I have a lot of people coming to me at the start of their business going 'I don't even know where to start. I feel like I see so much content telling me to do this and do that and it's so overwhelming!'. I hear ya! Let's keep it's simple sweetie - I've created a list of the top nine things to do when you're just starting out.
1) Get a Google business listing - https://business.google.com Google will send you a postcard to verify your address (if you have a physical location). You've just got to enter the code online to become verified. Super simple, free and a great search engine optimisation practice for all businesses.
Tip: make sure you put as much information as possible into this profile including your opening hours, photos and a website (if you've got one).
2) Logo - This is so important as it represents what your business is all about. Make sure you put a lot of time into getting this one right. I highly recommend using pinterest to find some #brandinspo. This will make it so much easier for your designer to make sure your branding is on point!
P.S. I can help you with your branding and logo design! Just email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Landing page with 'coming soon' to collect emails - okay so there are about 100 parts to this point. You need to get in the mindset of building your email list and collecting people's contact information BEFORE you launch. I recommend going to mailchimp and setting up a free account. Then get your butt over to Squarespace and sign up for an account. They have beautiful 'under construction' pages that allow you to embed your mailchimp signup form. I recommend having something along the lines of COMING SOON - GET NOTIFIED. Here's one I've recently done for a client as we build her full site behind the scenes:
On that note, make sure you follow step four below and get yourself a custom url. Having a squarespace branded site is not a good look. You want to build trust from the get-go so spend the $20ish bucks to upgrade.
4) Domain name purchase - Hop on over to crazy domains and get yourself a website address (a URL/domain name). I recommend using a '.com.au' address if you are in Australia as it adds some extra privacy (Australia has special laws around this and their .au domains). Don't get tricked into all the upgrades they try and up-sell you along the way. You just need a simple domain.
Tip: MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR LOG IN HANDY - YOU'LL NEED IT!!
5) ABN - (Australian specific tip) A total non-negotiable. Apply here.
6) Business Name registration - (Australian specific tip) Start the process here.
7) Branding - In my opinion this can come after your logo but BEFORE your website design and your business card. The reason for this is (and you'll hear me repeat myself alot!) the key to great branding is consistency. You need to be using the same set fonts, colours and style of images (and also the same tone of voice in your copy) for EVERYTHING. A good designer will help you with a mood board, a series of fonts and where to use them e.g. header, body, quote, etc, set colours and the colour codes, as well as a variety of logo types including a logo for social media which is usually sorted, and a favicon for your website.
8) Professional email address - @gmail.com or worse @hotmail.com email addresses just don't cut it. #sorrynotsorry. Remember what I said about building trust? For just $5 per month through gsuite (owned by google and your emails will be through gmail), you'll go a long way in doing this. Get started here.
9) Business card - Now you've got your set brand colours, your domain name for your website, a snazzy logo, a profesh email address, a landing page that says 'coming soon' and a google business listing it's time to get your business cards sorted and start handing those babies out EVERYWHERE. I love moo for the ease of use and plethora of options (isn't plethora just such a fab word?!) but vistaprint is cheaper. Just make sure you have a designer create the files for you as they need to be 'print ready' and if not, you may end up with blurry images and a white border or worse, part of you logo cut off. Trust me, I've seen some horror stories.
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