Setting up a new business can be daunting, with a lot of things to bear in mind. But that’s why you have a business strategy…
As someone who has set up several businesses (with varying degrees of success) I can testify that a plan can be super useful in the long run.
Now, this is going to be a really quick guide to setting up a business strategy. The aim is to get you started and allow you to get going, and even find some useful resources.
So how do you create a business strategy?
Step one: You’ve got an idea – is it viable?
Ready go start on your business?
First things first, do some research and see if you will have any competitors. Don’t worry, competitors are good. In fact, competitors suggest that this is a market that is potentially successful.
Don’t have any competition? Ask yourself why. What is the solution that your business is solving and is there a demand for this solution?
The best way to find out if this is a good business plan is to identify your target market and ask people directly. Pop on social media, ask the sorts of people you know who you’re targeting, stop people in the street. Whatever…. Find out if you’re going to be wasting time and money BEFORE you start spending time and money on this project.
Step two: Draw up a business model
So your idea is solid. How are you going to deliver your business model to the world?
A website is usually the obvious way to offer a platform for your business.
But do you need to offer a checkout? Are you building an email subscription model? How can people hire you? How will people find you? Do you need to work on content? And what about social media?
Find out where your target audience spends their time online and make sure you build your presence there.
As an example, a company offering financial support to freelancers might find that their target audience spends most of their time on Linkedin or Reddit.
But a start-up eco-footwear brand might find that their target demographic prefers Instagram or TikTok.
Like much of the business strategy, it is going to depend on the next point, which is…
Step three: Have an ideal customer avatar
Every business has an ideal target customer. And no, ‘everyone’ is not a target customer.
Even if you sell generic mens underwear, you will have a ‘type’. And finding your type is crucial to your business strategy and long term success.
Because by understanding who your avatars are, you can build content that talks to them.
The eco-shoes example above, you might find is suited to 20-28 year old women who are very style conscious but also worried about their impact on the environment. They’re probably vegan, enjoy nightlife and music festivals and visit the gym three times a week.
Already with this very vague outline you can see how that can help your business strategy, right?
What about the generic men’s underwear?
They’re guys, between the ages of 30-45, who like to feel comfortable and aren’t too worried about brand names. They work in a traditional industry such as finance or engineering, play several different sports in their free time and like to do all their shopping online to save time.
See how this can be helpful?
Step four: Look at your brand as an entity
Your company isn’t just a company. It has a persona… This is the way it interacts with people online, the tone of voice used in emails, marketing content and even how it plans for the future.
Known as brand pillars, the persona is a useful way to understand your company and how it is perceived.
The brand pillars themselves are: purpose, perception, personality, promotion and position.
Taking a simple overview of the brand pillars can be enough to get started.
Step five: The budget
Whatever your business, having a budget is crucial in the short term and the long run. Every business costs money to start, and this needs to be factored into your business strategy.
Lets say you’re starting a pop-up food business.
You’ll need to earn certifications for food handling and prep, you’ll need to buy equipment, stock and probably pay for your pitch at the local food market.
Before you’ve flipped a single burger, you’ve probably spent about £3000.
And that’s not even taking into consideration fuel to get there, paper napkins for your customers, chalk for your chalkboard and factoring in the fact that your first event might be a washout.
Even once you have all the equipment, how much do you need per event? Stock, fuel, pitches and an extra 10% for unforeseen circumstances?
Even if you’re selling a digital product, you need a budget to get up and running.
As a blogger you will need a website with hosting, a good wifi connection, an assortment of digital products with recurring monthly subscriptions.
Starting any business costs money – you just need to understand how much.
Planning vs doing it
With all of this in mind, it is also possible to over plan. Some people will plan the strategy down to the last penny- but like anything, the real experience comes in the trenches.
You don’t really know how your business will be received until you actually present it to the public. And like most things, your plans might change as you react to external influences.
Once you have enough of a business plan, stop thinking and start doing. The sooner you start to really deliver your business the sooner you can make some mistakes, which is when you really learn about how to run a business.
Need any help with your content strategy? I’ve been there and done that, and worked with plenty of entrepreneurs in my time. From digital start-ups, to clothing, food and more…