This is the ultimate to-do list every entrepreneur needs to have for the first 30 days of business.
Starting a new business is a brave step. The sad reality is that one in four new businesses fail in their first year. That’s why it’s important to create a comprehensive plan that give your days structure, purpose and helps to set the path to successful business launch.
The ultimate 30-day To-Do list is divided into four groups that address the key facets of the business. I found that a week is a good length of time to dedicate to each aspect of the business and to action set tasks.
Get clear on your financial goals
The first week is dedicated to financial goals. It is vital right at the start to be clear and specific about why you are in business, what you offer and to whom you are selling. It is important to understand where the income is going to come from and for what services. The answers to these drive your brand, your communication style, language and underpin your pricing.
- Define your customer: Is it B2B or B2C? What’s their age, location, occupation, fears, hopes, worries as it relates to your service.
- Set up a method to track your income to determine which products and services are most profitable.
- Review your pricing in terms of where are you in the market. What value do you offer and where would like to be positioned? You may be better off adding more value and also increasing your prices to attract the customers you want. This may also help eliminate your competition.
- Are you underpricing yourself because you aren’t clear on what value you offer? If you are doing this then your customer will too. Do an inventory of all the value you offer in your product or service; including emotional, physical, professional, post-sale service. Then create copy that communicates this to your customer.
- Review your offerings; what is the intersection of your passions and your customer’s dream service solution? Can you create a product that meets this?
- Review your competition. How, what, when can you offer your services that differs from others in the industry?
Create a communication plan
Communication is how you represent your services to your customers: be it written emails, invoices, quotes, flyers, business cards, blog posts, Facebook posts, tweets and so forth.
Your brand usage, the words you use and style of language in your copy tells a customer about you, your services and value you can give them.
- Create a list of topics for your newsletters, blog posts and social media updates
- Practice writing headlines and copy that delivers a specific takeaway value for your customer
- Create a communication schedule for the frequency of your newsletters, blog posts and social media updates
- Schedule these into a 12 month calendar
- Create communications that include a call-to-action so they can be shared. This increases your exposure and directs people back to your website and onto your database.
Devise an online strategy
Your website is your online first impression. You have on average six seconds before a visitor clicks off your website. It is a tool for communicating your message, the value you offer and an opportunity to capture your prospective customers’ email addresses. Refer here for a checklist of what is needed on your site.
- Add opportunities on your website for people to give you their email address. Effective options are a pop-up opt-in, subscribe link within an article or on the sidebar
- Review your “About” page, the most visited page on a website, and ensure it has an opt-in email capture
- Write copy and headlines that clearly communicate to your customer what you do and what you offer
- Place calls-to-action in all areas of your site
- Check your navigation on the site. If you have too many, group them into categories that are logical and help the visitor find the information effortlessly
- In your email capture software such as aweber or mailchimp, configure to include a Thank You page that outlines the type and frequency of communication you will be sending. It manages people’s expectations of the value they can expect.
Create a marketing plan for growth
Take the opportunity to communicate to them who your perfect customer is and how you can add value to them in your new business. Take advantage of this first communication and request everyone to pass your details forward. Do the same on social media.
This can comprise step one of your marketing plan.
Other elements for your marketing plan can include:
- Consider online and offline marketing activities.
- What is your before / during / after sales process? Review and test out on people to refine.
- Every piece of marketing needs to include a call-to-action to encourage the prospect to act. Create a sense of urgency. People will act if they think they will lose something they have or miss out on something they want.
- Consider where your customer hangs out and what they do for a job and how they spend their spare time. Join networking groups, Facebook forums, industry groups, or present at events, exhibit at trade or industry fairs.
- Get amazing testimonials that are meaningful.
- Connect with other small business owners and contribute on their websites. Another approach is to be an affiliate or be part of a referral arrangement. Consider carefully that they are aligned with your customer and business values.
Being a small business owner can be lonely and it is easy to lose confidence. Finding a community of small business owners and a support network is a great way to stay positive and focused. It provides a chance to share challenges and experiences with others. I set up a Mastermind Group that meets weekly. We share our challenges and our ideas, we become accountable each week for the tasks we set and this keeps us on-track and moving forward. It also creates a sense of community and connectedness.
The first 30 days of your business will be exhilarating and a little scary, but with some planning and clear thinking you can navigate them with confidence.
Johannah Barton lives in Bayside Melbourne and married with two young boys. Johannah is the owner of Confetti Design – she designs beautiful websites and offer business and marketing coaching for women in small business. After 15 years in the corporate world she realised she had a wealth of knowledge and experience that could help other women achieve their business dreams. Johannah aims to make the process of delivering an effective website as straight-forward and easy as possible. She believes that business coaching is the magic piece to the puzzle; without it a website is simply static pages with text and images. For more information visit www.confettidesign.com.au.