We all have gaps in our knowledge, sometimes isolating them can be the issue though. Most small business owners will have to be responsible for everything to do with their business from the outset. If you are a Sole Trader there is even more pressure to do and know everything too.
When you first set up your business you have to think of all the bodies you need to notify first, namely CRO (to register your business name), car and house insurance if you work from home or travel for your work. Then you have to think of all the tools you will need to actually run your business. This can range from just a laptop computer down to stock and storage of a huge amount of products. The “education” doesn’t end there though. Suddenly you have this concept become reality and you need to put it in place to get started. Where do you start though?
Having started your business and diligently written up a mission plan, business plan (over 5 years), client profiles/avatars and bought all of your tools/stock. The you are suddenly launched into the terrifying world of promotion. That tight budget you had has now dwindled into non existence and now you need to make money.
Well, as I am a social media nut I would of course say, promote on social media! Yet that can cost – especially at the beginning. You may be lucky and have a good clue of who your clients potentially are but reaching them at the beginning can be the hard part.
This is where the knowledge gaps can appear. Have YOU looked at the gaps in your knowledge? Can you list them? How do you plug these gaps?
Your business is ultimately your baby and it’s difficult to give someone else that power over it at times. Needs must however! You need a logo, you hire a graphic designer. You need finance, you go to a bank. But what if you need a website? Business cards? Or maybe even training in marketing, how to price your business etc?
I have been for a very long time a major advocate for the Local Enterprise Office here in Ireland. They create training to suit new business startups and offer courses for very competitive prices. In my opinion, group training is important at the beginning, this way you then get to hear questions you might not of thought of before. All of the trainers are qualified, insured and respected in their fields. I have personally always found the LEO very helpful, although I have heard people have had different experiences throughout Ireland.
I won’t go into details here about the courses they do as the link above takes you to their website. They are not the only ones that offer support and training though. As we all know, as part of Womens Inspire we have had valuable access to a huge team of qualified people within this group. At conferences we have heard from people and also attended various workshops. There are some businesses who also offer 1-2-1 training too, they can customise it to you suit your needs like business mentoring, coaching, website design and of course social media!
Having all of this support and training at your fingertips is great but do you actually need it? Well lets look at a list of things that are seen as important to mange and run you business and see if you can mentally tick each box.
Not every business has a website but if you do, please look below:
- Is your website mobile friendly?
- Do you have the correct domain name? If not, can you get a divert to the right one?
- If you have a WordPress website and you have “wordpress” in the URL, you can transfer your account and get that removed.
- Do you use and have knowledge of Google Analytics?
- When did you last check all your links work?
- Is your contact form current and working properly?
- Are you updating it regularly with suitable content and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
- Do you have a dedicated budget set aside for marketing your business?
- Do you have branded business cards and flyers?
- Do you carry them on you at all times?
- How often do you attend networking events online and offline?
- Do you have an About section (website/Facebook,etc) explaining who you are and what drives you?
- Is your face seen anywhere online or offline promoting your business?
- Do you Brand your photos with your logo?
- Do you use free or paid for scheduling tools?
- Do you know what is and how to use a Content Plan?
- Do you have dedicated time each week set aside to use said scheduling too and update your Content Plan?
Future Planning and Measurement
- Do you have a direction for your business?
- How much sales do you need each month?
- How do your track the progress of your business?
- What tools are you using to measure your progress?
As small business owners we all have so much to think about and it is hard to do it all. Yet without these basics in mind we can be “Busy Fools”. We all need to make a success of our business but without looking and gaining the expert help we need we may get stuck in the same cycle of living to work, rather than working to live.
Very soon there will be a special membership site for Womens Inspire members to offer this kind of support, please pop back when you can for updates and sign up for details!