A FIVE-STEP GUIDE TO CREATING A BUSINESS THAT WORKS
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Establishing a new business is not much tougher than applying for a passport. First fill in a few forms at Companies House and you’re all set. Second, you should get an accountant, probably a decent accountancy app, and then a business bank account. Third, create your domain name and then the only things between you and victory is your willpower and the strength of your idea. Or that’s how it should be.
But things can get, well, a slightly complicated. Even with the greatest idea, the road from starting up to making a business fruitful is filled with potholes and pratfalls. Donald Anthony offers you a brief plan on how to best to circumnavigate those first few miles and know how to overcome them.
How to build a brand
Don't Be. Become.
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SOCIAL MEDIA IS KEY
In 2018, businesses need to go all-out for authenticity to blossom, but it can be tricky to get right. Historically, a company was an abstract, removed thing. You could closely control how people saw your company and products. Today, those barriers have gone, primarily by means of social media.
Social media accounts and blogs allow companies to speak to new audiences, while also leaving them exposed to grievances that can go viral. The good news is that if you do it well, you can build confident marketing without spending a penny. The bad news is that you must be on top of every comment or complaint. The fact that you can’t make an image and have a different reality anymore means you should appreciate that your image is your reality and embrace it.
Create an online group of customers. Essentially an in-house forum, it is a place for discussion and new ideas. It’s an indispensable part of the lean start-up model where you’re creating new features and products and testing them. Ran well and with that all-important authenticity, a platform for honest customer engagement is also a source of free ideas.
NETWORK UNTIL YOU FIND THE ONE
In the high-stress, highly competitive start-up world of today, it is incredibly important to find someone you can trust and rely on because it’s a big commitment. But also try and find someone who’s a bit different because sharing the work is important, but so is having someone with a different skillset and background.
Having someone there with you with the same motivations and concerns is hugely powerful. Building a company can also be an unbelievably painful progression and you can share that with your family, but that can have a detrimental effect.
Employing people thereafter should be a developing mission. First, it’s all about getting people who are very entrepreneurial and adaptable without much ego. Those personalities are vital during the seat-of-pants, sleeves-rolled-up first few months. But as the business grows, find specialists with knowledge in particular areas. Responding to those people and making the most of their different backgrounds and approaches then becomes critical. And, if you don’t know anyone who fits the brief, cast your net broadly and network until you do.
COLLABORATE, DON’T ALWAYS COMPETE
Working with those you know, even if those people are possible competitors, has become vital in the new start-up economy. This spirit of partnership in today’s market is more fruitful, businesses find than the old model of distrustful isolation and cut-throat competition.
THINK BEYOND THE BANK
The start-up graveyard is strewn with good ideas that died without funding. Bank loans are hard to secure, but wooing investors is a required part of the early game. Lots of companies raise money from venture capitalists and have big funding rounds.
There is such an extensive range of investors today. But how do you meet them? By way of old-fashioned shoe leather, meetings, introductions, events, the train journey home. Multiple investors offering small individual amounts exist anywhere beyond the traditional world of the biggest chequebooks. It’s always worth looking close to home, too. In 2004, a New York dentist agreed to invest $100,000 in his son’s struggling start-up. Mr Edward Zuckerberg today holds shares in Facebook worth tens of millions of dollars.
Wherever the money comes from, look for something beyond it. A pound is a pound, but what isn’t the same is whether that person can provide connections, time and advice. The smartest founders really think about that.
It’s also vital not to forget to invest in yourself. In the beginning, you feel like you’re counting your money, but when you take the time and spend money on education or good equipment, that benefits you in the long run.
YOUR PEOPLE ARE YOUR BEST BRAND MESSAGE
It goes without saying that the look of a company, from its name and website to its offices and staff, is important. But it should never be a start-up’s primary focus. If you concentrate on the real stuff, what you’re doing for customers and why then those things will come through in the branding and marketing and that’s what you want.
It’s also crucial to place your people right alongside the brand rather than hiding them behind an expensively designed logo. Companies that once banned social media in the workplace are now nurturing employees to use it. Studies show that brand messages go much further when shared by employees rather than by faceless brand channels. In today’s startup culture, people are the brand.
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DRESS TO SUCCESS
COMME DES GARÇONS
VIRGIL SUEDE BOOTS
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A U T H O R
I M A G E
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