The best resources for startups
You’ve got your business idea, pulled together a realistic financial plan and hired a core startup team. The wheels are set in motion, but your journey towards business success is only just beginning. So, what’s the next step for your business startup?
In this guide, we’ll show you how to take your business from a great idea to a marketable and successful brand. We’ll cover important topics – such as branding, social media, customer interaction and creating an effective website – and we’ll share some of the best available startup business resources with you.
Sound good? Then let’s get going.
Establishing your brand
You’ve put a lot of thought into your business so far, so you need to create a brand that truly reflects your audience, product offering and brand values.
Choosing the right name for your business
A clear, powerful name can have a significant impact on the success of your business. Try to avoid choosing anything hard to spell or something that could limit expansion, such as “Book for Toddlers” if you might sell books for adults one day.
One good way of creating a brand name is to host a collaborative session with your startup team. You can bounce ideas off each other and find something that everyone feels confident with.
Creating a logo that best represents your brand
Your logo is one of the first things your potential customer sees when interacting with your brand. That’s why your logo needs to represent your brand personality correctly.
If you’re a digital company, you might consider using a fresh, modern sans-serif font, similar to the typefaces used by Google and Apple. Whereas, if you’re in a traditional industry, you may prefer a serif-style script font.
Try out a few options and see what works best for your business type, keeping your target audience in mind throughout the process.
Next, you need to decide on brand colours. A clear colour palette helps to create brand recognition – think of the teal favoured by Tiffany & Co. or the crisp red used by Virgin, for example. Choose a colour that represents the personality behind your business, while also appealing to your target market.
Setting up a website
Though it might seem scary, setting up a website isn’t as hard as you might think. With lots of templates available online and a whole host of domain providers, you can get yourself up and running pretty quickly.
However, if you feel you need expert help then reach out to a digital agency who’ll be able to assist you through the setup and ensure that best practices are being used from the start.
Creating your mission statement
At this stage, it’s also a good idea to create a mission statement – a simple sentence that defines your brand purpose. Having a clear mission statement helps ensure everyone understands why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s also something to refer back to when making important business decisions.
Here are some examples of mission statements to get you started:
- A photography blog: To create engaging, compelling content that helps customers take better photos.
- An online fashion retailer: To make people feel confident in their skin and provide a seamless online shopping experience.
- A taxi company: To help customers discover new places, meet new people, and bring about new opportunities without having to worry about transport.
Your mission statement should underline every decision your business makes and will help to keep your team focused with a clear, shared goal.
Top 10 resources for startups
With the logo, mission statement and website for your brand complete, the next step is finding the best startup software to help organise and grow your business. Luckily, a lot of resources are available for free.
With uses ranging from improving internal communications to simplifying reporting, here are our favourite ten free software for startups:
Slack is probably the easiest way of communicating with your team in real-time. With the ability to set up different workstreams for various projects, it encourages organisation and collaboration better than most other free alternatives out there. You can also integrate it with a variety of third party tools, making it a one-stop shop for all of your organisational needs.
The to-do list king! Trello helps keep your progress clear and visual with the ability to add deadlines, assign tasks and share files. The simple drag-and-drop functionality means keeping on top of your task list is super simple and entirely hassle-free.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a copywriter just yet, Grammarly is a brilliant tool for ensuring you’re writing grammatically correct copy. It’ll let you know if you’ve made a spelling or punctuation mistake so you won’t scare potential customers off with accidental typos.
Want to know what your customers are saying about you online? Brand24 is a comprehensive social media management tool that can help you track mentions of your brand name online. It’ll help you track your brand reputation, giving you insight into what your customers really think, which you can use to optimise your business strategy.
5. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most useful – and free! – analytics tools around. It can be tricky to grasp at first, but once you know the basics, you’ll be able to monitor in-depth data about your customer, such as how they’re entering your site, what they’re doing when there, plus insightful conversion and revenue data.
Digital marketing is all about catching your customer’s eye and breaking through the noise. Canva lets you create simple, aesthetically-pleasing designs that you can use in your marketing and social media to grab attention. Its interface is super-simple and allows you to create sleek, appealing graphics within minutes.
7. Google Docs
Allowing multiple people to access and edit files at once, Google Docs makes file sharing and collaboration a doddle. You can also access files on any device, so you can work on the go – no problem.
Take the hassle out of social media by scheduling your posts in advance with Hootsuite. The free version of the plan allows you to schedule up to 30 posts at a time on a variety of different channels, so you can ensure you’re promoting your brand regularly, even if you’re not in the office.
