The Ultimate Startup Kickstart Tips
The Fundamentals of a Successful Startup
What is Entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is a fancy word for running a business. Typically this means that you are enterprising and are willing to take action, seeing opportunities or create them yourself and can convert this to profit. The goal is to make profit with your (Start Up) business. When you start it’s good to have a Business plan in which you describe your short and long-term plans. The financial plan is an important part of this. You need this plan for when you e.g want to take out a loan to be able to make investments. There are many legal forms possible when you decide to start your own business. Which legal form you eventually choose will depend on many factors.
10 valuable tips for starting a business
Think carefully before you start, do you want to be an entrepreneur?
It seems obvious, but this item is the most important consideration when you want to start a business. The question should be, what kind of image do you have in your head when you think of a starting a business? What are similar business examples you can use? No one can know in advance what it is like to have your own business so work with your imagination. Talk to entrepreneurs of all ages. It’s also smart to join an entrepreneurs association or startup community. These are good examples where you can share different experiences and ask questions.
Research your competitive position in your niche and think about what distinguishes you
Against which competitors will I be competing in the future? Are these big or small businesses? It’s good to broadly bring your (local) competition in perspective so you can get an impression of this. What exactly do they do and where do they do this? You might have very different ideas about a product or service and you are highly distinctive without realizing it. By knowing your competition, you strengthen the position of your own business. You know what they are doing and how they do so. The next question is whether your product or service is more unique and attractive to a customer than the competitors. Again; ask yourself what makes your approach different. Every client wants something ‘special’, something that is different from what they can get elsewhere. So what is your Unique Selling Point?
Do not block when you run into setbacks
Entrepreneurship is not always fun. For example long term acquisitions. You can spend months with a prospective customer and ultimately miss that nice order because it goes to a competitor. This hurts, but this is part of being an entrepreneur. It is the skill of being prepared for this, there is always a risk of missing out on an order whether you put in little or a lot of time. Deal with it and move on!
It does not matter what but experience this process at least once. Many start-ups have little or no sales experience. When you start your own business, you have to understand what the client wants and needs, and find a way to satisfy their desires and needings. It sounds funny, but sell something to a stranger. It doesn’t matter how, you just have to sell (preferably at a market price). By doing this you learn what it is like to go through the sales process. This is an experience that you will use a lot as entrepreneur. After your sale you ask yourself, how did this process go? How was my attitude towards the client and how was it received? Forcing yourself into sales is extremely educational and useful for your future communication and sales activities. The more you sell (communicate) the better your experience and probability of success.
Ask people for advice
This advice is usually free and you gain knowledge. You often think you know a lot and this is probably true. However, there are always people around you who can provide a great service by sharing their experiences (positive and negative). Choose people around you where you think they can make a solid contribution to your business by sharing their experience. Ask them for advice when you need to make an important business choice. Don’t hesitate to ask people to do so, most of the people around you will most likely want to help you out.
Adjust all the formal matters
You cannot escape arranging some formal or administrative matters such as registration with the Chamber of Commerce or applying for a VAT number. Make sure you’re not lax here because it can be annoying to your company if these things are not on track. Make sure you are properly informed by several people who are a party within this type of formal affairs.
Get in contact with other entrepreneurs and share your experiences and ideas
There is nothing better than to approach colleagues entrepreneurs. Often experiences are the same or you can find support in ‘buddies’ who also have questions themselves. As already mentioned, joining a entrepreneurs community is a good idea when you’re going to start.
Set a website checklist in which you describe what purpose your website has
You undoubtably want to build a website where all kinds of information is available regarding your product or services. What needs is the website supposed to fulfil?
Make your website search engine friendly
When your website is up and running, or yet to be built, it is essential that it is search engine friendly. There are some technical standards that your site must meet. Directional Preference can support you in this area and will help you determine what you would like within these standards.
Research which marketing method can work for your business and spend money on this.
Which marketing strategy is best for my company to invest in? First of all, in which niche do you operate, what products or services do you offer? Take this as a base and see what marketing strategy fits well with this. Nowadays it certainly is important to position your online marketing strategically since the internet continues to grow and every potential customer will always be “Googling”. Obviously we can fulfil an important role for you in this area.
How important is SEO for your Start Up?
Your Startup and SEO
Being easily found in the many search engines like Google and Bing are essential when starting your business. You need a good search engine friendly website, but what needs does my website have to fulfil? What are the Do’s and Don’ts? How much time does it take? How much does it cost to optimize the site? These are important questions before you start your own business. Directional Preference is specialized in SEO for starting entrepreneurs where your personal wishes are taken into account. Then a plan is drawn up, which is tailored to the needs of your company, but first let’s talk about some important aspects of a good site before continuing with the do’s, don’ts and costs.
The content of your website, what standards should it fulfil?
- It is of great importance that the content (text) of your pages 100% is unique. The search engines see duplicate content as ‘bad content’ and punish it, with the result you will not be easily found in e.g. Google. This problem is frequently detected in Startups. This is a waste of investment, time and energy, because you want to be found easily in order to get more customers.
- It is important that you have enough content on your site. Articles with enough words are a minimum requirement to be assessed as a full website by search engines.
- Images are preferred not to be copied from another website. This means you to have to deal with copyright law, because you illegally used an image of a certain owner.
