The hardest part in starting your own business is not coming up with an idea and carrying it out. For an entrepreneur, these are most of the rewarding and natural parts of the process. The hardest part of the start-up stage is getting your name out there, and getting noticed. In a world where advertisements are placed literally everywhere, it can be hard to get your company noticed by your ideal clients. No matter what industry you are in, you aren't going to succeed if no one knows about your business or how to reach you.
There is no "right" way to do business, but there are tons of wrong ways. As long as what you are doing is smart and ethical, you should be ok. The beginning is often the hardest, as you are still trying to win over customers. There are a few things that you can do to both get noticed, and build credibility and trust with your potential customers.
Be Active Online
There's no question that your company needs to have an online presence in order to succeed these days. Some of the best things you can do for your business would be to have a website, have a blog on said website, and be active on at least 3 different social media platforms. By blogging on your website, you can help your search engine rankings, and grow your sites traffic. On social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can connect with your target market and grow a following. Have an online presence gives your company credibility, which is huge when you are starting out with a new business.
Freebies are your friend
No matter what you do, you should offer something for free to someone. I don't care who or what, but it should be done. Whether you offer a service or a product, getting a few people to try it for free can be your best marketing tool. You can also give out free promotional products, like USB drives or magnets that have your logo and/or phone number on it. Let's be honest, who doesn't like free things? If you give out something that people use every day, these people are going to be seeing your name every day. Eventually they may turn into actual customers. If you have a product, giving out samples is a great idea, especially if your product is great. Take a page out of the book from many makeup sampling companies. They give out small samples of their products, which helps them gain many repeat customers. People witness how well the product works, and they learn to see the value in it before they buy it.
This could very well be the least attractive part of marketing. It can feel yucky trying to network yourself and your business, but sadly it must be done. More often than not, those who get out there and expand their network end up finding more success and have a greater outreach. It doesn't have to feel yucky, though. In fact, if what you are doing feels wrong, it probably is. Don't be the used car salesman for your company. No one likes a ruthless pitch from someone who doesn't know what the word "no" means. For plenty of successful business owners, networking simply means making new friends and making sure they are aware of what you do for a living. It's all about who you know, and some friendships can grow to great business partnerships.
No matter what you do, your efforts will pay off. Keep on keeping on, and you will make it. I know it's hard to lose sight of the big picture when you are putting in so much work at the beginning, but it will be more than worth it one day. By getting your business out there, and growing a loyal group of customers, you will be that much closer to your goal. Consistency is key, so remember that giving up is not an option. As long as you keep doing these things, day in and day out, you will find that it gets easier and easier as time goes on.
For more from Gabrielle, visit Writing on a Whim