When you are in the first throes of launching a business, you might be tempted to spend out on everything. Being very sure that you will see a return on your investment within hours of launching. Some of us are that lucky (well, lucky in terms of we worked damn hard and had a great strategy in place), your product sells out, you get an organic shout-out on Instagram from a huge influencer. More commonly, however, we don’t see those investments back for a short while. So, what should we be investing in and what should we be doing ourselves.
There are a million very great web designers, there are even more who aren’t as good but will still take your cash. There are also a few platforms like Wordpress, Square Space, Wix plus a few more that are almost drag and drop website builders. You can simply buy some hosting, a domain name and begin to get to grips with basic website building slowly. As you get more comfortable with it, you can start manipulating the code and learning some CSS. In the early days, even if you have a store (Woocommerce is an excellent plug-in for online stores), you can save a lot of cash by learning to handle your own website.
Social Media, the art of the online conversation. This is where you will be ‘meeting’ your customers, getting to know what people are talking about. You can, of course, hire someone to manage this for you. Freelancer, Upwork, People Per Hour and Fivver are great places to hire a Virtual Assistant or someone to handle your Social Media campaigns.
When it comes to your Social Media, it is worth thinking about what you want to achieve from it. If you are tackling this yourself, there are some great platforms that will help you put together and campaign, and keep track of the metrics. Hootsuite, MissingLettr, Sprout Social, Buffer and the very gorgeous Planoly for Instagram only.
Heading out to local networking events is all well and good, but if you don’t have anything to leave behind in terms of business cards, then you might be missing out on some business. If you have a stand with products on, having things like folding cards, and a few pens is a great idea. Remember not to buy too many of any of the marketing products straight away. Purchase a smaller amount of marketing materials and see what has the best impact, you will then know where to invest your money in the future.
If you have a laptop and a kitchen counter, you have about as much space as you’ll ever need for most internet businesses. Don’t waste good money on renting office space until much later on. That said, there is no harm in heading out to your local co-working spaces like the Impact Hub, or your favourite coffee shop and plugging in for a while there. A change of scenery is a great idea, losing money on office rental isn’t.