Five tips to get your small business up and running in its first year

The Australian unemployment rate is currently sitting at 5.5 per cent, and it has lead to a surge in the small business start-up scene. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 per cent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting.

So what does a small business need to do to thrive in its first year in business?

Small business partners planning session

Here are five tips to help you build a robust marketing strategy and plan for your business.

1. Create a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy lays the foundations for building a successful business, and it consists of four components:

  • Goals – Set monthly revenue goals; know how many new customers you need to reach these revenue goals. And set marketing goals for your business e.g. conversion rate of leads to customers.

  • Ideal client – Research and understand who your ideal clients are, how they research and make purchase decisions, what information they need to make a purchase, and what problems they have that you can solve.

  • Point of difference – Identify what your point of difference is. Your point of difference could be the little touches that you do, a unique service or product that you offer, your staff, your packaging or simply you.

  • Content plan – You will need to understand where your ideal client is consuming content, and searching for information, and plan your content for each platform.

2. Build a marketing plan

Once you have researched your ideal client, you will have a firm understand of who your ideal clients are, how they make purchase decisions, what information they need to make purchase decisions and where they start their search for your product/service. Build your marketing plan around this research.

So for example if they search on Google, invest in Google Ads, landing pages, content offers and optimising your website for search engines, and blog regularly. If they are on LinkedIn, have a content plan in place to educate and add value to your audience.

Don’t underestimate the power of building relationships via networking and speaking at events. There are so many great networking events available now to small-business owners. However, do not go with the intention to sell and hand out your business cards.

3. Have a monthly marketing spend

To reach your ideal client, you will need to have a monthly marketing spend allocated from when you launch your business. This spend can grow as your business revenue grows, but it’s imperative to the success of your business.

If you do not invest in marketing your small business and your brand, how will it to grow?

4. Allocate time every day to market your business

Marketing your business is something that you need to work at every single day. A good approach is to block out time at the start of each day, to work on marketing tasks and activities. Start with one hour per day, and it will soon become a habit.

By continually focussing on ways to market and grow your business, you will gain traction with your new business.

5. Know what’s working

You need to know what is giving you a return on investment, what’s driving the most number of customers in your business. Understand your Google Analytics, your social-media insights and your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data to get a feel for where your marketing plan is having the biggest impact.

When you find a marketing channel mix that is working for your business, stick with it and invest more in these channels!

Vanessa Geraghty, Founder and Principal Marketing Consultant, Vivacity Marketing

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