Updated: Mar 20
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have likely just started your own business or are thinking about doing so.
Good luck, you have an exciting journey ahead!
It is assumed that you have not jumped into starting your own business without exploring whether you can succeed as a business owner.
When starting a new business, there are some basic strategies that help you focus on how to bring everything altogether to ensure that you are going to be able to overcome challenges and be successful in your new endeavour.
Every business owner will tell you that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Having a small yet thorough business plan will help you focus on the elements required for success. There is a great deal of resources on the Government Business Website: Business plans | business.gov.au that can give you a good head start!
As part of your business plan, you need to consider technology & infratructure, marketing and sales. As marketers, designers and printers, we recommend a number of tips and actions to be taken including a few goals to set before getting yourself knee deep into unfamiliar territory.
Below are our TOP 3 elements that are critical in setting up the right foundation for your future:
Technology & Infrastructure
TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE
By now, you have likely settled on a business name and (hopefully) registered the business name. The next step is to get all of the technology & infrastructure pieces in line.
Organise a Domain. What do we mean by domain? When you search for a business or brand and you land on a website, you will notice in the search bar that there is a web address, usually something like www.wollongongprinting.com It is ideal to find a domain that offers:
Self-managed Control Panel – This gives you the freedom to connect your domain name at any point.
Accounting Package with Client Management Package. A big part of owning a business is understanding how to manage, invest and record your funds and client transactions. It is best to start with a program like Xero, Quickbooks or MYOB to start recording transactions, preparing quotes, sending invoices and keeping tabs on funds going in and out.
Choose a Web Platform that can be “self-managed” without the need for a “professional” or extensive training. The best ‘starter’ website platforms are ones that can be:
Easy to use
Don’t not require much training
Offers Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) opportunities Some examples of these would be; WIX, Squarespace, Shopify or Wordpress WITH Elementor.
Engage an SEO Specialist who can provide you with a competitor report and ranking analysis. What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and involves a number of strategies components to ensure that your business website is ranking near the top when people search for your services. Having an SEO specialist assist, will allow you to embed the right information in your website for Google Bots to do their job more efficiently and allow for your audience to find you more easily.
Set up business pages in
Google My Business (ESSENTIAL)
“Industry specific” directories We all know how important a social media presence is in the business sphere now days. In order to stay up to date, build an audience, attract more leads and reach your community, social media is essential. However, it is also important to select the RIGHT social media platform for YOUR audience. Pick the platform that your audience is hanging out on set-up your business account.
Start following people in your target audience. For instance, if you are an electrician, follow construction companies, builders, father’s groups and groups of a similar nature
Collect business cards and email addresses and add them to your accounting package. There people will become part of your audience when you start marketing. They will be the first ones to see your content and offering.
Join local Business pages, directories and groups. For example if you live in Wollongong, start searching for ‘Wollongong Community’, ‘Illawarra Businesses’, ‘Illawarra Community Noticeboard’
Partner with other businesses in your local area or industry. Collaborate on marketing programs, exchange services or simply like, tag & share each other’s content.
BRAND CREATION Once you are feeling pretty tech savvy and have all of your essential business infrastructure in place, it’s time to get your creative cap on and hone in on your business ‘branding’. This is another important component of your business, at the end of the day you want to build a brand that people REMEMBER and the best way to do that is to spend time creating a logo, colour palette, message etc that people can’t forget!
Logo Creation Logos are fundamental in brand creation as they are the business identifier. Your marketing elements should always have the logo displayed in them in order for your target customers to recognise your brand. This process is called brand recall.
Look at your competitors who are well-established, ignore the “new” ones and see how they present themselves.
Jump online and google Logos from your industry to also see what most use as a colour palette and style.
Choose some colours for your colour palette. For instance, you are starting a plumbing business. Is purple the best colour to use? Or would you think blue is more appropriate?
Consider your audience. What styles, colours & messages will they resonate with?
