Starting up a business for the first time can be very daunting and there are so many different things to think about. During my 15+ years in business, I have helped many small business start-ups. I am also a business mentor to many start-ups. I even offer the service free of charge as I am sick and tired of getting a phone call from a newly formed business owner who are looking for me to wave a magic wand and make everything better because they have been ripped off by some unethical company wanting to con them into handing their money over based on false promises.

These unethical companies don’t think about the business owner trying to make a living in order to pay their mortgage and feed their kids. I have even had conversations where the start-up is in tears as they don’t have enough money to pay normal monthly bills due to a sales person selling them a service or product (usually within advertising) promising (but never guaranteeing) that it will turn into lots of business, knowing in reality, it will never happen.

As many start-up business owners have a limited budget to start with, it is important that you are getting the best deal for your money without compromising on service or quality.

Are you going to be virtual or office based?

At one time there was a certain amount of stigma attached to business owners working from home but these days, that has all changed with trying to find a good work / home balance. I have a friend who runs his six figure business from his home office. He communicates with all his staff via Skype. This saves him a small fortune each year which all goes onto his profit. The key here is not to spend one penny unless you have to.

If you want to run your business from home but don’t want to publish your home address, the best solution would be to get a virtual office address. There are many options here. You can go with one of the big players such as Regus or Your City Office (the latter is cheaper) or you can go and see one of your local virtual office providers. Make sure they also have meeting room facilities that you can use if you need to meet face to face with a prospect or customer.

If you really do need to be office based, then my advice would be to research your local area and list down everyone who offers office space. Go and see all these places and make a short list of the offices that match your criteria, suitably located and has a good atmosphere. Write the associated costs next to each then barter with all of them by saying you have found another place cheaper. I have always done this over the years and have always got myself a discount.

Now, get your telecoms in order

It does not matter if you have decided on a home office or physical office, one thing you will need is great telecoms that won’t let you down. You need to go with a business phone line and great reliable broadband package so you receive the rapid support benefits when you need it the most. There is nothing more frustrating than your broadband going down when you have a list of important emails to send.

Next step is to sort out your marketing strategy

Depending on the nature of your business, it will depend on the direction you go in when putting your marketing strategy together. One thing I always advise is for you to get yourself a website that is going to convert into business. Get yourself signed up to LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms as I have generated loads of business over the years via Twitter and LinkedIn. The best thing of all, it’s all free. All you have to do is invest a little bit of your time each day, week or month. Promoting your brand awareness.

Lastly but most importantly

People do not care about YOU or YOUR business so whenever you post or write anything, make sure it relates to THEM. If you want to target construction companies, make sure you direct them to a page on your website that fully relates to the construction industry. This way you will turn all that brand awareness into real business.

There are loads of other ways to promote your business without spending loads of money so the next time you receive a call from any promising the earth, take the information down and kindly inform them that you will research their product or service first. Go online and check out all reviews (on third party review sites) before you think about investing one penny. Search for their brand name followed by the word ‘reviews’. If they are an unethical company, you will no doubt find loads of negative reviews splashed all over the internet.

I am always happy to provide free business and marketing help and advice. You can get in touch with me via LinkedIn anytime. I would rather we have a five-minute chat if it means you are not going to get ripped off. It may be the reason your business is a success or a total failure.

Best of luck.