As an entrepreneur, you have the great fortune of being able to get tons of information about how to start a business, build your brand and create a community. However, this can be really overwhelming and many entrepreneurs don’t know where to start. Once you sift through all the information you can get stuck trying to decide what tools and services you should use to start your online business. Should you use WordPress to power your website? How involved should you be in social media?
When I founded my business, I had to ask myself all of these questions and more. Here are a few tips for anyone making the jump to entrepreneurship with questions on how to get started.
Share your story.
In the first stages of entrepreneurship, it is so very important to make sure that YOU are visible online and connected to your business. People love great products and services, but if you share your story, people will want to support you as well. Start with the business networks like LinkedIn, but don’t simply have a profile – optimize it! Feature links to your business and social profiles. Lastly, use personal branding sites like Vizify to show a full representation of your life, work and interests.
Start with a simple website.
Many people make the mistake either waiting to launch a site (with coming soon messages) or investing so much in a web presence that delivers more that they will ever use or need. My favorite website tool is by far Weebly. It is free and there are low-cost options for upgrades! For start-ups this is where it’s at. It is easy to manage, and It allows for some cool functions, such as imbedding maps and calendars, links to PayPal and/or shopping carts. When you are getting started, don’t go through the hassle of getting a web designer and developer to create a flashy, unnecessary website. Start simple and focus on your business.
Become a Testing Guru.
Maybe you have already launched your website, embedded Google analytics (also free), set up your Google AdWords and perhaps some Facebook advertisements. Congratulations, now you are in the world of test and track! My favorite tool to use in this area is Lander. Through Lander, you can set up various landing pages and conduct A/B split testing easily and it is also FREE! Lander also allows you to track on mobile devices and has the ability to send email responses if people sign up for updates. Testing can often be complex and time consuming. Lander App karate chops the time and effort it takes and lets you manage it with simplicity.
In short, you need to be a part of your business narrative, start simple and continually track and test to determine your success. If you still need an extra push to get going, buy the Lean Startup by Eric Reis. It will show you why starting small (and cheap) is the way to build great businesses. Good luck!
Dominique Aubry is an educational strategist and consultant who works with ed entrepreneurs to help build companies and non-profits. She also founded BlackListed, an online e-commerce site promoting unique products and services by African-American Business owners.