So you are thinking about launching a startup—my hat is off to you. Today’s successful entrepreneur is an innovative explorer; he is a modern-day Magellan poised with spyglass in hand deciphering the waves of challenge in the marketplace seas that cause so many to become shipwrecked. According to the Silicon Valley Bank ‘Startup Outlook 2013 Report’, most startups fail to see any profit earnings, even when they rake in substantial topline revenues in capital-efficient arenas like software where average startup costs continue to decline on a yearly basis. You can earn an MBA from Wharton and have a nest egg set aside to fund your startup expenses, or you can be that guy like Steve Jobs who simply launched his business from a garage and remain on an equal market playing field, as running the test of trials and tribulations is applied to any company big or small. There are many seeds to plant that will encourage business growth that could fill entire library volumes, but by considering and embracing these three your entrepreneurial journey will likely set sail towards the charted shores of financial gain.
Your online marketing should be defined by these three categories: your web blog, social media presence and your SEO strategy. There is enough information for novice online marketers to educate themselves on the general rules of successful SEO and learn by making mistakes. However, if you have the funds it is almost always better to hire an SEO consultant to handle your online marketing endeavors.
When wondering how important a blog really is, just ask Google. In the past Google placed a heavy emphasis on keywords requiring bloggers to fine-tune the right keyword density. But in our post-Hummingbird arena Google deciphers and favors websites as being “authoritative” based on content quality and how it verbally responds to search query language. Gone are the days of lazy “blah blah blah” with a few keywords and back links tossed in for good measure. Your company blog must have a catchy title (H1), be well-written, have a unique voice and provide detailed answers to all the commonly asked questions.
Your social media profile doesn’t have to include every gun in the arsenal of media warfare. A good place to start is with these big three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Rather than sign up for 10 different platforms, start out by really developing these three and collect a healthy following. Your profiles should brand your business above all else with colorful eye-catching images, and you will want to engage as many industry specific conversations and blog shares as possible.
Watch out for Predators and Trolls
Predators and trolls are infamous for stealing patents and suing startups. Startup companies are viewed as vulnerable targets and should therefore stay alert to the dog-eat-dog world they work in. You can have a fancy custom website with all the bells and whistles and an air-tight SEO campaign, but if you can’t keep your place of business functioning as smoothly as your website, you are asking for a negative experience as it will stand out as a hot spot for scamming. A number of startups have been devastated and forced to close their doors due to shady individuals partnered with crooked lawyers who pull the old “slip and fall” trick. These people are fluent in safety laws and if your office is guilty of violating one of them, you could be sitting in court. Be sure your business complies with local fire safety laws, and keep security cameras in plain view to discourage any foul play.
You should also make sure your electrical wiring, plumbing and gas are all running in perfect order. According to 911 Restoration of Connecticut maintaining sanitary conditions are actions vital to protecting your professional reputation, and if you fail to maintain your plumbing or properly clean any contaminated areas, your clients will walk away. Or worse you may be poached and sued over it.
Protect Your Products and Brands
The last thing you want is for someone to steal your idea. According to ‘Forbes’, business trolls (wealthy groups or individuals that acquire patents from small companies or entrepreneurs to use them for generating revenue through litigation or licensing) launched the majority of patent lawsuits at 61 percent filed in the U.S. during 2011. Make sure your products and services are properly patented and protected from these soul-crushing jackals before you open your front doors for business.
Once you have planted the seeds of a strong online marketing campaign, and you have your safety shields up, and your products and services are legally safeguarded from trolls, you will be ready to learn by trial and error as you gradually discover what it takes to turn a profit in a new and exciting entrepreneurial landscape.
3 Seeds for Securing Your Successful Start-Up