective to share, you’re improvising.

To define goals, we suggest that these are the SMART features:

  • S pecific (Specific)
  • M easurable (Measurable)
  • A chievable (Achievable)
  • R ealistic (Realistic)
  • T ime specific (defined time)

You also need to analyze what the market needs through key tools such as Google Trends, where the latest trends in internet searches are collected. This tool gives you a great opportunity to create a campaign consistent with the current interests of our target audience.

You know what scares me about Google Trends? It is such a good tool that can take you even realize that your business is going astray. On one occasion, researching on Google Trends we realized that nobody was looking for a product that had put all our hopes. Through this tool we could stop and refocus to ProyectaPrint.

2. Create content

Remember to put your audience first. A marketing strategy is not what you mean, but what your audience wants to hear.

This is where comes in known content marketing consisting become useful ( Youtility , is the name of the book by Jay Baer ) through unique, free and above all, ayden our material target to be better, to overcome to learn something.

If you have, well informed and professional content, your prospects begin to trust you.

No doubt the main protagonist in this type of marketing is video, especially those in a few seconds squander great creativity. For this reason, the social network of video Vine instantly became a success compared with the time it took to Facebook to position.

Remember, every content should have its own objective and must fulfill a particular function within the overall strategy. The idea is to improve the engagement of users and SEO positioning. Furthermore, the popularity of mobile devices makes a good strategy necessarily raising digital content fully adapted to be mobile navigation.

3. Choose your channels

Have you noticed the new generic and prefabricated slogan of many companies?  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter“. As if these were the only channels of communication. Gary Vaynerchuck challenges entrepreneurs to think beyond Facebook and Twitter. How about a strategy Pinterest ? I respect greatly C’SANTOS being of the few companies that have a defined strategy Instagram .

Obviously, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social networks, but according to your type of business, you can find other social networks that are more suited to your business. Have you seen the marketing strategy Oil Ideal on Youtube?

And in this aspect of choosing channels, something that will make you succeed is to not think about social networks as communication channels (that’s TV and print) but rather, interaction channels . I have seen many brands that are dedicated to publishing and publishing but never answer comments Is that really be social?

4. Measure the Results

This point is closely related to the first: Define objectives.

Once commissioning strategy is critical to track the results that are obtained to calculate the ROI, ie, the return on investment.

The factors to consider are: the traffic generated, impact on social media, conversion rate, etc. To do this we can use tools like Google Analytics , True Social Metrics , to discuss the state of the campaign in all social networks,Social Mention to make a free followup comments about our brand in real time; Addictomatic to collect the dialogues generated based on a particular subject; SocialBro ideal for getting Twitter statistics; Crowdbooster very useful to measure campaigns and reporting; and SocialBakers , a tool to compare with the competition.

5. It uses Professionals

It is natural that at first your budget is limited, and many of the steps will you or someone on your team.

But setting up a coherent digital strategy effectively often requires professional help. That is why we use specialized company, conduct training or hire professional freelance for the design and implementation phase through employment websites is undoubtedly a key factor to achieve effective results.

When your business grows, will interest topics such strategies RTB (real-time auction) to get advertising space at low cost or using tools re-targeting and behavioral targeting, to track users who have visited our site and to directing our communication to the audience you want to reach. These are just some of the tools with which professionals can optimize a digital strategy.

Finally, to launch a digital strategy that is useful for your business is absolutely necessary to design a strategy that includes

  • Plan and define objectives,
  • Create content
  • Select interaction channels,
  • Measurement results and, if necessary, and our budget allows,
  • Recruitment of human resource to implement our plan of action.

The strategy can accommodate many types and sizes of businesses budget, but it is ideal that its basic structure includes all the points mentioned.

We hope these tips will serve you to design a more effective strategy. We wish you success in your business and forth.

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Corporate Essentials for all Small Business Owners

July 27th, 2020 | Posted in Loud Mouth, Uncategorized

Many people try to launch small businesses every year. But a lot of them overlook how important it is to get the basics right. You need a basic grasp of what it entails running a company. Once you’re au fait with this, it’s a question of putting these into practice. Check out these business essentials, and make sure you’re implementing them.

Money

If you’re serious about wanting to launch your own company you’re going to need capital. It’s no secret that entrepreneurs have to spend a lot of money. There are plenty of startup costs that you’re going to face. So you must make sure you have the money necessary to bankroll your business. And this is something a lot of people get wrong, and that’s why their businesses fail. So you’re going to need to save up and have some cash behind you before you launch. Failing this, you could always apply for a business loan.

Security Tips

As an entrepreneur, your business is your livelihood, so you need to look after it. The problem is, everything’s digital so your company is more susceptible to security risks. There are issues with viruses, hackers and data thieves. You’re going to have a lot of sensitive information running through the business. So you have to make sure you protect this information. This means password protecting all the computers in the company. You also should run antivirus software, and get an excellent IT support team on board.

Marketing Strategy

It’s imperative that you have an excellent marketing strategy for your company. The key to success in business is how well you promote and advertise your brand. These days marketing is much easier than it was thanks to the internet. You have a wealth of avenues you can use to drive the enterprise and generate interest. First off, you need to make sure your website is dynamite! This is going to be the first contact anyone will have with your company. So you need to inform, promote and attract all at once using excellent SEO. It’s also going to be vital to get on social media sites and make sure you have a strong presence there too.

Outsourcing

If you’re new to the business world, you might not be too familiar with outsourcing. This is the practice of sending work outside the company. The idea is that you hire freelancers to complete the projects for you. As a result, you save money, and you make sure the work gets completed faster. There are so many areas of the business that you can outsource. So you need to use it as much as you can. All your rivals will be outsourcing. So if you want an efficient and streamlined brand that keeps up with the times, you need to as well.

When you run a business, you’re in for a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. If you want to realise your vision, it’s going to be hard. But it’s not impossible as long as you put these essentials into action. You need to understand everything that’s involved in the running of a company. Then you can use it to your advantage.

 

 

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