7 Essential Business Tips for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Let’s take a look at some fast facts:

  • As many as 62% of American billionaires are self-made.
  • Globally, there are 582 million entrepreneurs.
  • The U.S. is the number one country to start your own business, according to 2018’s Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI).
  • A full 80% of startups last at least one year.
  • Disney, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon all got their starts in a basement or garage.

These statistics demonstrate a few very important things: 1. If you are thinking about starting your own business, you are one of many entrepreneurs and you are in good company, 2. Entrepreneurship can be very profitable, and 3. It is a large, competitive market.

Armed with the right knowledge and skills, it is very possible to make a profitable living as an entrepreneur. There are a ton of business tips for beginners out there. Here are some essentials to get you started:

Know Your Market

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It is best to know your market, niche, or industry inside-out before you get started. Sit down with a laptop, notebook, or a smartphone and your favorite note-taking app, and work out all the specifics. Choose a specific niche with the aim to be as useful as possible. That means you want to hone in on a specific market, like child care business solutions or coffee–but not too specific, like avolattes (latte or coffee-based drinks served in avocado halves).

Next, think about who your customers will be, necessary supplies, the profitability of a physical location, and ways to make money through online products and services. To appeal to the greatest amount of customers, choose a product or service that is relevant year-round, meets a pressing customer need, solves a big problem for consumers, and/or passes as popular and in-demand on free SEO and PPC management tools, like Google Trends. Use Google Trends to set your time-frame–whether that’s popular searches in the past 12 months or past five years, and use it to determine whether your particular niche or product is decreasing in popularity, going strong, or even increasing in popularity.

Don’t Go It Alone

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One of the most essential business tips for beginners is to be humble and know when to ask for help. Chances are, anyone who is starting out is going to have questions and areas where they lack expertise. Work with executive coaching and capacity services to get your business off the ground running.

An executive coach can help you make important connections, and these connections can convert to profit and sales. In fact, meeting with people face-to-face comes with a 40% close rate–a figure that proves it is unwise to ignore important networking channels. Coaches can also help you fine-tune social skills, also important for one-on-one meetings. Finally, a coach can help you identify areas for an opportunity (make you more self-aware in regards to your strengths and shortcomings), teach you how to motivate and empathize with others, and teach you to become a better leader as a whole.

Capacity services help you determine the specifics of customer demand and buying trends, and make sure you have the supplies and resources to meet it.

Build Your Brand

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To successfully build a brand, start with the basics. The best business tips for beginners start small, and that applies to creating your brand, too. Start with a name and logo. Remember that your name and logo should align with your business goals. In other words, the most effective names tie-in with your market and your target customers. Make what you do as clear as possible. Your business name and logo should not leave customers guessing.

Review your purpose and brand accordingly. Use simple tools or models like Author Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model. The circle is straightforward, a big circle with three smaller ones inside, prompting entrepreneurs to identify what, how, and why. That means your product or service. How should get you thinking about how your company differs from others like it. Why encompasses the meaning, passion, and reasons behind what you do. Knowing your why is a strong tool for branding.

From there, it is important to pin down things like tone and personality. For example, legal offices will want to come across as professional, yet accessible. Food and beverage companies have the freedom to be more relaxed and even strike a playful, friendly, or conversational tone to bring in customers. Once you establish a personality and tone, stay consistent across web pages, emails, and social media accounts. Your web design, logo, and any publications need to match your company’s personality. A refined law office should stick to neutral colors, like white, black, gray, and brown–not anything too vibrant or out there, like bright pink or neon green.

Further down the line, consider adding small touches to your brand, like personalization and well-timed promotions. Use email lists and social media to gather customer information, then use it! If you know your customers’ names, address them directly in advertisements, marketing texts or emails, and whenever online marketing or digital marketing allows for it. Offer promotional deals or rewards when customers least expect it. Both of these tactics make interacting with your company seem like a personal experience, and that does wonders for your company’s image and brand.

Spread The Word: Content And Print Marketing

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Creating a brand is just the beginning. From there, you have to think about content marketing. Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled “Content is King” in 1996, and it is likely that even he did not realize how true that would turn out to be. Businesses who regularly blog are 13 times more likely to receive a positive return on investment (ROI) than companies who do not, and over half–55%–of all businesses report that content creation is their number one inbound marketing strategy. With undeniable benefits at stake, here are a few business tips for beginners specifically dealing with content:

  • Start a blog and update it regularly. A blog is a great source of continuous content. For optimal results, make sure to update it a minimum of a few times per week.
  • Know what you’re trying to accomplish. Any content should be informative and useful. Answer questions about your service or product.
  • Long-form content ranks best. Content should be at least 1,000 words. Content ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 words earns the top rankings from Google.
  • Take advantage of all forms of content. Content is a general term. Blogs, articles, webinars, whitepapers, YouTube videos, and podcasts all count as content. Use video to complement written content, and put some serious consideration into starting a podcast. Customers who listen to podcasts are more likely to be active on your social media–94% more likely, in fact!
  • Promote your content. Promote content using social media, email, or PPC campaigns.

