I did a podcast episode a while back where I outlined three things every start-up needs. Today, the number of entrepreneurs that exists seem to increase with every click. After all, starting your own business is so much easier today than it’s ever been really. That’s not to say that it still doesn’t have it’s challenges, but compared to just a decade ago, you’re now able legitimately start a business online in minutes and because of technology, we can up and running much quicker for much cheaper. Furthermore, it’s a commendable decision to start a business and begin to take control of your passion but that’s not all you need. There are somethings to consider as you begin or continue your journey. There are a few, what I call, “mission critical” items that I believe are needed to be successful in a fast-changing digital world. Of course there are more than three, but these are the three that I can speak directly to:
This isn’t the most important but it is critical. I’ve met so many small business owners that have legitimate business or business ideas but they cant attract the clientele they want because their imagery doesn’t match the quality of their service. It’s no secret that people want to deal with people who at least look like they have it together. In a digital world, poor pictures and images say the opposite, fair or unfair. Additionally, there are no shortage of photographers nowadays. That means getting decent pictures won’t cost you a whole lot. You need a good headshot and just maybe a couple of action shots. You’d be surprised how much you can do with just a few quality pictures. If we’re being transparent (and cheap), they don’t even need to be your own pictures. There countless free stock sites that allow you download and utilize stock images. For example unsplash.com is a great free tool. They send you 10 free photos every 10 days. The only drawback is the lack of variety for but conversely, they might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s free, and we all know beggars can’t be choosers. The moral of the story is: Invest some time and effort into addressing your digital images and assets. There is an immediate payoff.
Digital Real Estate
I’ve heard the term “build on your land” a lot recently is my readings and research and I believe that this nugget of wisdom is paramount in the beginning stages of a new business. Building on your land means creating a website or a digital apparatus that you have 100% control over. If you have a small business you need a website, it’s that simple. Utilizing Facebook and other social media sites as a website is a great idea if you only intend to use it as such for a temporary period of time. Just think about the steps you’d have to take to keep a prospective clients attention on Facebook. Now think about that same prospective willing client on your website. Once you have them there, you have a lot more control over the interaction and less distractions to overcome. Build on your land. There’s no better way. Infact, there are hosting sites like GoDaddy, Host Gator, and Blue Host, that have really good promotional pricing on hosting. Take advantages of the introductory pricing as you’re getting started out and build a simple landing page and then fill your site out incrementally. The lesson here, build on your own land.
Equally important is the logo. Today this is probably the easiest to obtain. There are plenty of programs and apps that allow you to do it yourself or you can go the traditional route and hire a graphic designer. You’d be surprised what it cost to get logo done today, it’s ridiculously inexpensive. There are free apps like Logo Shop that allow you design a logo for free. It has some great tools and pre-made items that you can edit to make your own. There’s also a pro-version (paid) that unlocks hundreds of other fonts and shapes. Today there’s really no excuse if you don’t have the budget to hire someone. There’s enough free tool online to at least get you started.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but I do believe it to be essential. A little research and a little planning and you can have some great images, a nice new website, and a great logo for free or little to nothing. It’s just takes a little know-how and effort. You’d be surprised what you can do if you just put in a little time and invest in yourself.
This isn’t design related but definitely one to consider more earlier than later. Once you create your business, go apply for a Tax ID (or EIN). This not only further legitimizes your operation from a legal standpoint , but it also allows you to start building business credit, obtaining tax deductions and write-offs, and also protects your personal information from identity theft. Of course you don’t need this early on to start a business but the sooner you can obtain a Tax ID the sooner you can benefit from the aforementioned.