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Costs of Starting a Business

Costs of Starting a Business

Costs of Starting a Business

 

How do we begin to figure out the costs of starting a business? When you sit back and look at what it takes to get a business off the ground, you realize coming up with the idea was the easy part! You need to be ready to put in the extra hours, look for help, and of course, money.

You’ll find several roadblocks on the way to launching your business; however, the biggest hurdle will probably be financial. Luckily, you have a few options out there to help raise capital. But it all starts with your commitment to the product and the process. 

Looking at the mountain ahead of you can be daunting, so let’s break down the costs of starting a business into something a little more manageable.

 

Start simple

Start by mapping out the base costs. Infrastructure is the foundation of a business. Think about what it takes to get your company launched and start small. We’re mostly referring to operating costs. What do you need to get the business off the ground?

Depending on your business model, this might be equipment and supplies or creating marketing campaigns to get the word out. In today’s world, websites are a necessity, so when you map out initial costs, remember to budget for launching a site too.

You can save a little on upfront costs by using a website builder, but given the need for a first-rate, you’re better off going through a professional management firm. Professional firms can help maintain your website freeing you up to focus on more critical aspects of your startup. You can expect to budget roughly $300/mo for a functioning website. 

Estimating other initial costs is entirely dependent on your business type. Are you opening a legal consulting firm? Are you ready to get your HVAC company off the ground? No what matter what, you have plenty of research to do.

Make a list

Once you have a chance to research your startup costs, make a list of every other infrastructure cost you can estimate. If you’re opening up a coffee shop, startup costs are relatively easy to predict. You have to look at commercial space for the shop and price out equipment and inventory. If you’re launching a tutoring company, measure the costs of marketing, transportation, and supplies. Every new business has to face expenses like this. Making a list of what’s needed will help estimate the costs of starting a business. 

Some costs to remember:
Business License: $25-$300 depending on the state
Business Insurance: Roughly $500-$3,000
Employee wages: You’ll want to calculate yearly costs and estimated payroll tax.
Legal costs: Services like Legal Zoom have services starting at $79/mo.

There are a few critical items to remember to put on your list. Businesses need to be prepared to pay for any licensing for state or federal regulations. You might also look past joining groups like the chamber of commerce, but for the (usually) small investment, you can create a large network and launch more quickly. You can expect yearly fees anywhere from $50-$400 depending on your business size.

More importantly, mapping out your launch to-do list helps make sure nothing slips through the cracks. As we mentioned, startup capital is your most precious commodity, and a small oversight can devastate your company before you get started. 

Get a number

The Small Business Association provides an excellent startup cost calculator. For the most part, though, you can expect to need roughly $3,000-$10,000 at the bare minimum to get started. On average, you’ll also need six months of operating capital on top of everything else forecasted in your business plan. You can’t underestimate how much you need to get started. Most businesses fail because they simply run out of money.

If you can, try to find a mentor, someone who is familiar with the field and maybe started his or her own business. Mentors can help give you a better idea of the costs of starting a business through experience. There’s only so much research you can do, so regular conversations with someone with firsthand knowledge is invaluable. If nothing else, a mentor will help take some of the “guestimation” out of estimation.

Understand cost is more than money

There’s no way to put an exact price tag on how much your business will cost to start. You can raise capital from investors or loans or personal funds, but money isn’t the only investment you’ll make. This startup is going to take over your professional life. 

Time will most likely be your second most valuable asset next to money. While you have to remember to strike the right work-life balance, it’s important to remember how many hours you’ll have to dedicate to the company. Most new business owners work between 60-80+ hours.

You’ll also have to make sacrifices for your business. Will it be your time? Are you putting your own money into the company? Will you have to work another job to supplement income? You won’t know until the business is off the ground, but be ready to adapt to any situation. 

Your commitment to the business is the most reliable resource you have. Launching a business takes dedication and the ability to make bold moves. Not every small business succeeds. Your job is to use all the resources you have at your disposal, including your blood, sweat, and tears to make your company successful.

Get started

We mentioned at the beginning that the costs of starting a business are daunting. You have to plan, research, raise money, and work tirelessly just to get your startup off the ground. 

But you can do it.

Remember to account for necessities like a website, legal services, and marketing costs. Budget your money and time to be as effective as possible, and never be afraid to ask for help. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and it takes entrepreneurs like you to power them.

WPClover is a managed WordPress hosting and development firm committed to helping you get your business off the ground by using a professional, functional WordPress site to help close sales, market to customers, and represent your brand. We’d love to talk more with you about the impact a professional WordPress site can have on your startup. Schedule Office Hours with our experts to learn a little bit more!

