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Things to Think About when Setting up a Business

As I specialise in providing Responsive Websites, SEO and Online Marketing for start-ups, trades and small and medium sized businesses I often have to advise people on the ins and outs of starting a business project.

Luckily I have a wealth of project planning and management experience from my days spent as a Design/Project Engineer and Six Sigma Belt plus the experience I have gained over the last few years running my own web design and online marketing business and being a commercial web developer.

As a Project Engineer I have worked on some very large projects worth many millions, from air conditioning for large JCB Articulated Dump Trucks they use in Quarries through to Process Improvement Programs for companies such as Ransomes and American Standard.

Having worked on commercial websites that cost in the region of £50,000 also helps in providing advice and tips to new customers as the issues of importance are the same for a large or small business.

I often feel despair at some of the errors people make when branching out and expecting a new business to take off within a few months. Most small businesses expect that having just a website will be the key to earning endless riches but they usually come down to earth with a big shock after a few months. Often egos can get in the way and people don’t always want to take advice and having read things on Google think they are now completely armed to be the next Apple Inc or Yell style business.

The trouble is it doesn’t work like that in today’s competitive markets and you need to work much harder and smarter to grow and move your business on. To this end I have compiled a list of helpful tips and questions to ask yourself and for any budding business to take on board and help along the way in starting out.

  • When you set a budget for a new website always put aside at least £1000.
  • Always allow enough funding for Flyers, Business Cards, Literature and Letterheads.
  • Consider if you are going to use your own address and phone number or whether you are going to need business premises. If you intend to work from home how do you feel about customers coming to your home or phoning you up on your private number?
  • Consider getting a virtual address and a business phone number that forwards to your mobile.
  • Consider having a separate mobile phone for your business.
  • Always write up a Business Plan.
  • Set up a business bank account. Research the fees from different Banks.
  • Do you have the time to run your business as you want to? Will your family or pets be ok?
  • Set aside a budget for things like Pay-Per-Click campaigns, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Campaigns, Newsletter Campaigns, Traditional Advertising in printed media such as local newspapers and magazines. This can be at least £300 a month or more.
  • How much are you willing to spend on Yell and other directory advertising?
  • What will your fuel and car insurance costs be?
  • Do I need to purchase a commercial vehicle?
  • What about Public Liability Insurance?
  • How much do you want to spend on YouTube advertising?
  • Do you have someone in mind to run your marketing campaigns both online and offline? Do you have the time to do it yourself? Reckon on needing days and weeks not hours to do it properly.
  • Just having a new website sitting there languishing at the bottom of page 10 on Google is not going to get you any business, you need to leverage the power of online marketing – so have you allowed in your budget for this?
  • What about Printing, Software and Stationery Costs?
  • Will you need a Laptop or a better PC?
  • How much does it cost to have a professional logo made?
  • How much does it cost to have your company branding professionally produced?
  • How do I go about Search Engine Optimisation?
  • Do I need a blog?
  • What about SEO for other Search Engines like Bing or Yahoo?
  • What about selling things on eBay?
  • Do you have the commitment do it all?
  •  What about the legal requirements of running a business?
  • Are you willing to Network with other business and potential customers?
  • What about Business Directories and similar things are they any good and will they help with traffic to my site?
  • How good does the quality of website have to be?
  • What is a good website design that will engage new and existing customers?
  • What is this Responsive Web Design thing and do I need it?
  • Have I allowed enough in my budget for stock.
  • If I am setting up selling a product have you thought about patents and prototypes?
  • Who am I going to get to manufacture my products?
  • Will I need an accountant?
  • How do I register a limited company and do I need to?
  • What are the legal requirements of being a Sole Trader or Partnership?
  • How do I find out who my potential customers are?
  • How do I use Google Analytics to measure my website performance?
  • Can I get away with using a Hotmail or Gmail address for my company?
  • Have you considered business to business services, maybe you can provide services to another business in exchange for a service you need?
  • Are you prepared to be out of pocket for a while?
  • Are you prepared to probably not make a profit in the first 12-18 months and what is a profit?
  • Why hasn’t Google listed my site on Page 1 instantly?
  • How long does it take for Google to get my business on Page 1?
  • Can I get government or local authority contracts?
  • How do I go about getting a video on YouTube?
  • How do I fill in a tax return?
  • Can I build a website myself or is it better to have a professional designer do it? If you really value your business you would get a professional to do it. Having a poor design will reflect on your business.
  • How do I set up a PPC Campaign?
  • What goes into online marketing?
  • Have I got room for a home office?
  • How do I use Twitter, Facebook and Google+?
  • What is YouTube and what is Vimeo and can they help my business?
  • Is it a good idea to purchase Facebook and Twitter Fans?
  • What is Adwords and PPC?

Running your own business is the most rewarding thing or the most soul destroying thing in the world if it fails and a lot often do. You have to have grit and determination and be prepared to take a few hits to be successful but armed with knowledge and experience you can grow a new business into something special to be proud of.

The above list is just some of the things I can think about off the top of my head that go into running a business and no doubt there is much more.

At Anodised Blue I can help and advise on a lot of it especially when it comes to web design and online marketing for small and start-up businesses. If you are after a web design, a social media campaign or professional online marketing come and have a chat with me and I will be happy to give some help to grow your business.

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