Starting a new business

Here are some things you need to consider when starting a new business

CHOOSING A NAME FOR YOUR NEW BUSINESS

So you’re starting a new business and need to know where to begin. In our previous article entitled Starting a New Business For the First Time? We discussed the fundamental steps for starting any new business. Since we chose to address the administrative aspects in that article, let’s now look at the more creative elements here. We’ll begin with the most important aspect of the process; your company’s name.

When considering a name, it’s important to have a process. This is why we’ll lay out the process that we use when helping our clients choose the right name for their company. The following is a list of basic questions to get you on your way to choosing the perfect name.

DEMOGRAPHIC AND PSYCHOGRAPHICS

  • Who are you hoping to sell your product or service to?
  • What sort of things do you imagine those people do and like in their own lives?
  • What sort of things do you think they don’t like?
  • Where do you think these people would live and work?

We recommend going through each of these four questions and writing down at least five responses. You shouldn’t feel forced into a corner when choosing a business name, but you should certainly know your audience before you begin. When determining who it is that you want to sell your product and service to, it’s important to really try and put yourself in their shoes. Do you imagine that the people you’re selling to are elderly, young, male, female, etc.? All of these little factors should be considered when you’re choosing the name of your business.

It may seem unnecessary, but consider the following: Imagine for a moment that you live in a conservative area, where many of the people in your neighborhood and surrounding area are church-going, family-oriented, individuals. Let’s further speculate that in this area sexual jokes are not well received. It might not be a great idea to name your company, Morning Wood Lumber & Designs. Especially not with the strategically placed log that takes center stage in the image below.

While this example of a poorly named business is probably obvious on its face, it’s not always this clear. Take for instance our company, The Grey Matter. The company name plays on the scientific/biological grey/gray matter of the brain, as well as referencing the owner of the company, Robert Grey. However, a 2014 movie by the same name also exists. Worse still, the movie was not well received by critics. So until we outperform The Grey Matter movie, anytime our business is searched a three-star rated listing will show up first.

Another issue that we have to contend with is Wikipedia. Wikipedia will almost always outperform any business listing on the search engine results page. So if you name your new business after an object or definable subject matter, you’ll find yourself sitting behind Wikipedia forever. Don’t let this discourage you from naming your business what you want to name it, just be aware of these things as you move forward with starting your new business.

CHOOSING A URL FOR YOUR NEW BUSINESS

While it may not be the first thing that you think about, the URL (website address) is something that you should strongly consider when starting your new business. It’s also important to consider this while you’re working to choose a name for your new business. If the URL name of your business is already taken, you may find yourself using a URL that’s not ideal. URLs that end in “.com” are still the most ideal URLs you can purchase. Everyone is still more likely to remember a “.com” URL than any other type (.biz, .co, .info, .net).

When you want to check the availability of a URL, go to Godaddy or any other domain registrar, and search for your preferred URL. Before you purchase anything, let’s discuss a few things you might not know, and what you want to avoid when moving forward with this step.

 

Godaddy and many other registrars have fairly similar pricing when it comes to the purchasing of a URL. Most of the time a URL will cost anywhere from $5 – $30. However, there are times when the name you’re looking for is either a “premium” name or is unavailable using the exact spelling you’ve chosen. If you’re choosing a name URL that contains only a few characters (five to ten) you might find yourself out of luck. Most short URLs have already been snagged already. However, sometimes you’ll find one that’s available, but the cost can be outlandish.

If you find a URL that you really like and it’s super expensive, I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t always make a huge difference in the traffic one will get to their website. It can have some impact, but it’s not a guarantee. The other message you might see when searching a URL is something that you should be very aware of. Sometimes you’ll search for a URL and find that the registrar is willing to “negotiate” with the owner of the URL on your behalf. On Godaddy, you’ll see the term “broker service” and it costs $69. This is not a good path to venture down. I’m warning you now that you’ll be throwing money away. What this basically means is, a representative from Godaddy will “attempt” to contact the owner of the URL you’re wanting. Then, they’ll send a generic message to that person to see if they’re willing to part with the URL. The chances are they’re not. They likely are using the URL, or intend to use the URL. Either way, they likely won’t give it up for anything short of a fortune.

HOSTING FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

Choosing a hosting plan is another very important part of getting your small business off the ground. There are a lot of options available to you, but you should consider the following:

  • Is the hosting company able to provide customer service when things go bad?

