Business Ideas from Braintree Loyalty Card
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Are you a new or a start up business in Braintree?

One in five of us right now has a great business idea waiting to burst out…

You might be wondering what it takes to take the first step and putting it into action. Courage? Yes it takes some nerve to put into action your ideas, but don’t let that stop you. If you have a unique idea, let it out! Think about what your business is and who it will benefit and the whole process of getting started might not be as daunting as you might think if you think about the steps to get you there and break them down.

Know your target audience or customer.

Research your market carefully and have an understanding of your clients and what they need and how much they may be paying already for the product or service you hope to provide. Get some feedback as to how they would react to your new or improved offering / price or unique feature. Study the geography of how you want to cover these clients and be realistic about your expectations and put yourself in the clients shoes to fend off possible objections.

Get experience in your chosen field or product set.

Be an expert in your field and study everything possible about your product or service, because if you find your client knows more than you, your credibility has just gone out the window! More than likely you may be starting your business off the back of your previous work experience in your chosen field. Draw from your experience and think about the parts of that business you could make improvements on and use this to create your edge.

Know your competition.

Look at and study closely what your competitors are doing and simply put “do it better”. Customers don’t always go for paying the cheaper price, they want quality,reliability and stability. No point in being the cheapest if you take ages to deliver the product or service. At the same time there is no point in raising your prices just because you think you have a better product, people will see through the gloss quite quickly. Position yourself sensibly and provide the best possible service you can to create your reputation advantage.

Learn from your past mistakes and those of others.

Possibly the best advice anyone can give you for many reasons! It’s actually good to make mistakes because it proves you’re learning all the time, or the hope is that you are learning from them. The biggest industry leaders make mistakes and the one quoted the most is Thomas Edison the creator of the light bulb amongst many other inventions, he managed to find 2000 ways to fail in creating the light bulb before he found a way to make one work! Yes he was American but never mind…Tenacity is everything in business.

Create a business plan.

Possibly the biggest drain on your brain and time, but none the less one of the most important if you intend to go for funding of any kind especially the bank. There are many templates and ideas on the internet so make sure you have a clear idea of your business, it’s market place and direction and stick to it as closely as possible and keep referring to it when you have those moments of despair. Stay focused! Here is a Government link to assist you in the building of your business plan.

Think of a company name.

Coming up with a good business name can be a complicated process. You may want to consider consulting an expert, especially if you’re in a field in which your company name may influence the success of your business. There are two camps of thought on this and one states a company name should suggest what you do or what you are about and there is the abstract camp that says that this should be a canvass in which to stake your name on…it’s up to you!

Create and design your branding / Logo.

This is the first thing your potential clients see when they look at your paperwork, invoices, brochures, social media and website. People always say that first impressions count and that is very true when it comes to a logo. Make it relevant and memorable. Perhaps enlisting the help of a logo or graphic designer and make sure they have a deep understanding of your business and its goals not to  mention preferred colour scheme. Colour is vital when it comes to corporate image and says more than you think.

Join the local chamber of trade and commerce.

Every Town and City has one and it makes sense to start talking to the members and leaders to take not only inspiration but guidance from people that have been in business a while. Not forgetting the contacts you make along the way that will potentially be clients of course!

Here is a link to the Braintree Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Witham

Get on the social media train.

Toot toot! Some people actually find this quite daunting because they don’t know where to start and which social media platforms to use to get the best effect and impact. There are more than 200 and still counting social media platforms to choose from depending on your market place and where you live. We would assume that most people reading this will be from the UK as we have a different way of working to our Stateside cousins. So with that in mind, in order of my particular preference is

FACEBOOK, as of writing this article there are around 2.2 Billion active Facebook users at this time. I am not saying that they are all potential clients because it will depend on how you set up your FACEBOOK business page and which audience you choose when you eventually advertise your business. I could write a whole article on Facebook alone but maybe another time. Until recently Facebook wasn’t seen as a serious business tool, but it’s climbing in credibility since the inception of advertising and the metrics it provides to help you improve your advertising skills. Its a great way for businesses to grow with the help of your friends and contacts.

Twitter, has always been at the top of many peoples lists and it takes a lot of work and time to get it going. As with Facebook getting your image right is important in your profile page so that you set the scene for your position in the market. Lot’s of people get this wrong but if you refer to the guidelines when setting up your profile it’s worth doing right. Following and Followers…Be sure to follow those relevant to your business and interests and keep an eye on those who follow you as there are a lot of fake and spammy accounts out there that will do you no good at all. Be courteous when you comment and post because you are judged on what you say and how you say it. There is no more hiding now, so if you offend someone on social media it can cause you headaches. Speaking from experience!

LinkedIn – This in our opinion is the most serious of business social media offerings and it’s almost your CV to the world. Many people on Linked In are very serious and focused about how they present themselves, it’s very business like so be mindful on your posting approach. It’s a great networking tool and when you get going with it you will find many people on there who you went to school with…That aside its really a corporate FACEBOOK.

There is no point going into too much detail about social media as it deserves a write up all of it’s own, however it’s a very serious consideration these days if you want to get your brand and product offering out there.

Above all, ensure you are doing this for the right reasons and have fun in your new venture ! If it’s not fun then you won’t have any enthusiasm to make your business a success ! Good luck !

NEXT WEEK – Limted Company or Sole Trader ?