Starting a small business can be a challenge. Here are four tips to make it easier.
1. Have a good story
If you’re pitching to potential investors, have a good story. Naomi Simson, Founding Director of RedBalloon and one of the ‘sharks’ on Channel TEN’s program, Shark Tank, explains that making your pitch memorable is important and having a good story is key. The reason why Naomi chose to invest in HEGS Australia was simply because the owner told a story which allowed the ‘sharks’ into his world. Your story doesn’t have to be over the top or exaggerated, it just has to feel genuine and be easy to understand. So, if you have a great story, share it!
2. Write down what you learn
Naomi Simson has been blogging for nearly ten years and began when she was in the start-up phase of her business. When you start a business, everything is new and you will find you are learning a lot. Being able to document your insights is a great reference tool for yourself to jog your memory. Whether you write it down for yourself or share it with others, blogging can be an outlet.
If you decide to make your blog public, this is a great way to discuss your experiences with like-minded business owners. Through your blog, readers will be able to get to know you by understanding who you are and how you think. Naomi describes her blogging experience as a ‘very rich business card.’
3. Your brand does not need to be on every social media channel
Choosing the right social media channels for your business can sometimes be a difficult task. If you are unsure what platforms to use, take a step back and research your target market. Find out what channels they use and how they use it. At the same time, take into consideration the kind of relationship your target market want to have with you and your business.
Valerie Khoo, Founder and National Director of the Australian Writers’ Centre explains that you don’t have to be everywhere on social media. The trick is to pick two or three platforms and use them effectively. Having a presence on every social media channel may seem like you are reaching more of your target market, but in actual fact it is far better to narrow your focus to platforms that your customers are actually using.
4. Make the most out of networking
Many people find they struggle to network but the key to networking is quality not quantity. Often people try to connect with too many people, thinking that a bigger network is the end goal. However those with bigger networks will find that these relationships are generally one way and have little depth. Julia Palmer, a leading networking strategist from the Business Networking Academy, explains that building two way relationships by taking the time to educate people about who you are and what you do is a far better approach to networking.
To achieve this you need to be selective on which events you attend and who you give your business card to. When you meet someone, chat with them and figure out if there is some common ground between you. If you feel like you have made a worthwhile connection, follow up with them and stay in touch.
Another useful tip is to avoid trying to sell them something or make them a new client of yours at first encounter. You don’t want to bombard them as this will make them reluctant to get to know you. At the end of the day, people connect with people – keep this in mind when you network.
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