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Launch a Tech Startup Without Being Tech-Savvy

Launch a Tech Startup Without Being Tech-Savvy

Launch a Tech Startup Without Being Tech-Savvy

Launch a Tech Startup Without Being Tech-Savvy

Have an idea for the newest and greatest tech company, but you don’t know how to launch one? You’re not alone. Problem solvers everywhere share the same issue, not being tech-savvy. The tech industry is still growing at an incredibly rapid pace, and even “experts” are continuously falling behind. Luckily, tech-savviness isn’t a necessity to start a tech company. 

Your first goal should always be to define the problem you want to solve. Maybe you found a unique way to manage money, or see an opportunity in workshop management. How are you going to implement your solution? Who is your target market, and where do you see your startup in five years? 

Think big!

Non-techie founders need help from others who think big too. You don’t have to be a coder to know a tech startup requires intense online planning, building, and, most importantly, effort. There are hurdles to starting any business, but trying to start one outside your wheelhouse is daunting. 

Here are a few pieces of advice for launching a tech startup without being very tech-savvy.

Partner Up

You need help. You’ll need partners to handle turning your idea into a reality. As the saying goes, “you’re the brains, and they’re the brawn.” That sentiment becomes more prevalent as you dive deeper into your business plan, and you’ll notice your solutions are strategic and conceptual. It would help if you had someone to turn a concept into a product. 

Partnering up is a somewhat scary task since you are trusting your entire business idea to another person or group. How do you take your hands off your project like that?! It’s hard to give up control, especially to someone you don’t know yet.

Start with research. Understand how your needs and personality will match up with a partner. Maintaining creative control over your product is the top priority, but you need to understand not all of your concepts may be realistic. Try to find a partner that you can learn from and compromise with; otherwise, you might clash too much and not end up with the final product you want.

Learn

No, you don’t need to be an expert developer to launch a tech startup, but having some knowledge of the field helps immensely. You’re partnering with expert developers or development firms to do the heavy lifting, but take time to learn more about what they do. 

Look for courses to help teach yourself. Services like CodeAcademy offer courses, practice systems, and support to help you learn. You’ll see various coding languages and course guides to help you go in the right direction. CodeAcademy is one of the most popular because the basic courses are all free. There are tiered plans that include other helpful applications at a reasonable price.

Understanding what it takes to build a website or an application gives you an insight into how difficult the tech industry is. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what you want your product to do versus other businesses in your space. Most importantly, giving yourself more tech-savvy will help you collaborate better with your team. 

Use WordPress for your website

WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. It powers 35% of all websites worldwide. Considering there are roughly 1.75 billion websites, and only half of them use content management systems, WordPress has a staggeringly huge piece of the pie. 

The main reason you should take the WordPress route is the built-in framework. WordPress does most of the essential building of your website for you and mostly operates using plugins to change displays and functionality. The least tech-savvy person on the planet can be up and running with a simple WordPress site in a day. 

For you, WordPress offers a unique opportunity. You can almost completely bypass the need for partnerships by learning to build your website. This way, your team collaboration can focus exclusively on the nuts and bolts of turning your idea into reality.

While WordPress is an intuitive system, we don’t want to give off the impression that building a professional-grade, functional website is simple. Again, you can refer to online courses for help. WordPress support is beneficial, and there are endless articles and posts with best practices for every skill level. 

Make a checklist

We really, really appreciate the need for a substantial pre-launch checklist. You can download our comprehensive website pre-launch list Here(Insert Link). Launching a tech startup is stressful, so creating a roadmap helps alleviate some of that stress. Since you’re working with a partner or a firm, a checklist can be a great way to measure benchmarks as you build. 

Checklists can also help make sure you don’t miss the little things. Help yourself map out marketing campaigns, build security processes, and make sure legal aspects are covered. The last thing you need is an oversight that could potentially sink your company’s chances of success.

Launch it

You had a great idea. Tech startups have been solving problems for decades, and now you can add your name to the list of innovators. You knew your strengths and weaknesses and built a company around them. Through partnerships, education, planning, and a lot of hard work, you’re ready to launch a tech startup despite having little to no tech-savvy. 

Always remember the work doesn’t end here. The tech industry continuously changes. Your company needs to innovate to keep up. That means continuing to learn your craft and innovating your product is crucial. You put so much effort into launching your startup; now it’s up to you to make it successful.

Still not sure where to begin? We’d love to chat with you about it! Schedule some Office Hours with our experts, and get started!

