How much do I need to start a business?

That topic is a question that is often asked. There are over ten thousand related searches to this question on Google every month in the US. It doesn’t take a lot of money to start a business; this is often untrue. You will need to invest money and time in the future to help it grow, but to start, you don’t need to break the bank. We will talk about some of the essentials that you need to avoid, some of the pitfalls that new businesses fall into.

Understand your costs

One aspect of business that many start-ups fail to do is understand what they need to have and what they don’t. Going to a web design company on week one of your business to get a $5000 website designed is one way to expel your cash quickly. If a website is a must-have for you, build your website on a platform like Squarespace or Wix.com with a vision to revisit it once you get more cash flowing through the business. Sit down and work out precisely what you have already and what you need so that you have a decent idea of what your outgoings will be for the first few months.

Use the tools you have

In the current marketplace, there are many ways to promote your business online for free. The only real investment that you need to put in is time. TikTok is an excellent platform for companies to enter as it costs nothing to set up, and you can start creating content using your smartphone; nothing else is needed. As a new business, it is crucial to show the authenticity of being a new business as people will form around and follow you, helping you build an audience that you can work with without needing to pay to build it up. Email marketing is also a very low-costing channel that you can use to generate some interest and conversions. What matters with these channels is the content. You will need to put together some great content to engage new and existing users to build it up.

Keep your eye on the prize

No one sets up a business to fail; they also don’t set up a company to generate $100 per month but what is essential is that you don’t try and run before you can walk. Once you start to create some form of cash into the business, invest those profits into the business to help it grow more. If you try and expand before the company is generating enough profit, you will need to put more of your own money in, creating a problematic circumstance. Building a business with limited funds is possible, but it will take time, so you will need to be patient and let the company do the work for you.

Be equipped

Depending on the business you are starting, you may need to invest some money in equipment, such as tools, printing presses, computers, etc. Some companies only need laptops and a working internet connection to start, so they are incredibly low costing. Ensure that you take all equipment costs into account and make sure that you keep the receipts for tax purposes!

What is your entity?

It could also be a good idea to think about what type of entity you want the business to be. If you’re going to run it as a sole proprietor, you won’t need to register the company with the state, and you won’t need any paperwork to be done. Business deductions can be written off on your tax return. You will have to talk to your local CPA for more information on that. The same can be said for any business losses that can then be deducted from General Partnership. Another choice is registering as an LLC, which would mean that you wouldn’t be personally responsible for any debts or liabilities that the business does build-up, and you can also choose how the IRS taxes your LLC. It does come at a cost and needs to be registered with the state you are working within.

Inventive Inventory

If you are selling goods online, you may not need to put in a large amount of cash to start with. When you find a supplier with the goods you are looking for, you need to ask them if they would be willing to ship them to your customers. Generally, this is referred to as drop shipping. If you have a physical store, you will need to put some money into inventory to hold onto but only buy enough to fill the store. I know that getting the item for 5 cents less per unit seems attractive, but you don’t know if you can sell 2000 units when your store can only hold 100! When you start to sell the items, then buy more. Doing this will keep you within your means and give things a FOMO factor due to low numbers!

The final word

Setting up a business can be a scary process if you haven’t done it before, and it may feel like you are leaping. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands on your business before it starts generating any revenue, but you need to make sure that you have a business plan that covers as many bases as possible. Do your research and test the water with demand before investing heavily into an idea. Otherwise, you can be down before you know it.

The Social Generation

Social Media has been put front and center and is here to stay. Different platforms for different methods such as TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more can sometimes feel hard to navigate and do it well. Is Social Media easier for the younger generation? We think it is easy for everyone, regardless of your age, but it is something that you need to learn and become comfortable with. We have put together some different aspects of Social Media that you should know about and master allowing you to take control of your social presence.

Content is king

Whether you run a bricks & mortar business or it is solely online, you have probably heard that content is king when it comes to your website. That doesn’t only apply to your website, but your Social Media as well. Think about the type of content that disrupts your normal scrolling when you are on Facebook or grab your attention on TikTok. It doesn’t only work for you. The businesses that do the best from their Social Media are the ones that have solid content designed to engage their audience and promote their business. Where do you start, though? You may be better off bringing in an expert such as Albuquerque Social Media, or you can ask some of your customers what they like to see from businesses.

Keep them coming

With everything moving online from training courses to retailers, more and more people are using Social Media every day, including your existing customers. The older generations have had to get used to using Social Media to call their family on video calls and take part in quizzes. This change brings about a new opportunity that businesses haven’t had before, use your Social Media to get existing customers to return time and time! Create content for returning and living customers to use a code or coupon that can be used on your website or in-store to drive the following and get more interaction with your customers. Not only do you start to build even more brand loyalty, but you start then evolving your customer base into ambassadors that will tell others about you!

