Starting a Business Part 2: Preparation & Registration
Starting An Online Business & Marketing Online: Chapter 2 Preparation & Registration
Now you have your idea and you have researched your market and competitors, you need to prepare for starting your venture. You need to start considering your business model, this is the time you will have sleepless nights. Trust me, from personal experience you need a notepad and pen by the edge of the bed because when ideas start flowing in the middle of the night you need to write them down.
A business name is one of the hardest things to create, as what you think sounds good may not be good for your ideal market and potential customers. So you need to think of something short and catchy. Consider the domain name related to the business when trying to narrow results down. We have seen some business names like “TY Web Solutions Services Online”, with the email address of email@example.com. Try saying that over the phone, it’s impossible! Keep it short and simple, and make sure the domain is available for your brand, (if you’re wondering what a domain is it’s the bit at the end of the email so tywebsolutionsservicesonline.com is the domain). We took weeks at this stage trying to pick the best name, but sometimes it just comes to you when you’re trying to sleep. You can also try business name generators that you can find online.
Register the business
Now you will have to look at what business model will suit your personal circumstances for example: sole trader, partnership or limited liability. This will depend on your country, I would recommend checking with your local business centre (in United Kingdom this is called local chamber of commerce) for additional support and guidance.
Purchase the domain & hosting
Once you have your name registered you need to purchase your domains, I would recommend sticking to .com .co.uk domains or your country extension. Reason being behind this is that people trust domains more like this, compared to the new domains that have been released. It’s all down to personal preference, but you can purchase the additional domains like .media etc. but I personally wouldn’t waste your money.
You can also look at purchasing an existing domain and website. When looking at existing domains, you need be very careful that the domain has not be harmed with a reputation online or has harmful back links (low quality backlinks can cause harm to a business’s ranking in google). You can check the backlinks a site has with an online backlink checker like SEOprofiler.com.
The best place we recommend to purchasing your hosting and domain is godaddy.com. Their service seems to be the best we have come across and they have the best support available, especially if you are not tech savvy. This being said you can find a lot cheaper across the internet, but just make sure you read reviews. We find goDaddy to be the best for us and our customer needs.
Email setting up
Once you have your domain and hosting, you need to setup your email accounts. We would recommend keeping them simple so they are easy to say over the phone. For example here is our email addresses:
When setting up your emails you may come across the option to have IMAP or POP3. It doesn’t really matter between the two, but we prefer to use IMAP because it allows the messages to download to your PC so you always have them even if you are offline.
Business Plan & Business Map
Your business plan is a very important section that you need to take the time to develop. This plan will help you decide where you want your business to go in the next few years and determine the route you are going to take to get there. This will be the document that investors will be looking at if they are interested in investing, so businesses requiring start-up capital you need to make sure your business plan is water tight. You can find people online to assist with your business plan from websites such as Fiverr.com.
There is no perfect business plan and you will need to constantly be updating it to ensure that it stays current and in line with your business goals and that you are on track to achieve these goals. We use a business map to help us visually know where we need to be in our business. Think of it like bite size information of where you need your business to be to help keep you on track.
Cash flow Forecast
A cash flow forecast will help you forecast how much money you expect your business to make. This is basically your costs vs your projected sales, you can use your competitor research & the research we did in Chapter 1 to help you here. You will want to set up an Excel spreadsheet to help you calculate these costs a bit easier and so you can show this file to potential investors. You can find many templates online to assist you with this.
Dream board and motivation
Image Source: Tools To Freedom
This is something personally I do to help me on my journey as an entrepreneur. I know many other people who do this too, it’s really the mind-set shift of “if you think it and believe it you can do it”. A dream board will help you visualise what your aspirations are. Seeing your aspirations and desires on a board, allows you to have a target in your head every day. A dream board is more of a motivational tool, although motivation for some people can be the key to success. So go out and do what you need to do to get what you want! Not what someone else wants for you, but what you want! This will help you develop your WHY? Why are you doing this? Do you wish to help a charity or leave a legacy it’s only for you to decide? A Dream board can help a lot on the tough days and before you know it you will be travelling to work in the Lamborghini or be on the yacht you wanted.
You will need to start thinking how you are going to push customers through your sales funnel now this mainly applies to service related businesses, but can also relate to product related business and this is an example model for a product business:
- Get customer Interested
- Mail Marketing – Keep users returning to the website or media
- Returning customer
A sales funnel allows you to keep track of where your customers are in your funnel and allow you to build a funnel system to help potential customers to be chucked in and then fall through when they are ready too. We build ours alongside a diary system to ensure we keep up to date. The most key element about a sales funnel is make sure you keep it up to date, so every time you communicate or come in contact with a customer you update the file.
Business systems is one of the most important aspects for any small business. It’s the most critical element that some small businesses and start-ups are missing, which cause them to fail and dissolve. Business systems is hard to explain within a few paragraphs, but you have to read the E-myth book to help you gain a better understanding of what I am speaking about. In the most simple way I can explain a business system is, it allows you to give the same experience over and over again to each customer with the same expected result. You may say I do that anyway? Let’s take the example given in the E-Myth book of the Burnt Child psychological effect. Imagine you run a barber shop you have a process of how you like to work, but it’s not quite a system yet. Customer comes in and you offer them a drink, insisting on washing their hair before doing the haircut. Then doing the haircut, but not using electrical clippers for a better trim and then walking the customer to the door. Imagine if you forget to offer the customer a drink that would change the customer’s whole experience that time. Now imagine if your customer comes to the shop again, but you do not have the time to cut the hair manually and resort to electric clippers. The customer has had a different experience again and could start showing effects of the burnt child where the customer is too scared to ask for these things as they are so minor and petty that they end up deciding to go elsewhere for their haircut.
This is one benefit of a system, but it also adds structure to your work and means you are less likely to make mistakes. For example we have a system on hourly website content updates, we make sure we have all the images before we start the work otherwise we end up spending hours trying to work around the images we need. Its small things but it ensures the customer has the same experience every time.
Diary – Client Management
This is something I do personally to help my day become structured. I am sure that every business has some sort of diary to track their day to day, but most people do not live out of the diary like I do.
As a small business owner you are going to be so busy and if you already are a small business owner then you know my pain. You will forget to do stuff! Which is bad for your business and bad for your customers. A diary will help you track what is occurring, what you need to do and any ongoing meetings that you currently have booked in.
My personal diary has a few elements which I have listed below, to make sure it stays in line with everything I am doing:
- Daily Schedule (One hour for marketing/gym/lunch)
- Plan A Link to do list
- Property Investment to do list
- Personal to do list
- Call backs I need to make
- Upcoming business networking events
- Shopping List (personal/business)
- Payment (Money owed)
- Live projects
These all help me with the day to day running of my business and mean I no longer need to juggle in attempt to remember to do things. I recommend you get your diary set up for business and personal or even just for your personal life, to help you be more organised. With this diary page I also include all my other relevant pages required such as: Sales funnel, Client Management, Marketing tracker, SEO tracker and Cashflow Spreadsheet. As the business grows you may want to separate these off into separate files, but for me I find the ease of everything being in one place.
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