- In addition to the above key issues, there are many technical aspects that determine your ranking in the search engines, such as your link profile.
Is a beautiful site sufficient?
To answer this question, you first need to answer the question: what is the purpose of your website? Many startups start building a website with pretty pictures. Nice, but will you get visitors to your site? Obviously the aesthetics of your site is important, however, of limited relevance when it comes to high ranking in various search engines. First of all, your site should be technically proficient with content related to your field and specialty. This is particularly relevant because the search engines want to set a certain logic when your site is being reviewed by their spiders.
Imagine you sell tires via a webshop, it would be weird when you go to the contact page and it’s about African elephants. This is a bit over-exaggerated, but the point is that you understand the logic behind relevant content. Note that a search engine like Google is very serious about this part of SEO.
Check your competition
A good tip is to look at your competition’s website. What do you notice? Would you do it similarly or can you immediately see things you would do differently?
Rate these websites by their score in Google by entering related keywords (of that niche). Do they organically appear on the first page of Google, or can you find it somewhere on page five? The moment your competitor’s website is badly ranked or not at all, it means that a lot has to happen to their site. Take your advantage by investing in a high organic and healthy position in the various search engines. It goes without saying that you will beat your competitors, even the big ones. They also have difficulty obtaining and retaining high organic positions for all of their search terms.
Do's & Don'ts
Things you should make sure you do when you start a business; The Do’s
- Decide in advance what the function of your website is going to be. Is the site’s aim to inform your customers, or is the goal is to create new customers through your site? These are essentially different things.
- Marketing is not only possible through your website, marketing is also informing your family, friends and your neighbors. Give maximum exposure of the fact that you now start this business. In other words, a good marketing campaign should be broad and not be limited to only online marketing.
- Look at websites of the competitors in your niche, as already mentioned before. Allow plenty of time here so that you get a feeling about the methods used by others regarding their SEO.
- Organize an informal talk with an SEO agency. Directional Preference gladly takes the time to discuss your wishes and possibilities.
- Also map out what an appropriate marketing scheme would cost and what it can deliver in the short and long term. Without this knowledge you do not know where you stand in relation to your marketing business. Again, talk to other entrepreneurs and how they organize their marketing. People generally like to share their experiences. Make sure you make use of that!
- Be sure to properly map the disadvantages of your chosen niche. What are the risks, how is the market at present and in the future in your chosen niche. In other words, make sure you become one with your discipline and stay constantly informed of changes. In this way you can better anticipate and respond to market changes than if you are not sufficiently informed. In essence, you are a step ahead.
Things you shouldn’t do; The Don’ts
- Building a website ‘just to have a website’. Start-ups often have a site that does not really have a purpose other than being able to find the address. Then you have to ask yourself whether your site really has a function.
- Never give up your current job too easily, this is too dangerous for your income. You’ll really need to create a solid foundation before you say goodbye to your employer. Naturally this choice depends on many factors, including your own capital and the family situation for example. Handle this with care.
- Do not invest thousands of euros without making sure that you’re somewhat confident that the investment will also benefit. This is tricky, and this is why care is advised here. Let yourself be properly informed by various parties.
- Do not be too hasty or impatient. Entrepreneurship takes time and can often feel sticky and slow. Accept the fact that you are going to use a lot of time and energy, particularly in the early stages of your business.
- Do not participate in major (expensive) purchase contracts. Stay as flexible as possible in the beginning and make sure you keep costs manageable. This does not mean that you should not invest. Spend your money on the basis of maximum safety and minimum risk of failure.
- Watch out for questionable suppliers. Read contracts carefully and ensure that important issues are fixed. Your financial buffer is limited so pay close attention to contracts before signing them.
Legal obligations as an entrepreneur
Obviously you have some obligations as an entrepreneur. A number of important ones at a glance:
- The registration in the Chamber of Commerce.
- Applying for a VAT number so that the tax authorities can determine whether your company is responsible for paying VAT.
- You must have professional accounting in which all financial transaction are visible.
- In some cases, you need to have certain licenses according to the branch you are part of.
- All external communication, e-mail, letters and other paper media, the Chamber of Commerce number and VAT number of your company should be clearly visible.
Costs & Support
SEO Rates for Start-ups
How much does a good SEO campaign cost anyway?
Directional Preference uses reduced rates for the starting entrepreneur. Our online marketing method is partially built to get the starter firmly in the ‘online’ saddle. The moment we make your website search engine friendly and fully in line with our methodology, the price ranges between $ 500 and $ 2500 per month. This is a continuous process in which the website should be continuously optimized for best results. A couple of factors depend on what your wishes are and what your budget is. This can be made clear in an interview.
Why would you choose Directional Preference?
Our SEO vision is open and simple:
“To use the most effective SEO tools and up to date knowledge to its fullest extent to achieve top positions for websites in the search engines and maintain them.”
This is our passion and what keeps us busy. One of the main skills of using efficient SEO is be compliant with the most up to date (SEO) rules. On this specific point, we distinguish ourselves from other agencies. Indeed, it is important to remain constantly aware of what the search engines find relevant and less relevant according to to their search algorithm. Directional Preference is one of the players in SEO that have mastered this art. We’re constantly improving ourselves. We successfully transfer this passion to the results of our customers.