Tips for growing a business from the ground up

Article by Karen J. Gerrard founder SEAMS BEAUTY

women in businessYou’ve had the idea for a new business you know it’s right but how to put it into action, where to start, what to expect?

Here’s my tips on how to build your business from the grass roots up, please bear in mind there’s no right or wrong way but here are some tools that I work with and I hope they will help you realise your dream:

PREPARATION

  • BELIEVE in what you are doing whether it be a product or service. Become the best at what you do? Study, take up courses on any area’s you are unsure of you have to be an expert in your field.
  • USP – Ask yourself what’s’ my USP why is my business different to others? You will get asked this all the time and it must be a short sharp answer. If you can’t articulate this then your customer won’t understand.
  • REGISTER THE BUSINESS name, buy the domain, secure the trade mark, any money spent on the legal side now could save you a fortune in the future also any investor will want to know that you own the trademark and the company.
  • GROUND WORK – Prepare brand pillars these will be the foundation of your business they may change over time but they are your building blocks to use, everything you do within your business should fit in with the story. These are for your own private use.

FOUNDATION PILLAR – Core Brand principles, guiding values that are present in the brands voice and experience for example where your business idea come from, SEAMS was born from fashion, for hardworking hands in the film & TV industries.

EQUITY PILLARS

PRODUCT – How the brands products are positioned – where are you positioned in the market place.

VOICE – The distinct qualities of your brands voice – how do you want to talk about your brand.

EXPERIENCE – How the consumer feels as h/she engages with the brand with SEAMS you feel comfort.

PROMISE – What the brand stands for its principles.

PURPOSE – Why the brand exists – For example SEAMS exists to soften skin without being greasy.

  • IDENTITY – Prepare a mood board say to yourself if my business was a food what would it be, if it was a sport what would it be etc… this will be very helpful when deciding on a logo and where in the market you are placed.
  • ELEVATOR PITCH – A short description of your business that the listener will understand within a short period of time. Think you are getting into an elevator with someone and by the time you get to the top floor they understand the core of your business.
  • BUSINESS PLAN – this is an in depth version of your brand pillars it’s easy to find a template online, essentially this will be your guide and will need to be updated as you reach every milestone. To start with a lot will be based on estimations,  but gradually as you trade you can relate it to facts. An example of a typical business plans headings –

Contact details, your job description, mission, objectives, market analysis, products and services, place in the market, competition, strategy, cash flow, add in anything else that applies to your business.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • SACRIFICE Be prepared to give up your social life, you need to eat and breathe your business you are the only one that can do this.
  • THINK – Unless you are superhuman, you can’t do it all push the boundaries but know your limitations, there are days when you will be on the floor crying and others when everything goes right. If you are tired rest switch off take the time to clear your mind. Thinking time doing nothing can be equally as productive as action, write everything down.
  • COMMUNICATE – with your suppliers, customers, sometimes an email can get misunderstood, arrange a call.
  • LISTEN to advice, ask for help in areas you don’t understand, get a mentor there are many successful business and professional people happy to help.
  • ORGANISATION – You have to be organised, write a to do list every week it can be quite satisfying as you cross the jobs off.
  • CHANGE – Be prepared to adapt to the market is changing all the time where you once started out could need a 360 degree turn.
  • CASH FLOW – there must be money coming in and out of the business bear in mind that whatever finance you think you need will probably be higher there’s always something you hadn’t thought of.

GO FOR IT –  there’s always a reason not to do something but It’s not the things we do that we regret it’s the things we don’t, if someone else can build a business then you can too.


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