Follow the trend by thinking what is fresh but what also does not age!
Always start with a Black and White logo as this allows you to see how a logo will look when used in “cheaper” and “more conservative mediums (Newletters, newspapers, stationery).
Attempt to design a logo that is easily recognizable. Simple yet effective is always good!
Consider quality and size. Print a smaller version of your logo (Used online and business stationery like business cards) Can it be read easily? Also consider how it will look and how easily it will be reproduced for your signage or on a large vinyl banner or even a billboard.
Adopt a minimalistic approach which will allow you to concentrate on the appearance and brand recollection as opposed to the message. Being minimalist will allow for a less confusing logo Overall, it is important for your company logo design to be a memorable work of art that can efficiently convey a brand message. Your logo needs to be scalable and flexible to work across all online and physical mediums. Make sure your logo is a standout in the large crowd of competitors.
Develop a slogan A tag line or slogan can be a useful asset as it conveys on the brand promise. It creates a competitive advantage, encourages greater brand recall and escalates your brand. This is an extension of your business mission that reaches your audience and escalates your goodwill as a company! (i.e. TELSTRA - Connecting people, NIKE - just do it, NUTRAGRAIN - The Breakfst of champions, GILLETTE - the best a man can get, RED BULL - gives you wings, AMEX - don’t leave home without it)
Brand Style Guide Once you have your logo & tagline, it is also useful to get a ‘Brand Style Guide’ created as this provides you with a package of all the important information about your branding including:
Primary logo – What your MAIN complete logo looks like
Secondary logo – What OTHER ways you logo may appear
Colour Palette & Colour Codes – VERY useful for print re-production
Typography – What fonts are used in your logo
Now that you have developed your winning branding for your business, it is time to get that branding in front of some faces – and not just any faces, but the faces of YOUR target market. This is where marketing becomes and continues to be an essential component of your business success and growth.
When it comes to your marketing Mix there are no rules around how many moving pieces you can have, however, whatever you choose to use to market your business should be:
Relevant to your business
Relevant to your audience
The TWO main areas of marketing are:
DIGITAL – Social Media, Website, Emails, Videos …
Social Media posts should share content that is relevant to your audience, appropriately branded, consistent with your business message and includes a CALL TO ACTION. You want your audience to engage with you and REMEMBER you. You don’t need to be posting EVERY day, but you should be showing up regularly, even on a weekly basis. HOT TIP – You can use programs like Canva & Adobe Illustrator to set-up templates for your social media platforms. You can also schedule straight from Canva to your social media platform
Website content should be clean, branded, easy to navigate and enticing. Make sure to encourage the collection of visitors email addresses, so you can use these details to market to people who are ready (or almost ready) to buy.
Emails are an EXCELLENT tool! If you have selected a website platform that allows you to send EDM’s (electronic direct mail), make sure to take advantage of this. Send regular emails (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) to your email list sharing useful information, Hot Tips, Updates, NEW specials or Giveaways. The more you can engage them, the better!
PRINT – Business cards, Flyers, Signage, Banners …
If you are new to business, a business card is ALWAYS the BEST place to start. This is something you can easily and quickly hand out, contains all your contact details and makes a positive impression.
If you want to take your marketing a step further, perhaps you are running a promotion, special or introducing a NEW product/service, flyers are a brilliant option. Make sure to track the success of you flyers with a code.
Signage also makes a great impression for all non-online businesses. Having some eye-catching signage, appropriately positioned can leave a lasting impression on your target audience!
With all marketing, CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
The results from your marketing activities may not necessarily show up overnight, however, ongoing marketing activities have a HUGE impact on your business growth.
At this point, this all might be sounding a little bit daunting. However, don’t fret – that is what we are here for!
Our team is made up of graphic designers, marketing professionals, business professionals and, of course, print professionals. We can help assist with each of these elements.
If you are a business 'start-up' looking for guidance and assistance, make sure to get in touch with our friendly team!