Below are my top tips of the little things that often get forgotten when launching your new business. All of these items are imperative, so that your business creates a good impression instantly. These Little Things are all representations of your company. If you aren't organized with these, it will show and will turn people away, afraid that your business practices may be unprofessional also.
Remember that there isn't always enough time in the day to manage everything your new business will need, so don't be afraid for ask for help and get professionals in to help you out so you get the result you need with a quick turn around, great product and most of all, less stress for you.
1. Business Cards. It may seem like a "no-brainer" but it is suprising the amount of business owners that overlook this vital tool of business. Make sure your business Card is profressionally printed, has all of your contact details, address, phone numbers, websites/blogs and social media sites listed. Don't forget to include a recognizable image on the card (i.e. Your Logo).
2. Price Lists / Menus. So you have the products and the ideas, what will you do when some one asks for a copy of your menu leading up to the opening of your cafe, or a price list of your services prior to your opening day? Have these ready to go and in a one page PDF where possible, so you can email them easily to interested clients. Have printed copies on-hand also to give out when requested.
3. Appointment Book. Don't over look this one, especially if you will be taking appointments for clientelle or bookings for a cafe/restaurant. Have the book ready to go weeks prior to opening so you can book people in in advance.
4. Website or Blog. If you don't have the money for a website, set up a blog prior to your opening date. Include all contact information, a blurb about your business, your location etc. Make sure that clients can contact you and most importantly that they can sign-up for further information/updates by way of an email newsletter. Blogs don't cost anywhere near as much as a website, and can do pretty much the same thing. Getting your own domain name is advisable, if not create one to match the business name with your free blog provider.
5. Google Places Address. Ensure Your new business premises can be found on Google Places. This can take some time to set up so I would advise doing this as soon as you make a decision about your business location. Ensure that your map pin is correct when setting it up.
6. Adequate Signage. Tiny signs will not be seen. Ensure that your business signage is recognizable and easily seen from the road. (See My previous Post on this subject).
7. Email Address. Organize a profressional email address. Do not use your personal one or home one for business purposes as customers won't recognize it at all.
8. Social Media. Set Up All Social Media Pages. The main ones to consider are Facebook & Twitter (I would recommend setting up both). If your business is a brick and mortar one, set up a Foursquare account, if you are a restaurant, hotel or tourism business, set up a Tripadvisor Listing. If your business could benefit from sharing videos of your product, create a YouTube Account and upload your first introduction video. If you think that managing all of these pages is overwhelming, and it can be, hire a profressional for a small amount of money a week to manage these pages for you. Social Media is a great way to be found quickly online.
9. Get Your Message Out There. Organize an interview with your local newspaper or magazines. Send our a press release of your upcoming opening dates. You may be surprised just how many people read the local free paper. If you don't have the time to write a press release, there are some great small businesses who can do this for you. Remember don't be afraid to ask for help.
10. Mail Send Out. I know it may seem old fashioned, but people love to get an invitation in the mail. Send out an opening day invitation to your family, friends and include an extra invite for them to give to someone they know. Organize an opening party and invite other local business owners and community groups to attend. Make the opening "invitation only" and also use that email list that you have compiled from your blog/website if you have some signed up.
In my future blog post, read about my ideas for your "Business Opening Party/Event".
Remember... Don't forget the little stuff!