How to Build a Business When You Have Champagne Dreams on a PureLife Water Budget
Sis, we saw the screenshots too! Your favorite TikTok and Instagram business guru shared their monthly sales as a form of aspiration for their followers and, of course, a marketing tactic to get people interested in their course or coaching service. Unlike Shakira’s hips, screenshots do lie. They don't tell the whole story like the amount of money marketing dollars it takes to generate $10,000 or even $20,000 monthly sales. While we here at Self Made Boss Babes celebrate entrepreneurship, bossing up, and making your coins, we won’t sell you dreams nor set you up for failure. Can you have five and six-figure months of revenue and even profit? Of course, but it’s going to take a lot of work and strategic planning. And if you’re on a tight budget, scaling your business might take longer than expected.
Here are some things you must consider before you start a business:
Discover if You’re Passion or Profit-Driven.
Are you looking to make an impact, be your own boss, or are you strictly looking to make some coins? There’s no right or wrong answer; however, each path requires a different mindset and set of qualities. Some passion-driven businesses might involve working with children, the elderly, or the homeless community. While profit-driven businesses, on the other hand, might be selling real estate or luxury vacations. Passion-based businesses are nothing like flipping houses and hoping to make a profit within six months. It might take time, and most business owners who are passionate about their specialization are okay with that.
Do You Want Your Business to be Service-Based or Product-Based?
Each has its pros and cons. Examples of service-based businesses are tax preparation, graphic design, resume writing, and virtual assistant. Some service-based businesses have a low overhead because you can operate remotely and from the comfort of your home---no office space required. Now when it comes to product-based companies, you can rent out a space for your physical products, or you can sell online. The latter would be more ideal if you don't want a considerable overhead. However, physical products do require some heavy lifting to market. If you're looking to break into the beauty and hair industry, you need money to send products to influencers and to have photoshoots for your products. You need money to try different samples of your products from multiple vendors. You need to figure out how much you to sell your product to make a profit. Remember, you can either buy your products and resell them or purchase the supplies to make your products.
Can You Afford to Start a Business?
Take a hard look at your current financial situation. Are you just scraping by, or you're able to invest a couple hundred or even thousands in your business? Our Chief Self-Made Boss Babe, Alexandra Cristin, started her business, GlamSeamless, with $1500. Of course, this doesn’t mean that $1500 is all she needed for her business, but it was a starting point.
Now, that's all out of the way; let's start building that business!
Conduct Market Research
Market research entails reading up on your industry of interest and your likely competitors. Research the earning potential and the amount of investment needed to start the business. Look at the demographics of your competitors. Will you choose these demographics as well? Will you niche down and choose a very specific demographic to target? Are there barriers to entry? The discovery phase of building your business is crucial.
Choose a Business Name
When you’re thinking about a business name, think about something that’s not too abstract and doesn’t confuse your target audience. You don’t want to leave room for interpretation. Sell taxes services? Choose a business name like “Hannah’s Tax Services.” Sell costume jewelry? Here’s a business name: “Bling Dynasty.” Remember, keep it simple.
Choose Your Branding Colors and Logo
Creating a logo and choosing your branding colors to represent your company is a part of branding. Once your intended audience sees your business continuously being promoted, your logo and branding colors will be etched in their minds. You might utilize a branding professional for this endeavor; however, if you’re on a tight budget, you can find affordable logo designers and branding professionals on Fiverr.com or Upwork.com.
Create a Website
Instagram and TikTok are not your personal websites. They can get crash at any minute, or their network could go down. Having a website where your target audience and customers can patron is non-negotiable. You need a sales funnel. (More on that later).
Get Your Legal Stuff in Order
Set up a business bank account separate from your personal bank account— you need a clear snapshot of your expenses, sales, and profit. If you go the product-based company route, you may need a wholesaler or reseller license. You need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like a social security number for your business. It's mainly for tax purposes. Plus, it shows people that you're legit. Depending on your business type, you may need a business license to conduct business in your state. Research the heck out of the industry you choose to pursue.
Get a Virtual Assistant
Fiverr.com and Upwork.com are two of the many human cloud platforms where you find freelancers. You can search virtual assistants (VAs) located worldwide, who charge different price points. Your VA could pick up the slack when you become inundated with your regular 9-5, are sick, or feel unmotivated. Don’t do this business thing alone if you don’t have to.
Build Your Team
Using the same platforms discussed to find a VA, you can build a team using freelancers or independent contractors. Again, this all depends on your budget and some of your imminent needs. Having a go-to web developer, copywriter, or public relations person is ideal. You can hire full-time team members once the business starts picking up and have the budget for a full-time team.
Set up Your Social Media Pages
Should you be on all social media platforms? No, but this is where market research comes in. What platforms are your competitors using? Check out their engagement and how well their target audiences interact with them on their social media platforms. Certain service-based businesses might choose LinkedIn as one of their platforms of choice. Product-based companies might do well on Instagram and TikTok. Once you find the platforms that work for your business, creating consistent content will be key in keeping your audience engaged and building brand equity.
Choose Your Marketing Strategies
While you might choose to get on your social media platforms, please don't rely solely on them. You can reach out to influencers and content creators to help promote your business and make content. You can attend small business fairs and become a vendor at events to promote your business. You can go a little "old school" and make flyers to post places you know your audience frequents. Also, choose an email marketing platform like Mailchimp and Klaviyo to collect email addresses and periodically promote your audience.
When you’re looking to start a business, you should start small. You don’t need a fancy logo and website for success. You do need a solid sales funnel where your customers visit your website, quickly find what they're looking for, and have a seamless checkout experience. Additionally, having excellent customer service skills goes a long way. While the customer might not always be right, always remain eager to resolve matters swiftly in a professional manner.