Building a business is a complex process. There are a lot of tasks that must be completed in the very earliest days of operation in order for things to go smoothly, and for the business to attain a sustainable status. Anything that is overlooked could prove detrimental to the health of the startup, sometimes quickly but sometimes years down the road.
This shortfall exists for a couple of reasons. The most likely one is that many startups are undertaken by people with little or no entrepreneurial experience. Consequently, they approach the producer’s side of the equation from the consumer’s perspective, and they end up doing their best planning with their products, services, and advertising, and their worst with the internal functions of the business.
For the entrepreneur–or the budding entrepreneur–two main areas should be kept in mind.
A Traditional Online Presence
Most startups have a social media presence immediately, sometimes even before they actually begin to operate. And while it’s very important to engage with customers through these popular platforms, it’s actually not enough.
It’s true. For those of us who frequently use social media, it can feel like everybody does. But that’s not actually the case. The Pew Foundation reports that only 68% of U.S. adults are on Facebook. That means about one-third of the potential market for a startup isn’t on Facebook at all, and it doesn’t tell us how many people use the network too infrequently to stay abreast of products or services.
What is needed on top of social media is a traditional website. Far more people view them, and they carry the added benefit of the option to incorporate an online store and conduct other functions of commerce. They are often overlooked just because social media is so fast and easy, but a good hosting company can overcome those obstacles quickly and get you a strong online presence to build your company.
Social Media Compliance
The first thing most people think of in starting a business is to get social and go viral. It’s an easy way to get your name out there quickly and to get potential customers engaged. It’s also cheap and easy, and it can get you in front of a lot of eyes and ears in a hurry.
But that can backfire if it’s not carefully handled. Businesses must be very cautious to monitor and manage their online presence. They need to make sure that their posts are consistent with the company’s message and goals, and even with the law. For example, agencies like the Securities Exchange Commission take a very serious look at posts that could be considered to provide insider information.
In time, of course, social media can be farmed out to a separate firm or at least to a dedicated department. It’s even more important that oversight is steady and consistent at this stage, because those managers are further removed from the actual owners, and a full-time staff will be posting full-time, providing more opportunities for errors.
The beginning of a new business is an exciting time. There are lots of new things happening, lots of ideas bubbling, and lots of opportunities to share your story. Making the most of those times means not only getting the word out about yourself but also getting it out there in a way that is sustainable, effective, and accurate.