Start-Up Hack: The Basics Of Starting A Business

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) recently released unemployment figures which showed that the unemployment rate remained stagnant at 27.7%. Using the expanded definition that includes discouraged workers, the unemployment rate for those younger than 25 sits at a shocking 67.4%. Entrepreneurship has long been touted as one of the solutions to our job creation challenge, for this to succeed, we need to create more sustainable business ventures. Starting a business requires capital, resilience, technical know-how, and a market, but before all this, we need to get the basics right. In this start-up hack, we share some basics on how to kickstart a reputable business.

Once you move from ideation to execution, you need to come up with a name for your business, this is the first step in building a reputation. This decision should not be taken lightly as it will affect how potential customers engage with your business, if at all. Avoid using slang or buzzwords to name your business, slang might limit your appeal and buzzwords are usually only popular for a moment in time. It is advisable to think of a corporate name that can hold its own on a global stage this includes names that celebrate our rich cultural heritage, think MaXhosa, Ndalo Media, Royal Bafokeng ect

Digital presence is the next step in creating a reputable business, most customers are likely to engage with your business digitally, a professional website is key. Keep the layout and content on your website simple and minimal, all you need is a home page, your products & services page, a contact us page and an about us page. The primary purpose of your website is to position your business as a reputable entity. Social media pages are also necessary for customer engagement and social media marketing.

As part of your website package, you will need to create custom domain e-mail addresses. Avoid using free e-mail services, a custom e-mail address will create a perception of an established business, a key element in developing a trust relationship with your customer. As a start, create a generic and a personalized e-mail addresses. Ensure you create an e-mail signature with all your contact details for a corporate feel.

Now that you have your communication tools set-up, take note of how you communicate with your customers. Professionalism and business etiquette play a major role in making great first impressions and maintaining relationships. Avoid using slang, emojis and casual chat messaging when communicating through your business. Be prompt in your responses, this could be a matter of either closing or losing the deal.

Finally, most entrepreneurs tend to focus on titles, a start-up with less than 10 employees can’t reasonably have a CEO. You’re an employee of your business until such time that you have a board to hold you accountable as the CEO. Remember, you’re creating an impression of an established business, modest titles like operations manager, sales officer, or general manager might do the trick. Drop the directorships for later when your business scales.

They say you’re only in business once you’ve made your first sale, armed with the right idea, these basics will go a long way to help you go from idea to first sale.

Good Luck!

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