4 min read
Image credit: Shopify.com
Anyone that has started their own business will attest, that there are many ways to launch it. But this is how I have done it - on a bootstrap budget and a whole lot of do-it-yourself adventures.
I had launched an eCommerce business a few years ago, been involved in many brand building/rebuilding exercises and now I am building a consultancy one. Although there are differences in the needs of the user experience and funnel development, there are also many similarities in getting the basics right, especially for the "lift off" stage.
Here are the 5 steps that I took to launch my business.
STEP 1: GET THE BASICS RIGHT
It helps if you write down the following. For me, it sort of becomes a guiding framework or a raw blueprint. As a start, keep it simple. You can add on and make it more robust as you go along in developing your business plan. Speed is important, so try not to overthink it and just go for it.
Identify the value that your business will provide to your customers.
Answer the questions on the purpose of why you're doing the business.
List down the personalities and tone of voice that you would want the business to project to the public - it can be a reflection of your personal self or collective characteristics of the Founders. Remember, authenticity is very important. Be real.
Pick a brand name that reflects your value, purpose, product/services and personality, short and snappy for ease of recall and memorability. Do some research on brand names within your industry, what it means in different languages or cultures, just to be safe. Also, to be sure that you're not infringing on anyone else's trademark.
Once you've decided on your brand name, go ahead and buy your domain. I bought mine from godaddy.com.
Pick a brand colour or colours that reflect the energy of your business. Refer to the colour guide below on the psychology of colours for the meaning behind them. Remember, colours are powerful. They can deliver the impact and drama without using a lot of words.
Image from fastcompany.com
Next, design your logo. You do not need a professional designer just yet. Get some references from other design elements and see what you like and what you don't like. Then create a short description on how you'd like the logo to look, by outlining the Do's and Don'ts, what to avoid and what to enhance in the design process. You can also check out services offered by fiverr.com or engage a logo designer.
Create a basic guideline on how your logo and use of brand colours will appear on marketing collaterals for example it's placements on social media and printed materials. Let's say, if you prefer that your logo to always appear bottom right or top left, then that is where it shall appear on your collaterals moving forward. There are many elements to consider in brand placements and usage of colours, but creating a basic guideline will set you on the right path. Remember, consistency is key in brand building and brand recall.
STEP 2: MAKE IT LEGAL
Register your company - sole proprietor, partnership or private limited. Your business registration with determine your taxation status with the authorities, so do your homework before you make it official. Consider the scale of the business now and where you want to be in a few years as part of your registration process. In Malaysia, you need to register at Companies Commission of Malaysian (CCM). For more information, you can check out their website ssm.com.my.
You can also get relevant or appropriate certifications if necessary to give you the added boost to your business credibility. For example, as a marketer, getting the Adwords and DoubleClick certifications would be an added advantage. You can find more information about it on Google Adwords and Double Click certification for partners pages.
STEP 3: BUILD YOUR DIGITAL HOMEBASE
I started with creating a "site-map" for the website - how many pages it should have and what I'd like to say on page 1, 2, 3 and so forth. This is done on a word document similar to outlining chapters of a book and the sub-pages.
Then I fill those site map framework with content, descriptions and explanations to the sections. This exercise is called, creating your copysheet.
Get a friend or two to give their feedback on the copy and flow. Once you're happy with it, proceed to create the pages to your website.
Create beautiful, simple to do websites using Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace or Shopify. The drag and drop, plug and play features are so easy to use.
If you have some coding skills or have the budget to create custom CMS sites, you can do that too.
Build your site as a desktop and mobile responsive versions. Remember, approximately 70% of online traffic comes from the mobile devices, so yes you NEED a mobile responsive site.
Lastly, integrate a blog to the site. If you're using any of the plug and play website builder models, a blog integration module will be available as part of their services. If you choose to have a standalone version, there is always the Blogger.com and Wordpress.com versions. This blog has to also have the mobile responsiveness too.
STEP 4: MAP OUT YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS
Identify your objectives & type of content
Plan and decide on frequency of content postings
Choose the right channels - I prioritized Linkedin, followed by Instagram, FB and Twitter
Choose the right tools. For example, Hootsuite or Edgar for social media, MailChimp for email/newsletters and Google Adwords for search and display ads targeting/retargeting.
Test and test and test - which type of content and when does your audience engage with them.
Roll out your marketing efforts bit by bit, slowly turning up the volume as you move along.
You can refer to the image below for an example of a content planner or schedule.
Image from HubSpot Marketing
STEP 5: BASIC ANALYTICS SET UP
MUST set up your Google Analytics. How? With the domain purchase done and integrated to the website to go "live", I then subscribed to Google for Work. With the email account set up and hosted on Google, I then registered for Google Analytics, followed the steps and was given a Google Analytics code to integrate into my website. Plug the code in and wait for about 3 days for the magic to kick in. Seeing the analytics dashboard come alive was so awesome! You need to see some numbers, to know how well or how bad you're doing with the traffic to the site. Without the analytics, it's like "walking in the dark".
Next, use the URL shortener services which also tracks the clicks and interactions to your shared articles. With these services, dashboard of statistic will be available for your reference and reporting as well. Services that I have used are goo.gl, bitly.com and Radiumone.
...and you're done!
"HOUSTON, WE HAVE LIFT OFF!"
Now, that you've launched your business. What's next?
In rocket terms, there is still the "Powered Ascent", the next stage, diving deeper into automation and activation. Stay tuned...
M Consulting Asia, the branding and marketing strategy development and activation consultancy was founded by Mawarni Adam, an award-winning marketer with over 14 years of experience in branding and integrated marketing across multiple industries in the ASEAN region. It is her passion in building, revamping, turning around a portfolio, leading change and breathing new life into stagnant business situations that propelled her to establish her own marketing consultancy. Helping others make a positive difference in their business excites her. Her direct experience in the Hospitality, Internet TV Service, Airline, Insurance, Loyalty, e-Commerce, Banking, Venture Capital and Advertising industries, will bring an integrated perspective and valuable marketing input, strategy development and execution to any organization.
Read more about M here: About M