Setting up your small business!
Setting up Your Small Business...
Where on earth do you start??
I know what’s going through your head, because I have been there believe me.
You have this wonderful idea, and you can see the end result but there’s now a huge journey ahead to transform that idea to conception.
As you start on your new venture, you WILL make mistakes, but if you can accept this early on you will be fine. I made a LOT and I am likely to make many more but that’s growth!
There is so much support out there for a small business. Etsy have lots of great forums, also YouTube and social media can be really handy, stay on top of hashtags and network with other start-up businesses to support your mission.
So, you probably by now have a name in mind for your business right? Make sure you check on Companies House that you can definitely use it before you do anything else, the last thing you need is to create your logo based on a name that is already taken!! Now for the exciting part… designing your logo, your brand identity, what is going to make you stand out? I trialed so many different logos, but I knew when it was right! If you are not sure where to start with your logo, you could try Fiverr, a fantastic gig market with access to a network of self-employed creative experts!
By now you have your product, your branding, your prototype, you’re happy, so lets get stocked up (YAY)! Ok when getting ready for your launch, be realistic, you’re a small start-up, aim high but don’t expect to be selling out on week one, it takes time and people don’t even know about you yet so don’t get disheartened!
Lets get started on your website...
Choosing a website provider can be a minefield, there are SOOO many options, I went for Shopify as they were able to offer everything we needed for an eCommerce business but you can start from scratch if you know a great web developer! It took a couple of months to get the website ready for launch, after many tests, trialing of different apps. Creating the website can be a lot of fun, its your way to get creative, there is so much you can do with it but whatever you do always have the end user in mind. Make sure your customer experience is flawless, do some tests, ask friends and family to have a play around with it and get their honest feedback, constructive criticism is essential. You cant expect to get everything right first time and it is invaluable to get an insight to your customer journey before you launch so you can make the correct tweaks just in time.
Lets see, you now have:
A registered business name - check
Stock - check
Logo and brand - check
Website - check
Time for Launch!!!
On the build up to launching Letterbox Love, I started our Instagram page a month prior just to get people curious and we built up a really nice little following whilst posting sneak previews. We used paid ads on Instagram from our small marketing budget to reach a wider audience so when we came to open the website we had some traffic!
Now don’t get me wrong, wouldn’t it be lovely to see 100’s of orders on the first day, going back to my previous comment about being realistic, it’s because I wasn’t! I had no idea what to expect and I can be honest now and say that when we launched Letterbox Love I thought it would have the same effect as if we were just launching the new iPhone! – let’s all laugh together!
Anyway, just remember you do have a great product, but no one knows about you yet!! I am no marketing expert but luckily I had some great support and that’s when my husband Liam came in to Letterbox Love, after a couple of months Liam joined full time and fully focused his time on SEO and Google Analytics, he retains information like a sponge!! Whereas as I have the attention span of a goldfish… we definitely make a great team! After just a few weeks of really focusing our time on the marketing strategies, the orders were coming through thick and fast and the great thing about Shopify is you can see how that customer found you, so we know whats working and what isn’t. We spoke to MANY digital marketing experts and they all said the same thing… its about trial and error and its definitely a long game.
Anyway… 8 months grafting with Letterbox Love whilst still being in full time employment as a Recruiter, never did I imagine to be resigning to focus more of my time into this little lockdown business I set up in the midst of a pandemic! It didn’t happen overnight, there is a LOT to think about and so many hurdles along the way, some good, some not so good, you learn to fire fight very quickly and manage your emotions.
As I am writing this, of course there is a lot more I could add but I won’t pretend to be a business coach as I am still learning myself, I have a long way to go but I am incredibly passionate about Letterbox Love. I really do believe we have a great product and its that passion that will keep you going too. You will have days where you will just want to sit under your duvet watching Disney films whilst crying into your ice cream, if that’s what you need, do it, but the next day pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and go again, keep going, set yourself goals daily and weekly and feel proud as you tick them off no matter how big or small. This is your journey now so you go at the pace that works for you and no matter what, keep going!
My best bit of advice would be to take your time, listen when given advice and just get stuck in!
Enjoy every second and good luck x
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