Here is the second part of last week’s blog ‘How to Start a Start-up’, if you are currently at home with grand ideas of starting a new business but you don’t know how to, this is for you!

6)            Get some business cards: The sooner you get out networking the better but you need to give something to the people you meet. Again, this doesn’t have to cost the earth, there are plenty of online design and printing services where you can affordably produce professional and good quality business cards. Just please make sure you use both sides, why would you leave the back of your own business card blank – it’s a free advertising space! Try www.vistaprint.co.uk, www.moo.com, www.zazzle.co.uk/businesscards
7)            Start building client testimonials and/or case studies: Firstly, you need content for your website in order to attract paying clients, therefore building a portfolio of case studies is the perfect way to achieve both these aims. How do you gain respectable paying clients if you have no proof of your work? Well, you contact those who you have worked for in the past and friends with businesses, or businesses you may know well, and offer to work for free or barter your services accordingly in order to build up a handful of glowing recommendations.
8)            Network: You need to get out there and start telling people about yourself and your business. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but even if you start attending free business seminars then chat to the person sat next to you, it is a start. The good news is that networking doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are plenty of free or relatively cheap business talks, events and seminars happening locally. Look up your local Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Women in Business (if you are a woman that is), BNI etc. Ask your business bank manager, join Social Media-based groups, Twitter and Facebook are especially useful for this, Google ‘free business events’ in your area etc. I assure you there will be something on almost every week if not every day. Then take the leap of faith and go along with your head held high and a smile on your face ready to tell people about what you do.
9)            Open Social Media accounts for your business: Don’t open every type of social media account you can think of, firstly you won’t have the time to keep the accounts up-to-date, secondly your target audience may not even be there… If you are selling Intellectual Property then Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn may be best. If you are selling clothes then Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook may work harder. Once you have opened one account try and use the same username across all other social media accounts i.e. I am @TabithaisTMA on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, although saying that some sites do issue you a username i.e. Pinterest generated a username for me of @marketing0121
10)          Launch your brand: You have put in months of hard work planning, tweaking, designing and delivering your new business so now shout about it! Have a date in mind when you are going to send your website live and most importantly share your business links on your personal social media sites so your family and friends can start supporting you.
I used the above steps for my own business and on 29th March 2015 The Marketing Assistant website was launched with two client case studies and several glowing testimonials all produced for free or in exchange for services and within the first 10 months 11 paying clients had been secured!
Of course, it’s not that simple, hours and hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears went into the whole process. Some things worked first time, others failed, so be prepared to be flexible in your initial thoughts, plans, hopes and ideas but stay positive and focused. Network a lot, find suitable partners that can support you – a good accountant is worth their weight in gold – contact key influencers in your industry and local area, PR yourself to everyone and most importantly don’t burn any bridges!
So, if this is something that tickles your fancy then stay tuned for further ‘Tales of a Kitchen Table Start-up’.
For more information, please visit www.themarketingassistant.co.uk or contact Tabitha Beasley, The Marketing Assistant Tabitha@themarketingassistant.co.uk