A lot of people will choose to go with one of the larger companies for their hosting. There’s a good reason to do that in some cases. However, when push comes to shove, what happens when there’s an outage? What about customer service when there’s an outage? These companies spend a lot of time working to keep things up and running, but it doesn’t mean that they’re perfect.

What happens to your online store when the power to your website is down? How many customers could you be losing? When you call, do you think you’ll be able to get through to a representative in a timely manner? My guess is you’ll spend your day either on hold or bounced around from one person to the next, trying to just get your website up and running again. Not to mention, you’re not likely their most important customer.

  • What happens when they get hacked?

These kinds of things happen way more often than people may expect. This is because there are millions of credit cards stored with these companies, and when they’re hacked, all of your information is in the hands of the hackers.

We recommend One Point Sync. They are a smaller company with enormous support. Their prices are reasonable for the support and quality that you receive.

EMAIL HOSTING FOR YOUR NEW BUSINESS

It’s easy to just assume that you should use a Gmail email account for your business. This is one of the fastest ways to be looked at as an amateur. The fact is, an email that ends with your URL is something that will instantly command credibility. While Google offers custom email addresses, there are so many issues with the system that they use. Surprised? Don’t be. The fact is, large companies like Google, MSN, Yahoo, Comcast, etc. still use something called POP3 protocol. I won’t get into the specifics of this, but it’s older, and it’s about as secure as a sock drawer. Companies like One Point Sync use a much more secure protocol called IMAP.

There are other very technical things that go into email hosting. Compliances and protocols like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF are all super technical things that no one on earth wants to learn about. However, they’re really important if you want your emails to end up in your client’s email inbox. Here’s the good news. You don’t need to know any of this stuff. You just need to choose the right company to host your new business email. Super easy.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR NEW BUSINESS

For most businesses, this topic is either the best or very worst part of day-to-day functions. While I won’t be going into the best practices regarding social media marketing here in this article, I will be sure to make some videos in the future.

Social media marketing for your new business is either fortunately or unfortunately part of today’s marketing fundamentals. The truth is, most people are on their phones for several hours throughout a given day. This is obviously not surprising if you’ve walked outside in the past ten years. The question I get most is: Do I need to be on every platform? Let’s address this.

In short, no you don’t. However, each platform has a slightly different audience and purpose. Of course, there’s overlap. Certainly, it’s not uncommon for consumers to be active on multiple platforms. Social media marketing allows you to cast a larger net when trying to attract more customers to your new business. This doesn’t mean that social media marketing is always a wise place to spend money on. In fact, if your small business relies on a customer’s physical presence, it doesn’t make much sense to spread the word to the whole world.

I want to be clear, I’m not suggesting you don’t use social media marketing to increase awareness of your new business. I’m suggesting that you may want to think twice before spending a lot of your money on marketing to areas that won’t lend to a return on your investment.

My recommendation is to focus on what you’re able to devote one hour a day to. The most important factor when it comes to social media marketing is consistency. I’ve found that when you’re able to post content of any kind to multiple platforms all at once, you put yourself in a better position. Creating content is the hardest part of this and will require more of you than you’re likely to want to give. I know the feeling well. This is especially true when you run a service-based business. Products can be photographed and posted to any number of sites. Sales and special promotions are easy to put out on social media. On the other hand, speaking about your services can be significantly more difficult.

With all of this in mind, it’s my recommendation that you focus on the social media platforms that are most likely being used by your desired customers. If that means posting short videos on Instagram and FaceBook once a day, then that’s the starting point you should be eyeing. If your service-based company needs to show more detailed accountings of what you do, then maybe videos posted to YouTube, Instagram, and FaceBook are the way to go. If you write a lot of articles, maybe you consider LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. These choices may seem pointless or scary at first, and they may not get you any new business for a while, but the more your name is put into the ether, the more likely you are to get noticed.

Whichever path you choose, please make sure that you do whatever is necessary to fully complete your profiles on each of the platforms. It’s already very easy to overlook companies on these sites, don’t give people more of a reason to skip past you.

BRANDING YOUR NEW BUSINESS UP NEXT

In our next article, we can take a deeper dive into what you should know when hiring someone to do your branding and logo design. What you should look for in a good logo, and what to avoid. We hope that you have gotten some value out of this article, and we hope that you’ll consider following us on our social media platforms listed below. If you would like to reach out to us for a free thirty-minute consultation, please don’t hesitate to visit our Contact page to set up a time.