This column is authored by Rajesh Kumar Bihani, marketing manager at People
If you are not already experienced in running a small company, it will be a daunting task for your startup to end up with positive gains at the end of the year in terms of revenue and net profit. Proper planning is needed for your small business to follow the right path and attain success.
Even if we consider that you already know about some of the common methods of finding customers, for example, through freelancer websites, bulk emailing, social media marketing, running PPC campaigns, doing SEO to rank higher in search engines, offline advertising etc but still can you be sure to earn more than what you will be spending per month? If you trust me it won’t be that easy if you are still inexperienced. I am not saying that you yourself need to be a good web coder in order to manage a tech company but at least you should understand the basic technology for the product you intend to sell. Simply relying on your employees blindly may damage the reputation of your business if the employees are not serious enough to care for your startup.
Here are some of the things you need to take care of if you are thinking of having your own startup.
1) Hiring the right people
It’s easy to know about the basic steps involved in the recruitment process but you need to move one step further to hire the right talent for your particular business. For example, if you are a web design startup then you should know that the term “web design” will also include several other meanings in itself. A Web Designer is basically the person who determines the layout, graphics, text, and navigation of the site. But there is another category of people called graphic designers who are responsible for creating graphics, colors, and fonts using graphic designer tools like Photoshop. But this is not all. There is also another category of people better known as web developers. Their role is also as important as the above two and they are basically responsible for all the coding needed, in different programming languages, to make a dynamic website (database driven).
You should have the capability to hire the mixed blend of talent so that your employees can co-operate with each other to deliver the best final product to your customers. I am telling this because a good web developer may not be a good graphic and web designer and vice versa, while you may need to implement all three in just a single project. So it’s always better to work under someone for few years to get the required experience before taking the charge of your own independent company.
2) Handling the customer queries properly
The person who is engaged in the handling of customer queries should have good communication skills. This you should take care at the time of hiring an individual for this post of handling customer queries. Customer satisfaction should be the first priority, as this is the only thing which is going to help with the word of mouth publicity for your company products or services and it’s also important to retain the existing customers and get repeated orders from them. It’s not a problem if you are handling your customer queries on the phone as they get an instant response. However, if you are handling your customer queries through email then it’s important to reply to the customer queries as soon as possible. They may need a change in their project or product and if you don’t bother to reply on time the product could already be dispatched or project already completed and in that case, your employees will need to put extra efforts to reverse everything which may cost you money and time.
3) Minimizing your cost for the marketing and advertising of your products or services
If you are inexperienced you may end up paying much more than the normal pay, especially, if you are advertising your product or services over the internet. I remember I was doing content marketing for a client where I had to publish an article on entrepreneur.com with a link to my client’s website from within the article. Creating links this way is helpful in increasing the ranking of a website in Google search. I somehow got hold of a contributor from the USA at entrepreneur.com and he charged me $1000 for publishing the article. One month later I realized I paid too much as another contributor from the country of Kenya was willing to publish only for $300. Both were a regular contributor on entrepreneur.com. So you need to be careful while taking the help of online marketers. You will often find marketers from the developing or under-developed nations as much cheaper than the developed nations without quality being much affected.
It’s also important that you minimize your cost for PPC (pay per click) campaigns that you will be running through programs like Google Adwords or other similar platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Otherwise, you may end up paying more per click than your competitors. You should hire a person who is certified and an expert in Google Adwords and other PPC advertising platforms. It will be only a one-time cost to setup everything and then you can enjoy low-cost pay per click advertising over the internet for years to come.
So minimizing your cost is important to generate profits for your small business.
4) Choose your brand name properly
A short name for your brand which is easy to remember by the people is the best way to go. You should also register a domain in the same name as your company brand. If the domain with your startup brand name is not available it may cost you a lot by getting it from the domain brokers, unless there is already a site attached to this domain and it may not be available for sale by the existing owner. Best is to choose a brand name for which the domain name is available to register for free to minimize your cost.
If your brand name is short and easy to remember a lot of people will search it in Google to find your startup website. This will give a good indication to Google that your brand name is popular and so Google will rank your site better (with featured snippet) in Google search results. If someone is suggesting you a keyword rich domain name then it’s a bad idea as it will be hard for your domain to appear first in Google’s search results if it’s keyword rich.
5) Don’t be greedy
Try to keep a decent margin in the products or services you are offering. The world is going very competitive day by day and if you cannot keep your prices reasonable customers will try to run away from you, and they will not announce this to you. You need to know yourself why they are running away from your products or services. You should always keep yourself in touch with the market in your niche and that will give the perfect idea to set your prices.