Meg Thornley Social Media and Project Manager 3 Things To Consider As An Entrepreneur So, you’ve started your own business. That’s incredible! You’re doing something everyone’s dreamed of doing at some point during their life – becoming an entrepreneur. We applaud your bravery towards taking the plunge, and to help you, we want to make sure you’ve got the online presence to back it up. Below are three things to consider as an entrepreneur. How Are People Finding Out About Your Business? Obviously, you know what you do. But the difficulty with building a business from the ground up is that it can be hard to get anyone to notice you, and even harder to get people interested in your industry to notice you. A great place to start is networking. Indiespring started networking this year, and it’s really opened us up to the huge community that’s out there. On a personal level we’ve made some friends and connections, and on a professional level we’ve gained some new clients. We’d recommend 4N and the business network as a great place for a small business or an entrepreneur to start to grow their connections. For a start, everyone around you is in the same boat, so their advice is integral to the health of your business. The personal connection also helps make your sales, so Andy Gartside from Leap Vehicle Leasing said. “I choose networking to grow my business because I can get out and meet people I wouldn’t normally meet, connect with people I wouldn’t normally see. I offer a service so it becomes personal, so you’re selling yourself and you’re selling to people – people buy from people.” Running a business by yourself can also get pretty lonely, so making these connections is not only good for your start up, but also good for you as an entrepreneur. Social Media is an easy follow up to networking. Obviously you know how important social media is for a company nowadays, and there are plenty of great tactics to use. But using social media as a follow on from networking is such a key tool – if you’re not doing it, you’re devaluing all the time and money you put into meeting people in the first place. A simple starting point is to connect on LinkedIn with all the people you meet, and write them a personalised message saying how great it was to meet them. If you think you have something to offer to them, whether it’s a blog post or an insight, or the actual good or service you sell, let them know. But remember to encourage them sharing something useful to you as well, so they know you care about your connection. Don’t forget, you can also use social media to check out the competition too. Find other companies similar to yours and figure out their strategy – who do they follow, how often do they tweet, what’s their Facebook customer service like? You can never go wrong with paid advertising. As long as you’ve got a budget, a good plan and a realistic expectation, PPC is a simple way to get some more revenue in. We’ve been improving our PPC advertising for both clients and ourselves. But don’t forget to look after your campaigns and understand where you’re doing well or falling behind – Google Analytics is your friend. Have You Got The Website or App To Back It Up? I can’t stress this enough. You don’t need a huge budget to have a beautiful website (an app might be another story) that perfectly represents your brand and message. We recently launched a project called We Code Manchester, which is dedicated to providing quick, beautiful websites to growing companies. Obviously the bigger your budget the better, as functionalities such as an online shop take a little more time and effort to create. Apps may be all the rage right now, but consider if you really need one, or if they’re just a trend you’re desperate to be a part of. If you do need it, consider a hybrid app to keep the costs down. Eventually, if your growth continues in the way it should, you’ll have a bespoke site and an app made for you with everything you require. But make sure that at the start of your adventure you’re keeping your eye on what’s important to your brand, not just what’s shiny and new at the time. And keep your expectations realistic – you’re not the only one trying to make a living, your agency or freelance developers are, too Do You Care About Your Customers? If you answered ‘no’ to that question, then you aren’t in the right field. Your product or service should be bridging a gap in the market because you want to make a difference, not just because you want to make money (although that’s obviously a great effect.) If you answered ‘yes’ then great! Now show it. Service your customers to the best of your ability – listen to their questions, comments and concerns. Answer their feedback, provide incredible service both on and offline. Not only will they probably have some interesting insights to the way you run things, you can also share their stories and encourage more people to buy your products. I hope this provided some interesting things to consider as an entrepreneur when growing your business; let me know if you have any tips that we could include!