Start-ups: Don’t buy into all of the myths

Over the last few years it would be fair to say that the start-up culture has really come into its own. Whether it was the economic dip, or a completely unrelated reason, we’re not going to speculate. However, start-ups are popping up in all sorts of places, and entrepreneurs are constantly being bred.

At the same time, the surge in start-up culture has led to a lot of misinformation being published about new businesses. Myths have been developed and as the title of today’s post might have already suggested, we are today going to scrutinize some of these misconceptions and reveal the real truths behind them.

Myth #1 – You need too much capital

Once upon a time, this was completely true. After all, most new businesses were started in a bricks-and-mortar form, and this in itself added more costs. However, through the power of the internet there is no doubt that this myth has been reset so to speak, and you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of capital to get going.

Of course, there are exceptions. If a bricks-and-mortar store is going to be at the forefront of your enterprise, you do need some form of funding. However, don’t be put off by the suggestion that items such as point-of-sale terminals are going to hike up your costs – these are low cost, or even free, to install with vendors making their money on small transaction fees (that will barely touch your bottom line).

Myth #2 – Customers will flock to your great store or product

This next misconception is at the other side of the spectrum. A lot of new businesses are under the belief that customers will flock to their new product, under the “build it and they will come” philosophy. Without trying to be party-poopers, this isn’t going to happen. Sure, you may have released the best product of its kind on the market, but if nobody knows about it this is all for nothing.

You need a solid marketing plan in place long before your product hits the shelves. People need to be aware of it and without this awareness, you really will be on a hiding to nothing.

Myth #3 – You can do it all yourself

With funding low initially, this next myth is hardly surprising. However, as much as you might want to carry out every task yourself, we would advise exercising caution. Sure, you’re not going to be in a position to afford full time staff, but the rise of the freelance economy means that there are a whole host of skilled, temporary workers out there who can help you with everything from marketing to product design.

Remember, if you do it yourself you might save money, but by just having one extra pair of hands you can effectively double your output.

Myth #4 – Big companies eat start-ups for breakfast

It can be hard to not be scared by the big competitors in your field, but this should only occur if you can’t differentiate yourselves from them. If your service is the same, you are destined to fail. If you can offer differences, and ultimately an advantage to the customer, this is where you can prosper.

Remember, some customers are just scared and put off by big brands – and this is a unique advantage that you hold in itself. You can give a personal service, which is something that is greatly appreciated in the modern-day market.

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Why the internet has driven retailers online

Wondering Why the internet has driven retailers online?
Photo by CC user techinasia on Flickr

If you are thinking about starting a business, you have to consider where and how you’ll showcase your products to customers. A mere 30 years ago, your options were limited. You could have a brick-and-mortar building, or work out of your home, but you had to attract customers to your store. You had a limited region of coverage for sales, at least until your business expanded into other markets. Advertising was very different. The use of mass mail marketing was common, and you had to rely on word of mouth. Billboards and television commercials caught the eyes of your customers.

Fast forward to 2017, and the options for you as a business owner have expanded exponentially. Your customers can be from anywhere on the entire planet, via the internet. You can still send out mailers and advertise on TV, but if you aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to develop your business online, you are missing out on your full business potential. Here’s why the internet has driven retailers online.

Potential for profits

It is expected that online sales via computers and mobile devices will be over $500 billion by 2020 in the US alone. E-commerce is growing at a faster rate than retail, with over 224 million shoppers spending more online every year. The bottom line is that there is money to be earned from online selling. To ignore it is to hobble your own business potential.

Online to enhance a physical site

Even if you aren’t ready or able to launch a website, you can still take advantage of the internet to build customers. If you establish a news feed, you will be reminding subscribers of your company every time that you post a new article. Posts on Facebook and Twitter also get your company name in front of subscribers, whose reposts are an open invitation to new customers. You can use online communications to invite customers to events at your store, publicize sales, and announce new products.

Online combined with a physical site

No matter how successful your brick-and-mortar business is, an online presence can help drive new customers to your door. Imagine that you are an artisan who sells handmade pottery and runs a storefront. Your customers are going to consist of the people living in the city where you sell. They may recommend your pots to friends, and eventually you may see customers from around the region, the country, and even the world. However, these people must call or write to you for your pots. Somehow, you must send them photos of your products for them to decide if they want to buy something.

The time invested alone in making a profit on the pots is staggering. With a small investment in a website, where you can showcase your pots, receive payments, and set up shipping, you will save time in customer contact. You will build your customer list by recommendations and search engine optimization (SEO). By using social media, you can update customers on new products. With a customer reward program, you can get positive reviews and return business. These efforts will all convert into sales with little to no work save the initial set-up.

Online presence only

Many stores operate solely online. Businesses that are only online can take advantage of the same networking and marketing opportunities as the potter, but they don’t have to pay for the cost of a building and all its attendant expenses, including employees and utilities. With your online presence, you can offer detailed information and videos on your company’s products and services. Customers can preview products and compare prices before they buy. One company that has made a success of an online-only presence is As Seen On TV. The company offers a variety of great products for the home, cars, pets, and more. It produces videos to show customers how its products are used, and the videos are just one way that the company drives sales.

Online is the future

The technology explosion is having a major impact on retail sales. Robotics can now put together customer orders. Analytics can tell you how to target certain audiences with specific products. Online payment systems are popping up to keep transactions safe and quick. Quick delivery of online products with drones is just around the corner.

Whether you are dipping your toe in the water, or basing your business solely online, there is an advantage to using the internet. Even a small investment can mean great profits. Start looking into how the internet can improve your business.

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