Scheduling

Time is money when you run a business, so you want to make sure that everything you do is as efficient as possible. With Social Media, you can create content for the next month or longer, then schedule it to be released. This means that instead of having to log on every day and post while copying and pasting the hashtags, you can upload all of your posts in one go, and they will go live at a time of your choosing. Even if you have a creative moment one Sunday, you can create that content and add that in too. Social Media isn’t limiting to a specific time of the day; make it work for you and fit around your schedule.

Life is a competition

If there is one thing that everyone loves, it’s a competition. Using Social Media, you can drive more followers and generate customers by running contests. You may think that you will only get young people going on and competing. Still, the average age of Social Media competition participants is 30 years old, meaning that you will reach a broad audience and range of differing ages. With over 200 million active users over the age of 65 on Facebook alone, you can be sure that you can reach all age groups!

Word of mouth is changing

Everyone likes to talk about how great a particular business has been in dealing with their problem, and they love to talk about how poorly a different company didn’t help. How people talk about this has completely evolved. Long gone are the days when people would get together and talk about what they have been doing over the past week and tell all their friends about the plumber they had come in and do a job quickly without breaking the bank. Social Media has given new life to the word of mouth as consumers move more into a digital world. We constantly see when someone has passed their driving test with an instructor in the photo showing that they did a good job and helped them learn to drive through a post on Facebook. You will come across people posting about the new vehicle that they purchased from a dealership that they recommend. The upside to this is that the word of mouth you previously would have received may have reached 10-20 people, whereas now, it could reach 1k-2k+. People also can leave reviews on their Social Media pages which are more permanent than posts as posts can be drowned out by everyone else. Checks will remain on your page as long as your page remains live. Just be sure to use Social Media to your advantage when it comes to word of mouth.

Conclusion

We know that Social Media can be a scary concept if you have never used it before or have but just posted a picture of the food you had at the restaurant on Sunday. It is essential to understand that it is a skill and can be learned over time, but we know that not everyone has that time available to them while running a business on the side. It doesn’t matter what age you are; Social Media is something you can start tuning into and taking action on now. If you aren’t sure where to start, we can help. Everything mentioned in this article states what we can help you with for your Social Media presence. Go to https://albuquerquesocialmedia.com/ for more information.

The Truth about Social and Reputation Management

When it’s time to start a business, either with employees or a sole trader, there is so much that you need to control. Firstly, you need to make sure that everything is in order, generate work, quote for specific jobs, liaise with suppliers, handle customer service, manage timings for project delivery, budget for marketing, and put together a strategy. All of this needs to be done while also allowing yourself to have some downtime in the evening. It can be hard to juggle it all, which often leaves certain aspects of the business overlooked. Social Management and Reputation Management are two such topics. When done well, they can be a real driver for your business and help generate more leads. We are going to cover why they play such a vital role in business.

Are you aware?  

Brand awareness should be a part of every business plan. You cannot just decide that you want to work for yourself than workstreams; it can take time to build that brand’s recognition to feel comfortable using you. Social Media is a great tool that a business can use to its advantage, but it is easy to fall into the usual trap of posting products and sales rather than adding value to someone’s day. Using different Social Media channels and posting rich, relevant content, you start to build a following that will potentially use you and recommend you. When it comes to the consumer deciding who to use, if they recognize your brand among the tens of businesses, they are more likely to choose you.

The five-star experience

Do you believe that you offer a five-star experience to your customers? The truth is, it doesn’t matter how good you think you are; it is all about what is said online about your business. To give you an example, you wouldn’t stay at a hotel with 3-star reviews online over a hotel with 5-star reviews. The same can be said when it comes to any service or product. Now, more than ever, consumers are looking online to find out more information about a service or product before contacting. Your sales pitch may be the best in the world, but if you have a poor rating online, that will have a massive effect on the call volumes. Luckily, there are so many places that consumers can review you. By using this to your advantage, it can help you get an edge over the competition.

In the know

When you build up reviews, it will do you well in the landscape, but how do you know when you get a less than favorable review? If there are 12 different places where a consumer can review your business, you would need to constantly keep an eye on them and then respond to any reviews. Scanning and responding can be pretty costly in terms of time, but luckily, there are some different solutions out there that can help keep an eye on it for you, such as the solution offered by https://reviews.albuquerquesocialmedia.com/. The last thing anyone needs is a review out there that is causing damage without you knowing, as that will deter potential customers from using your services or contacting you.

