Starting a Business in the Hashtag Era
I'm going to preface this blog post by saying that I am NOT a business or marketing expert. I'm actually a college dropout (another blog for another time). I started a small business last year and I'm still trying to figure things out as I go along. I just want to share some of the things that have worked for me so far. We are living in the Hashtag Era and your ability to navigate social media is critical. I made a list for you because us Millennials have the attention span of a pop-tart : )
1. Figure Out a Business Name - Your business name needs to be catchy! Customers or potential clients need to be able to remember your business name long after they've left your networking event. Remeber your market. If you're opening a bakery you probably don't want to name it "Sweet Things" or "The Bread Box"
2. E-mail Address - This should be self-explanatory but create a professional e-mail address. I'm not inquiring about a product if the e-mail address is "firstname.lastname@example.org"
3. Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/YouTube - This is probably the most important one. Create an account on every social media site you can think of! Follow/like/add the most successful person in the field you want to work in and then follow/like/add everyone that follows them. Your business social media pages need to be filled with like-minded people and potential clients. So unless you think Beyonce is going to patronize your new bakery, then don't worry about following her.
4. LLC/Business plan/Business Cards - Registering Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction LLC took me 10 minutes and $100. Everyone's process won't be so easy but www.sba.gov is a lifesaver! They have already answered every question you could think of and the site is user-friendly. A business plan is really only necessary if you plan on taking out a loan or if you're looking for investors. I will add that having a financial plan laid out will save you alot of headache in the future. I'm still on the fence about business cards since most people throw them away anyway. If you're going to use them, make them stand out by adding a discount code or coupon on the back. That'll give your customers a reason to hold on to it.
5. Photos/Graphics - We live in a very visual society so photos and graphics are crucial! If your business hosts events, make sure you have a photographer there. If you sell a product, make sure you have photos with happy customers using your product. Lastly, you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for graphics.....I use www.canva.com to make my flyers myself.
P.S. Put a hashtag on everything!!!!
Good luck with your new business and may the odds be ever in your favor!