The BPS Blog

WOMENANDFILE

Getting the word out

You have spent a lot of time and effort getting your start-up business into a position where it is ready to take orders and start generating income.  You have products or services ready to roll, and you have sufficient finance in position to cover the early days and to pay the bills that will come from suppliers and from the basic running of your business in terms of office costs.  Of course, though, the thing that this is all about is your customers, and although you have done the research to know that particular goods or services are needed by a particular segment of the market, you now have to get the word out to the people who are going to buy your product, and in a way that makes them want to spend money on

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businessmanonthephone

Getting first things straight

A lot of the effort that an entrepreneur puts into a start-up business is geared to simply getting the business into an administrative position to begin doing the things that it should be doing, and therefore generating income.  These early stages are not often income generating in themselves, but they are important in terms of completing the groundwork that is necessary to generate income later on, turning the start-up business into a profit-making organisation.

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finance

Pitching for finance

Whoever your target is when pitching for finance, one of the tools that you will be most likely to use for the pitch is the business plan that you spent time and effort on when you were in the initial stages of your business start-up.  The business plan will have clear indications of the goals of your start-up business, and a description of the methods that you will use when growing your business.  It should also indicate the benefits of your business and show the value of your business to your customers, which in turn will demonstrate the potential value of your business in investment terms.

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sterlingmoney

Raising finance

If you are lucky, you will be able to approach your new start-up business with a certain amount of capital already in the bank, so that you can cover the almost inevitable period during the early days of your business when income is low or zero and expenditure is higher, as initial investments are made.  Even in a low-cost business, capital will still be needed to do things such as acquire web domain names, set up a website, complete the various registration procedures required by the authorities, buy office supplies, and complete any number of other small tasks, the costs of which can quickly add up.  All of these things require finance, and if you are an entrepreneur, you will also be looking at covering your own personal bills for food and rent.

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officeworkers2

Building a management team

As an entrepreneur with a start-up business, you are probably pretty clear in your mind about who is running your company, because you are.  However, this does not necessarily mean that you are the only one making decisions or influencing decisions that affect your new venture.  This is one of the important areas to consider when business planning and putting together your different business plans for consideration by potential backers or investors.  For example, some investors in your company may want to have some say themselves in the decisions that you make for your business, and you need to decide if this is acceptable to you or not.

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sterlingnotes

The value of your business

As you are preparing your next marketing campaign based on your background research into your product, customers, and competitors, it is worth reflecting a little more on your product or service from your customers’ point of view.  Although it is easy to overlook, your product or service has a value for your customers, otherwise they would not be spending money to obtain it.  Of course, if the value to your customer in monetary terms is higher than the price that they are paying to obtain it, then there may be a margin that you could examine to increase your profitability.  In more sustainable terms of customer satisfaction, however, if you can find out what it is that makes your product or service of value, you can look at ways of increasing that value to your customer, and then at increasing value and profit both for yourself and your customers.  Then you are becoming more like a partner to your customers and they may be more likely to stay with you than opt for a competitor.

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business

Your business’ benefits

When you are starting out with your newly formed business, eager and ready to attract customers to buy into your wonderful business idea, is an easy trap to fall into to imagine that your customers will view your product and your business from the same perspective that you do.  In fact, your customers will perceive your business in a totally different way, and what is more, they are likely to be making comparisons between what you offer and the value of your business and the same things in relation to your competitors in the marketplace.

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pen

Are you making yourself clear?

One trap that many start-up businesses fall into is spreading their marketing message too broadly, and by trying to attract a wide range of customers, actually attracting few or even none.  The message that you are putting out in your communication should be clear: you should be pointing out the value of your business to your customers.  Moreover, as you will read in many marketing manuals, you should be selling “the sizzle not the sausage”, as it is benefits that make an impact, rather than features.  To do this effectively, you need to have a clear idea of what it is that you are offering and then produce focused marketing messages to push it to potential customers.

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2011riskgraph

Growing your business

Even with a great idea, detailed and realistic planning, solid financial backing, and a well laid out marketing strategy, start-up businesses can find that the path from start-up to growth can be a long and difficult one.  Growing your business can be a long learning process, with many highs and lows along the way.  You may have gone through several drafts of your business plan before settling on a version that describes your position and aspirations, and perhaps a slightly differently targeted version that you can use for raising finance.  You will have done the research on gaps in the market and the value of your business to your customers, so that you know what sort of price levels you can aim at and how this affects the balance sheet against projected spending.  However, none of this is a cast iron guarantee that business growth will be immediate

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glasses,pen,paper

Getting a start-up going

The number of things that a new entrepreneur needs to do to get a start-up business running and, even more importantly, make it profitable can feel like an overwhelming burden in the early stages.  From tax papers to financing, from market research to building a competitive website, and so much more, there seems to be an unending list of tasks, and in the early stages very few of these bring direct income into the business

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