Build loyalty

 When Social Media is used effectively and you begin to build a decent following, loyalty starts to play a part in your social marketing strategy. If the producing content is insufficient or isn’t giving the right call to action, you may find that your following doesn’t engage through likes and comments and dwindle. Creating engaging Social Media posts that help create a buzz about your business. It can be challenging to get the right balance of adding value, then offering your product or solution and taking up more time. There is always the option of getting someone else to look after that aspect, such as https://albuquerquesocialmedia.com/. Doing this will help free up your time and get an expert to put together the right strategy for you to start building loyalty.

Plan ahead

Once you create your social media profiles and start posting, you then have the opportunity to begin creating content ahead of time and then schedule it all over the coming weeks or months using the software. If you aren’t sure where to start, https://albuquerquesocialmedia.com/ has you covered. This site can help curate content and be scheduled so that it lands at the best time for your consumers to engage.

Using Social and Reviews together

Now that you have managed to bank lots of good reviews, it is time to start getting them to work for you. Thoughts aren’t just there for people to see when searching for relevant directories and review sites. Use the power of Social Media to push the reviews and let potential customers what other people are saying about you and your business. The more reviews you receive and the larger your following, the more power this combo will have.

The Final Word 

Overall, maintaining and managing your Social Media and Online Reputation can be a timely affair, but the bounty received from doing it well is fantastic. As business owners, we know that you don’t always have time to stay on top of everything all the time. To ensure that everything is set up correctly, optimized, and continuously working for you without putting much time in, you need to get an expert on board. That is where https://albuquerquesocialmedia.com/ comes in. Building a tailored package to your needs and your business is sure to set you up to succeed.

Life or death: email marketing

Did i catch your attention?

Marketing is constantly evolving to stay up to date with consumer behavior. Things were already moving to a digital landscape; the pandemic elevated that to lightspeed to fulfill consumer demands. Does email marketing still hold a place in the current climate? It does. Having an ironclad email marketing strategy allows you to reach your audience in a way that feels more personal and can help increase and affordably boost sales. The beauty lies in the fact that everything has evolved so much in the past months, including the tools that allow you to run an effective email marketing campaign, making it easier than ever before to get out there truly. Below, we have put together some of the reasons why email marketing is still so vital today.

In the know

Suppose you already have a customer base that you have dealt with in the past or even have a mailing list of potential clients that are semi-interested in what you can offer and do. In that case, email marketing is a great way to keep them informed about what is coming up or any new offers that you have running. A real bonus point is that an email can make someone feel as though you were thinking about them, they would have signed up to your email list, so they are willing to accept them as long as the content is worth reading!

We’re engaged!

An email has been a form of communication for over 40 years and is still going strong. As time has gone on, the usage of email and adoption has grown substantially; we all use email in some fashion. It could be to click through to a piece of content on an email, forward some information, or even register/sign up to a different website; we tend to use email all the time. Having this information, you can use email to enforce a call to action, either picking up the phone to call, visiting the website to order, or anything else. Over 25% of sales last year were related to email marketing; you need your slice of the pie.

On the go

The devices that people have used daily have changed too; with everyone having a supercomputer in their pocket, they can do incredible things quickly. Emails are no exception; in fact, Litmus stated that 54% of all emails were opened on a mobile device. This usage will continue to grow as we consume information and media in different ways. It is important to note that email campaigns designed well for mobile use have higher conversion rates than any other channel.

Keeping costs down

Email marketing has always been well known for how cost-effective it is. The cost per conversion is meager with email marketing. Some platforms even let you start for free. While the platforms themselves can be pretty low-costing, it is essential to note that the amount of time needed to create and optimize email marketing campaigns is rather lengthy. Some companies believe that a database of 15,000 addresses needs around 152 hours of work a year to manage the campaigns. That includes writing, drafting, scheduling, sending, etc. Then it would help if you thought about the inbox management side of it, so it may be worthwhile having someone look after it for you.

Hit the target

One of the most solid points about email marketing is the ability to target specific groups with ease. When not all customers are at the same stage of the buying process, you may need to put together a strategy covering the different stages of buying. The steps you must consider are the awareness, consideration, ready-to-buy stage, and the aftersales process to get the most out of your email campaigns. By having a proper strategy that segments your customers based on where they are on the journey, you are nurturing the leads to maximize the potential ROI. The more information a customer has, the quicker and more efficient they can move on to the next step of the consumer journey.

