Call Management supported the maiden InBusiness InCork Expo at the City Hall on the 14th November. The aim of the Expo was to provide advice and support to start-ups and SME.
Here are our “Tips to consider when Setting up your own Business”.
1. Market Research
One of the most important factors to consider when setting up your own business, is to identify your target market and establish is it big enough to support your business, how many competitors are there and what are the barriers to entry. Prior to setting up the company it is imperative that market research is carried out so that you get to know the needs and wants of your consumers. Once you have carried out a feasibility study you are in a better position to write a business plan.
2. Have a business plan
The main objective is to provide direction for both you and your team during the various lifecycle stages of the company. Your business plan should include a description of your idea, financial projections, staff and location description, sales and marketing plan overview, customer description, etc.
Tip: Enterprise Ireland and County boards can provide you with business plan templates and valuable advice.
3. Location & Phone numbers
Many companies choose to operate from home for the first year of their business. A good thing to know is that outsourcing companies can provide you with a business mailing address and meetings rooms close to your key markets.
Phone numbers provide, as well, a better approach to key markets. Having a business landline number provides a more stable image of your company and the country and area code can mean a lot to potential clients. For example if a Dublin company has a Cork and London phone number, potential clients will believe that they are located in these areas.
Tip: Call Management can provide you with mailing address, meeting rooms & an array of Irish, UK, Freephone and international business phone numbers without the hassle of long term contracts. Contact us for more information!
4. Sales Cycle
It should be evident, if your product is seasonal (it can be sold only at a certain period Christmas, Halloween, Summer… ) You can outsource or contract virtually everything these day from office telephone call overflow service, payroll, administration duties, accounting, cash collection & brochure fulfilment and postage.
Tip: Expect the unexpected and make contact with companies well in advance,
5. Sales/Marketing Plan
Establish your maximum spend, decide on what channels you want to use – radio, print, online or television. Once a decision is made, plans should be put in place to implement your strategy and make sure your support services are all working correctly to deliver the service level you have advertised.
Tip: Get advice from your local enterprise board and if possible request a mentor for direction
6. Be aware of support services/companies
Know that Enterprise Ireland, County Boards and other agencies are there to offer support and advice possibly funding during the initial phase of your business.
Tip: People usually think that entrepreneurs are able to cope with everything; however, entrepreneurs are also humans. So, seek advice and focus on your core competencies and outsource the elements that are time consuming and are not contributing to the bottom line.
7. Be aware of outsourcing companies & how they can help your business
Outsourcing companies have many services to help small and medium enterprises. Different services can be used as your company develops through the company lifecycle.
Initially, start small and use our mailing address, office hours telephone answering service and meeting rooms.
During the growth stage you may need an order line, cash collection service and lead generation.
Maturity stage, you may need a 24/7 telephone answering services, database management and a dedicated team employed directly to cater for your companies requirements.
Tip: Check if any of our services fit with your needs.
8. Ensure your company is registered
Tip: A brilliant accountant is vital
9. Be aware of the power of social media
Social Media is essential for any B2B and B2C company; however, it can be a “dangerous game”.
It is essential that the following steps are followed to ensure, that your company is portrayed in the best light possible.
1 – Be careful what you post – Probably the most important factor to remember. Don’t post anything that could be deemed as offensive. If possible try to avoid posting humourous images or jokes, as you want your company to be seen to be as professional as possible
2- Don’t get into an argument – if a customer chooses to complain via Twitter or Facebook ask for their email address/contact details and deal with the complaint privately. If a customer becomes abusive, block them from your profile, and then report it. Don’t ever respond or retweet the posts that the customer has sent you, it makes the company look unprofessional. Similarly don’t ever bad mouth anyone online or in an email.
3- If unsure what to write ask someone. There are many social media courses running nationwide that can offer you advice and guidance.
10. Sales Price
If you decide to introduce an special introductory rate to attract clients it should be clear as to how long the special rates will run for.
Tip: See this example