When you’re in the beginning phase of your business, it can be tempting to jump right into the fun stuff, the creative and exciting parts. But it is important that you invest the time to put a solid foundation in place first. What exactly does that mean? It means you need to plan, do research, and prepare! Sounds exhausting already, right? But if you do it right, you’ll be on the right tract, from the start.

There’s no doubt about it—starting a new business can be intimidating. And being a female business owner can add additional stressors. Don’t overwhelm yourself before you even get started. Because while it will take hard work, commitment, and focus, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Think of it like putting together a complex puzzle: To make it work all you need is the right pieces.

do your research

Before you start any new endeavor the first thing you want to do is research the market. Having a solid understanding of the demographic that you’re looking to pursue, is priceless. Think about it this way, in order to meet the needs of your potential clients, you need to be able to predict what they like, their spending habits, and where they like purchase – and in order to do that, you need to be crystal clear on who your target market is!

know the competition

It is not enough to know your target market. You also need to know who your direct competition is. Competition research is essential for successful market entry, and long term success.  Take the time to know how your competition does business, what their marketing strategy is and what their customers think of their business model. You don’t need this information to copy or try to emulate the competition, you need it to know what differentiates you from them. This information comes in handy when it’s time to design your marketing messages.

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know your finances

It’s easy to find out how much your inventory will cost versus what you can sell it for… but have you taken the time to create your startup budget. Your startup budget helps you identify the real cost of birthing your business. I includes the cost of equipment, lease origination, insurance, personnel and decorating. It’s not as easy as saying ‘oh the rent for the space is only $1,100/month’ – when you’re first getting started you’ll likely have costs involved in getting the space ready (paint, furniture, POS system…etc). Be prepared!

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If you’re starting a brick and mortar business, there’s nothing more important than choosing your location wisely. While you should consider costs, accessibility is also a priority factor. Just because the rent may be less, doesn’t mean the location will be ideal for your target market.

Don’t think that you have to shoulder the full expense of a building. There are now options to help you keep costs down. For example, if you’re thinking of starting a spa or salon, consider the new office rental concepts to save money and take advantage of their already established location!

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create a strong brand

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to get the word out about your product or services. As you start to create your business’ brand persona, it’s important to create the right tone for your communication. You want to align your brand message with the mission of your business.

Visually, your logo, your marketing pieces, and your advertisements all will need to communicate the same message.

In addition, use social media to build trust with potential customers/clients. Share behind the scenses footage, explain your process or product through video postings, and when you’re first getting started, establish market trust: ask your first clients to give you a testimonial. This shows that you’re not the only one tooting your own horn and solidifies your credibility!

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