Wondering how easy your site is to find in Google and other search engines? WooRank is a search engine optimisation (SEO) tool which gives you an overview of your performance. It will also suggest keywords, technical errors to fix, and content opportunities to improve your visibility.
A user-friendly platform that’ll help take your email marketing to the next level. You can integrate MailChimp with various third party tools so it can get to work immediately. You’ll also get easy-to-read reports on your email performance benchmarked against others in your industry.
The marketing budget for a startup is usually pretty tight, but that doesn’t mean effective marketing isn’t possible. In fact, there are a range of effective startup marketing ideas that won’t break the bank.
Organic Social Media
Posting on social media is entirely free, but get the right message to the right person at the right time and organic posts become a goldmine for acquiring and converting customers.
Our top tips? Make sure you post engaging, eye-catching content regularly. Provide links back to your site in each post and encourage interaction by asking questions of your customers as often as you can. There’s no harm in asking people to like and share your content too. After all, if it’s useful and valuable to your target market, your audience will gladly share it with their peers.
Building a social audience organically means you’ll also have a ready-made, in-market audience to sell to – completely free of charge.
Though perhaps not as glamorous as other marketing methods, following basic SEO practices is a must for any startup business.
In order for customers to find you, search engines will need to properly understand and index your website content. To help this happen, you’ll need to adhere to technical best practices on your website, such as adding image tags to all your photos.
You can also improve your visibility by including relevant keywords and phrases in your copy – think about the questions that your customers will be searching, and then answer them. Make sure that you pay attention to your meta titles and descriptions you write, too – these are the preview text that people will see in the search results; use them to encourage people to click on your listing.
Social Media Advertising
Want to reach more potential customers on social media? A social media marketing strategy for startups often includes paid social, which is a cost-effective way of raising brand awareness amongst people most likely to be interested in your product.
The huge benefit of social media advertising? The results are pretty much instant. In just ten minutes and for as little as £10, you can create and target adverts at people with specific interests, while providing appealing offers to entice customers and encourage them to visit your site.
What’s more, it’s completely measurable too. You’ll get in-depth data on how successful your ads are, such as click-through-rate (CTR), impressions and engagement to help you optimise and build better converting ads in the future.
Building your email list is essential for any startup. While social media and blog posts can provide valuable insight for your customers, a well-timed email gives you more control over exactly what your customers are digesting and when.
What’s more, instead of a social post which caters to many, an email can be made entirely personal to the individual. You can use email to nurture users through the marketing funnel by creating a personalised workflow that’s entirely unique to them, which helps to build trust and increases your chances of generating revenue through customer action.
Get on the Search Engines
Where do most people go when they’re looking for information? Google (or another search engine). So it’s important that your business shows up there when people search for it. SEO plays a big role in this, but there are a few other things you can do too.
Firstly, you can set up a profile for your company on both Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. This means you’ll show up in the right-hand side of each engine’s results page when someone searches for your company name – a valuable step in building brand awareness and trust. From these listings, customers are able to call you directly (if on mobile), see relevant photos and videos, leave reviews, visit your website and get important information about your business, such as your opening hours and services.
With a strong online presence, a growing email list, and a fully functional, SEO-focused website – your business is ready for expansion.
Build out your team
You may need to consider building out your core startup team to deal with the uplift in demand. You could begin by hiring experts in each field to take your digital channels to the next level. For example, SEO experts could help to streamline your site with more technical, high-level best practices or a social media specialist could optimise your Facebook strategy. Though experts may seem costly for a startup business at first, the insights they can bring will likely be worth the cost in the long-term.
Call in the experts
You may wish to enlist the help of a digital agency or freelancer(s). This can be super helpful if you can’t justify hiring permanent staff, but want to ensure your targeting, brand message and strategy for a specific campaign is focused and optimised for success. There are plenty of digital marketing agencies and freelancers to choose from, so finding one that fits within your budget and caters to your specific needs shouldn’t be too tricky.
Relocate to the capital
You could even consider migrating your offices to London (if you aren’t based there already). As the business capital of the UK, a London-based office offers a huge amount of opportunity for startups. As well as giving you access to some of the UK’s hottest talent and a huge market of potential investment opportunities, London also provides a fun, hard working and busy backdrop for your business to thrive in.
Moving your office to London can be a hassle-free process, too, with high-end, fully-serviced offices available so you can get up and running immediately. Without having to worry about office management, you can focus your attention on growing your brand further and hitting those business goals.
Here at WorkPad, we can help you find the startup office space in London that’s right for you. We offer flexible contracts – ideal for new businesses. Want to find out more? Simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.