I want results

There is nothing worse than putting so much effort and energy into something to try and push the business forward, but then you have no idea how well it has worked due to a lack of analytics. Email marketing is straightforward to measure. Depending on the platform you use, you can see the number of emails that bounced (allowing you to remove those from your list), open rate (helping you identify how well your opening line worked), clickthrough rate, conversion rate, and more. Over time, you will hear different ‘ideal’ numbers, but they will also vary and change depending on industry and target audience. Sending too many emails to customers that expect only once a week will create a spike in un-subscribers, whereas not sending enough will take a dip in engagement. Know your audience!

The final word

Email marketing is a fantastic tool that should be in every business’s toolbox. It can generate brand awareness, buzz, customer loyalty, and, more importantly, sales! Before you do jump into it, make sure that you understand your audience and customer and put together a strategy and a goal. Without a specific purpose, it will never be enough. After you get more fluent in email marketing and giving the best punch you can, you can start getting email automation into play to follow your customers every step of the way. 

 There are so many different channels that you can use to reach your audience; email marketing is one of the most time and cost-effective methods, so you can then use your time more effectively. Get out there and start emailing!

The new business dream team

You’re doing it; you are starting up your own business, being your boss, and controlling how much you take on. If only it were as easy as setting up shop. To ensure that your new business succeeds, you need to decide what your team will consist of. Are you looking to start with two employees? What about hiring two different teams to carry out work? Who will look after the marketing for you? If you have any tech problems, will you have someone to hand to help sort that out? These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself when you are setting up. Not every business will need every aspect covered to start, but you will need some safety nets in there. You will have some requirements that may be unique to you and require a team built to ensures that you will be taken care of. Sometimes, it is important to delegate tasks that aren’t within your scope to experts to free up time allowing you to focus on what you do best. Let’s look at some absolute must-haves that you should think about when starting up.

PR = Growth

PR and marketing are prominent factors when it comes to a business going to thrive or survive. Having someone in the company that can put together a marketing strategy with adequate budgets and projections will help in a way that you won’t believe. Even if you have a background in marketing, it is always worth having a second opinion to get you focused on the task at hand. They will also be able to take the reins when you inevitably need to deal with something different.

Sell me this…

Having a great product or service is excellent and will undoubtedly make it easier for you to get clients; having a great salesperson on your team will help even more. Every business needs someone to sell their product or idea, but they need to be on the same page as you when it comes to values. When you start making more sales, it could be a good idea to expand the team then continue to grow to the point that you may need a Sales Manager to keep things moving smoothly. Again, you may want to do all of the selling yourself, but with all of the plates spinning, you won’t be able to focus only on the sales truly!

Accounted for

Improper accounts and poor cash flow are the reason for 82% of business failures. If you are doing all you can to not be within that 82%, you need to get an accountant. It doesn’t necessarily need to be someone you employ full-time; you can outsource the accounting to a local firm or sole trader. Ideally, you want a knowledgeable accountant, has good standing with IRS and specializes in your industry. With a good accountant on your team, you increase the chance of your business doing well.

Got IT

The technical infrastructure is a massive part of a business, and there is only so much that you can do. Including an IT specialist in your ranks will ensure that everything is set up correctly, from inventory management systems, product tracking all the way to simply providing the network is operational. Like having an accountant, you don’t need to have someone on a full-time or even within the company. It is entirely possible to hire an IT company to help with all of your technological needs; sometimes, they can be much more cost-effective if you set up a monthly arrangement with them.

HR

Any company will need Human Resources, and they will bring a lot to the table for you. They will make you aware of the continually changing aspects of insurance, tax, and other benefit requirements through constant training and refinement. They should also help with payroll services, ensuring that compliance was complete with time tracking. When one of your team members knows these areas, you will have a much more rounded team structure.

The Industry vet

There will be times when you won’t know the best path to take or the best solution for a problem. If there is someone on the team that you can rely on for advice and expertise, you will be much more decisive. When selecting someone to be a part of your team, try and find someone that has worked with start-ups in particular so that you know they will have a proper understanding of your business and the start-up process too.

Support

As much as we wish every customer will always be happy, unfortunately, it isn’t the case. Sometimes a customer will need a bit more attention to keep them happy, so Customer Service is necessary. It is entirely up to you whether you want to have a separate customer service agent or just let the sales team also deal with customer service.  The only downside comes in if the customer is unhappy with the sales team themselves. The situation can get sticky!

Overall

Picking the right team can be daunting as there are so many roles and specializations within those individual sectors. Take your time to understand your goals and what support framework you need to help achieve those goals. Remember, the business across from you may have entirely different needs from yours, so don’t just try and mirror them! We know that using this information will put together the team that will take your business to the next level and further.