Starting a small business can be really scary. There is a lot of advice floating around on the internet. Before you know it, you’ll be overcome with this strong desire to do all the things. Don’t settle for a lack of sleep and constant stress that comes with doing everything. I’m going to tell you 4 things I think you should be doing in your first 3 months of starting a small business. And it won’t stress you out!
Want even more business advice? This post is a follow-up to a previous post I’ve written. You can find more advice on starting a small business here.
My Experience with Starting a Small Business
This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission on sales. You can read my full disclosure here.
This blog is my third time starting a small business from scratch. I’ve learned a lot over the last eight years, and hope to pass my “wisdom” on to newer small business owners through this blog. I get asked what the most important things are to focus on in the first few months. I know there’s plenty of advice online, but these are the things I think you should focus on in your first few months of opening.
1. Set Up Social Media Accounts
This one seems obvious, but it’s still important to discuss. Be sure to set up all your accounts as soon as possible. Typically, you’ll want your user-name on every platform to be the same, so setting up your account early is pretty important. I personally checked the platforms I knew I’d be using to see if my user name was available before purchasing my domain! You may want to consider doing this with every platform, though. Otherwise, you could get stuck using a different name, like me.
Setting up your social media accounts is really important, because without social media, it’s really hard to get the word out about your new business. Start early. If you can, start before you even launch your business (If you’ve already launched, don’t stress too much about this, just start your accounts now). That way you can build up the hype, and start building your tribe- which brings me to my next bit of advice.
Related: How I Use Pinterest for Business
2. Set Your Standards
When starting a small business, your mind can feel all over the place. You’re excited about new product ideas and want to try out everything willy-nilly. This is a bad idea. Customers like dependability. When you are working out the plans for your business, be sure to include things such as:
- what products you’ll release
- how often you’ll release them
- quantities of each product
- how you’ll market them
These standards can be vague so you have room to grow, but they’ll keep you on track to reach your goals.
3. Learn About SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Ugh. SEO. The dreaded phrase that all small business owners loathe. Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as most people think upfront! You can find a basic SEO course online to get started. You won’t need much more than that to start with.
The reason SEO is so important is that there are now so many small business owners online these days. Gone are the days where you can just put your website up and wait for people to find you. According to Forbes, there are approximately 28 million small businesses in the US, and over 500,000 small businesses open each month. That’s a lot of competition for internet space. How many links come up on the first page of Google? How far will you scroll on Pinterest before you get bored?
You need to be at the top of the search results to be seen.
The best way to get to the top of the search results? SEO. It’s worth it. Trust me.
4. Focus on Photography
Photography is another word that makes many small business owners cringe! I know it used to make me cringe, and I even enjoy it. No one expects professional quality photography from small businesses, but having great pictures is one of the best ways to stand out. We live in a visual world. Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook all rely heavily on pictures that capture our attention.
Consider the pictures that you tend to notice when you’re scrolling online. Most of the time, bright, crisp pictures will win out over dark and grainy.
No matter what type of camera you have, there are a few simple tricks you can use to improve your photography easily.
Use natural light.
Natural light is the number one thing you can do to improve your photography as a beginner. Yes, professionals have all sorts of lighting equipment, but it’s not necessary when you are just starting a small business. Find a spot near a window with good light, and use that space for all of your photos. If you find that the light is too harsh coming in the window, try either shooting at a different time of day or getting some sheer white curtains to diffuse the light.
Get a Reflector
Shadows are really distracting in pictures, but without a reflector, it’s really hard to get rid of them. Your reflector doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Honestly, I’ve had the best luck with a white poster board! I know that’s not very professional, but it keeps my white balance in tact and helps reflect the light from the window back onto my subject.
Edit Your Photos
I personally use Photoshop for my pictures, and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s $10 a month, which I consider a really small investment for something so important. If you really don’t have the budget, though, you can consider a program like PicMonkey, which I know a lot of small businesses use.
When editing, I typically adjust the exposure, brightness, and color saturation to get the picture how I want it to look.
Related: Product Photography Made Simple
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Starting a small business can be really overwhelming if you try to listen to all of the business advice out there. The truth is, when you’re first starting out, there’s very little you need to focus on. Your top priority should be laying the groundwork for the future. Before you start worrying about getting more traffic or doing giveaways on big websites, make sure you have everything in place for success. Check out the first post in this segment to see the first things you should do for your new business. By implementing these tips in your first three months, you’ll be set up to start gaining traffic and growing your business successfully!
Have you been struggling with starting a small business? What are your biggest struggles? Let me know in the comments below!