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Get your ducks in a row first…

Diane Hall


Yellow rubber ducks all in a row

Sometimes, business ideas can come along unexpectedly. In the clamour to be the first in a new market, or to capitalise on an opportunity, or even to start earning an income you may have lost, you may rush to ‘set your stall out’, so to speak, without thinking about what you need to maintain any initial success, let alone grow your business.

If you happen to be the first in a new market, rest assured, before long, others will join you. And if you’re entering an existing market, you will be competing with rivals from the off. If you do everything half-heartedly, you won’t be able to tempt customers away from your more established competitors—even if you’re the first, you’ll lose your market share to other newcomers who claim they can do everything quicker/better/cheaper than you can.

For the short time it takes to set yourself up professionally, there’s no excuse not to do this. Skipping certain parts of the start-up process may not seem significant now, but it will somewhere down the line, and often at a point that’s harder to come back from.

Here are three important things we suggest you don’t skimp on, in terms of budget, time and effort.

Your market

Learn who your customers are before you begin to sell to them. Even if you’re the first person to offer what you do, once your competitors launch, you won’t have the luxury of being the only one your clients could come to—at this point, knowing the triggers that prompt your customers to buy and the problem you’re solving will help a great deal.

Maybe you offer something that’s a ‘nice to have’ rather than an absolute need. If so, you must work even harder to understand your customer’s thought process that sees them get out their wallet/purse and part with their money. I know of many brands that produce lovely things that, if I ever won the lottery, I would snap up in a heartbeat. There’s no point these brands marketing to me; however much I may love what they provide, I would not be able to afford it/justify the expense without a significant change to my finances. Any money they spend promoting their wares to me will simply be money wasted. In this scenario, these businesses should do their homework first and find where potential customers with a sizeable disposable income hang out.

what goes into a website concept

what goes into a website concept

Your website

If you don’t have an e-commerce arm in 2021, you must have a niche product that only sells itself offline (I can’t even think of an example as I write this, that’s how rare this is nowadays). Online is currently the main way to shop for 95% of products, given lockdown restrictions, and whilst customers may flock back to the high street once these are lifted, it’s unlikely that there will be as many offline shoppers as before the pandemic.

The sheer number of companies that moved online during the last twelve months have only served to populate it more. Standing out from the virtual crowd is undoubtedly much harder than it was ten years ago. An amateurish, basic or clunky website will not do you any favours whatsoever. Get your site up and running before you even begin to promote yourself…where would you even send your prospects in the meantime?

A well designed, well-functioning and effective website is not as expensive as you may think. Be warned: if you think you can compete with your rivals online with a Wordpress basic blog site, you’re wrong. Customers expect more these days, and as many people shop with their phones, you need to ensure your site is mobile-friendly, too.

Your customer care

Think of the process your customers go through to buy from you. Maybe they have to call you with their details/specifics. If you’re never available to take their call, this won’t go down well. Perhaps your industry routinely provides after-care when someone purchases their products, but you don’t see the point…again, this won’t endear you to current and potential clients. Maybe you have a visually-attractive website but it just talks about you…

Your customers want to feel special. They want you to earn their business. If you don’t care about them, you’ll only sell to them once, we guarantee it.

Being able to see what you offer/sell objectively, from your customers’ side of the fence, will be one of the most useful things you can do when starting out, and it should be a task you commit to before you even start promoting yourself. Why leave any huge gaps/errors in your offering for your customers to find?

These are the building blocks of any successful business, and whilst we’re sure there are more things to consider, these three suggestions will be up there every time. Don’t leave thoughts of your company’s image or your target customer until after you start trading—if you do, you’ll be playing catch up with your competitors for a very long time.

If you need any help with your marketing or website don't hesitate to get in touch with Novus Marketing Solutions

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