Deep Dive Into The World Of SEO

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Search engine optimization changes on a day-to-day basis. One of the best business tips for beginners may be to simply outsource these services, but if you plan to tackle them on your own–or gain a better understanding of the process–it is essential to know that SEO is mutable, or ever-changing. Here are the best ways to rank well on top search engines like Google in 2020:

  • Get familiar with snippets! Snippets (position zero) are the results that show up when you type a question into Google or ask a voice assistant a question and the answer appears right at the top, with the most relevant information laid out in a few short sentences or a few well-chosen bullet points. These are typically 29 words or less. Aim for no more than 100 words.
  • Voice SEO is an emerging trend. Alexa, Cortana, Siri, OK Google, and Bixby are only the beginning. Voice assistants and voice-assisted technology are fast becoming the new norm. With that in mind, it is important to tailor your SEO strategy to voice searches. One of the best business tips for beginners may be writing or producing content in a natural, conversational tone. This year, projections show that voice searches will account for 50% of all Internet searches. Do not miss opportunities to reach customers. Know how they search and write content for these specific searches.
  • E-A-T. In one of its most recent updates, Google referenced a new, go-to acronym for businesses and marketers. That acronym was EAT. EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Google expects you to strive to embody these principles. Content should be as informative and useful as possible, but it should be accurate as well. Some of the most straightforward business tips for beginners entail keeping up on Google and Google algorithm updates. If Google concedes that it is granting high rankings to trustworthy sites with fact-checked information, make sure to be among them.
  • You want to be in the local results. Finally, more and more customers are gearing searches toward their local area. Provide accurate, up-to-date business information. Make your location well-known in snippets, and ask customers to leave reviews on Google and Yelp. All of these things will improve your local SEO rankings.

Visualize It

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More than half–or 65%–of us are visual learners. It’s no wonder. Approximately 40% of the nerve endings in our brains connect to our eyes.

In order for visual employees to fully understand business strategies, video, images, and other visuals are a must. A short video that ranges from five to 10 minutes long is often much easier to digest and follow than 20 to 40 pages of text–the average length of a written business plan. For the most effective business plan, strategies and business tips for beginners should focus on:

  1. The why. Passion drives businesses to succeed. The very best business tips for beginners involve clearly knowing and stating your why. If you know why you are in business and feel strongly about it, results will follow.
  2. Create a timeline. Clearly lay it out for you, your investors, and your employees. Use a visual to show your plan for the next year or two years. Show milestones like hiring and acquiring necessary supplies, web design, and rolling out products for public consumption.
  3. Do the finances. Charts and graphs are an easy way to show finances or projected finances. The visual can help you accurately keep track, or help demonstrate expected growth and profit to investors.
  4. Understand the importance of visualization. Not only is it useful for employees to visualize your business plan, but it can also be a powerful tool to manifest your goals. Many top athletes visualize challenges and ways to overcome them. Treat your business plan the same way.

A Few Words About Print Design

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Although the best business tips for beginners in 2020 largely deal with the Internet, print design still has its place. If you meet clients and customers face-to-face, print becomes especially important. You want a business card, menu, flyer, or other physical marketing materials to hand to them. This will help you create a lasting impression–yes, even in 2020.

The best print materials are eye-catching but not cluttered, use just a few complementary colors, and use high-quality images. Customers are constantly trying to form an impression of you and your business. Blurry or heavily pixelated images can–and often do–send the wrong message. Remember legibility is key. Another thing to keep in mind is your brand. Like any web materials, business cards, menus, brochures, and handouts should be perfectly in-line with your brand, personality, and overall company image. Minimalist designs and designs with striking pops of color are trending in 2020. More companies are using print materials and marketing materials to tell a personal story to appeal to customers than in years past.

While keeping in mind these business tips for beginners, the most important step is to get started. Fear, anxiety, and risk aversion are some of the biggest things holding us back and preventing us from making progress. In a survey, participants listed their top fear as the fear of failure (31%), far outpacing other fears like the paranormal (15%) or being alone (9%). Do not let the fear of failure stop you from starting your own business, and remember–if you are afraid–don’t be afraid of what may happen if you try. Be afraid of what will happen if you don’t.