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How to Market to Customers with Your Website

How to Market to Customers with Your Website

How to Market to Customers with Your Website

Marketing is a complicated process. Where do you begin? What’s your overall strategy? How do you even know if your strategy is working?! Marketing, in its most simplistic form, is how you get the word out about your business. So how are you doing it now?

If you don’t see the results you want, you’re missing a puzzle piece. As tricky as marketing is, there’s a winning formula out there. You need to find it. It could be something simple, like adding a Facebook page or starting an Instagram account. Sometimes it’s more difficult like tracking KPIs based on several underlying SEO keyword phrases. But we’ll get to that later.

Don’t have a marketing plan at all? Sure you do, word of mouth! It’s one of the most common and effective strategies ever, but in today’s digital world, you need to reach out more. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are ways to reach an enormous audience without spending a fortune. On the other end of the budget spectrum, advertising campaigns with videos and billboards are common strategies, but they can get pricey quickly. The good news is there’s a strategy for everyone.

So, where to start? If you’re marketing online, look no further than your Website.

Get your website to work for you

 

Websites are no longer an option. In fact, successful websites can make or break a business. The problem is successful websites take a lot of effort to mange. Managing a site and social media accounts can be a full-time job. For a small business owner, there already isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. With all of the tools available, it’s hard to stay organized and understand everything your website can do. 

The question what your website can do. The only question should be, “how are you using your website to work for you?” The simplest way to tell is to look at your automation. Automations are how we streamline for the most part. They’re designed to handle important tasks for you when you don’t have the time. 

Do you need to send out emails for you automatically? An email marketing platform can do it. Don’t know if your website is performing well? Analytics tools like Google, Facebook, and Pinterest will help you monitor success. 

The more you explore how you can utilize tools to automate your website, the more you see how much your site can save you time. All of which brings us to our next topic.

Organize your website

 

You have a lot to say! A marketing strategy is a bullhorn to get your message out there, but you need to have relevant content. Think about what you want to accomplish and be specific. Now, think of how your information needs to flow. You need to write something people want to read. Make them want to stick around and view your entire website.

However, writing the content is only half the battle. Earlier, we talked about tracking SEO results through different KPIs. Let’s put that in English. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The phrase refers to how well your website (and by extension, your business) shows up on web searches like Google or Yahoo. To put it in perspective, 91% of all clicks from search engine results come from the first page. If you aren’t in that top 10, you’ll have a hard time attracting traffic.

So, how do we get there? We use SEO keywords. They’re “buzzwords” that search engines use to find relevant websites. If you have a cooking blog about recipes with watermelons, “watermelon,” “watermelon recipes,” and “cooking” should be at the top of your list of optional keywords to get noticed. 

After we write using what we hope are the best keywords, we want to measure success. We refer to these measurements as KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are how we track our website’s performance based on specific attributes. Without diving too deeply, KPIs like increases in website traffic, sales, and subscriptions are measurable and help us reorganize our marketing strategies to make them better.

Content isn’t the only way to use your website to market to your customers, though.

Other strategies

 

There are limitless options to using your website for marking. Testing new keywords, monitoring your KPIs, using plugins to help with SEO are all extremely creative and efficient routes. However, we want to take a look at some of the not-so-common ways to market using your site.

Allowing guest bloggers to write content for you goes a long way toward updating relevant, well-written content that doesn’t require much work on your end. They also provide a fresh look at different topics giving you a different voice contributing to your business. Most importantly, guest bloggers like to show off their work, so expect links to your site from other pages!

Social media sharing is an accessible tool that many businesses overlook. Do you have a new blog post? Share it on LinkedIn! How about a company event? Share the pictures on Instagram! Post announcements on Twitter. Invite customers to Facebook pages. The options are limitless and, more importantly, free!

Slightly getting away from actual marketing techniques, there are some design and development elements to consider. For the first time in 2018, mobile web browsing overtook desktop browsing in website traffic. If you want to use your website to market to your customers, be prepared to gear your site toward mobile users. This mobile emphasis means your website needs to be lean. Work on things like using small images and shorter videos. Keep your site fast, and you won’t have problems losing traffic due to slow page speeds.

Next Steps

 

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what to write, what tools to use, or how to track your success. Those elements are up to you to figure out! Fortunately, you have all the resources you need to use your website to market to your customers. Review similar sites for content ideas and see what you can do differently. 

Make sure your website is up to date and working correctly! The best-laid plans can go to waste due to poor website maintenance. Marketing is a complicated process. Use your website to market to your customers, and you’ll be off to the races.

We want to talk more about your needs and how your website is performing. Shamrck is a complete website and business management suite, so reach out to start your free trial, and let’s talk!

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Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?

Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?

Measuring Success: How is Your Business Performing?

Every business, website, non-profit, or anything else with a product needs to measure success in some form or another. Most use what are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to monitor their production over a given interval. Online, we use programs like Google Analytics or MonsterInsights. An essential factor in measuring success is the ability to be flexible. Some strategies don’t work, and that’s ok! We monitor performance for that exact reason. We want to see where the flaws are and where we can improve. Testing new methods to find more success is the bedrock of a thriving business.

The first question to ask yourself is, “what does success look like?” What are you trying to accomplish? Are you making sales? Do you want to build an email list? Having a clear, defined objective helps direct your website design, campaign strategies, etc. and launching your project is an essential first step. However, no product is perfect right out of the box, and even the best-designed plans can turn out to be duds. The point is to learn from each mistake and build off that experience moving forward.

No one said opening a business or running a website is easy. There is no auto-pilot where you can hit the “easy” button (no matter what Staples says). WPClover has tools to help every step of the way, and we want to collaborate with you to find issues and solve problems. Measuring success is the most crucial step in building a business, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Here are a few strategies to help.

Define your KPIs

Like we said earlier, KPIs are ways to measure performance over time. We want to start with a benchmark, and lay out a reasonable strategy for improvement. We will use a company website as an example. Maybe your current number of unique visits is 1,000 per month. What is a realistic growth expectation for your business on your budget? Key Performance Indicators typically use percentages as measuring sticks. Wanting to leap 1,000 visits to 2,000 visits is a 100% increase. Can you commit to a 100% increase over a specified interval? It depends on your strategy.

Most KPIs tick off several benchmarks along the way. Your overall goal may be a 100% increase in unique visits, but your strategy needs to be more granular to make this goal more achievable. Start with a timeline. Increasing your visits by 100% is a stretch, especially if you’re already getting 10,000+ visits. Try breaking it up into monthly goals where you measure success in bite-sized increments. Some website developers like here at WPClover us a strategy called Agile to break projects up into two-week “sprints” that make large projects more manageable. The same tools apply to set and achieve goals with your website.

For example, let’s say our website gets 10,000 unique visits each month at a bounce rate of 80%. We believe there is room for improvement. Our first step is to set an overall goal. We want to improve our visits to 25,000/month with a bounce rate of 60% or less. The timeline is 12 months. That means to hit our goal, we need to add 1,225 visits and reduce the bounce rate by an average of 1.7% each month. Now we have Key Performance Indicators.

Implementation

We determined what success looks like. We want a 150% growth in page views and a 25% reduction bounce rate. Our KPIs are broken down into monthly goals of 1,225 new visits and a 1.6% decrease. Without those benchmarks, we won’t know where we stand month over month until the 12-month timeline arrives, and we don’t hit our goal.

The next question is what strategies to employ to hit our numbers and how to make changes if we don’t. This task is the most challenging part of expanding your business. How do we market our business to grow on the pace we want? Do we create a marketing budget to blast out advertising campaigns? Do we shoot for organic SEO growth through fresh posts and video content? How can we mix and match different strategies? The point is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We need a starting point. We need a benchmark

Measuring Success

We already discussed using tools like Google Analytics and Monster Insights to monitor performance. We can measure each day and each visit if we want, but given our overall goal, that is a waste of time. Our focus should be on the big picture. Even week over week is not enough of a sample size to see the effects of our strategies. No marketing or advertising campaign doubled profits overnight, so we need patience. This is especially true when trying to grow organically through SEO. We have to set immediate expectations low and watch for SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) ranking increases. More than 90% of clicks come from the first page of search engines like Google.

Measuring success from ads is different. Advertisement opportunities are changing all the time. Formerly, only major companies with large budgets could afford ad campaigns, but with the advent of social media advertising, almost anyone can get started. Facebook, in particular, allows advertisers to target specific demographics and see how many clicks a post is getting organically versus how many are paid. Twitter and Pinterest work in similar ways, but all of them are affordable enough to meet small budgets.

Summary

Measuring success means comparing our strategy’s performance against our KPI goals. We can’t blindly hope our website is generating enough traffic to sell a product or build an email list. We need to monitor what is creating valuable traffic. Designing a strategy to set a goal, define key performance indicators, and assign benchmarks is a time-honored and proven plan of action. Creating that plan isn’t easy, but without it, we’re merely throwing darts in the dark.

 

WPClover is here to help you with website performance. Reach out for a free consultation, and let’s look at what your goals are and how to get there. Our content team is here to help every step of the way.

Ready to see how your website is doing? Try our no-obligation Website Health Check right now!

 

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