Getting Your Business Started
With the economy the way it is, it is getting tougher and tougher to make ends meet. So, much like my last article, some turn to a secondary income, in the form of a side business or hustle, while others, simply run their side businesses out of passion and enjoyment and not necessarily for the income.
For those who do not have businesses up and running yet and may want to start one, it may seem like a daunting task to get started but it honestly isn’t – it just needs one to put on their admin hat and take it one step at a time. In this article I will discuss how to get your business started in the South African context.
1. Register your company
In South Africa we use the CIPC, which does both reserve a company name for you as well register your company, doing both only costs you R175. To register on the CIPC all you need is the amount, your ID number and your company’s name. Once you create a customer account, you then move over to the TRANSACTION tab and click on “REGISTER A COMPANY”. From then on, it’s a walk in the park. - If you have any trouble with this, do not hesitate to email me.
2. Get a logo
Others may not design a logo right away and I suppose that it is dependent on what you do, for example if I am looking for a contractor to remodel my bathroom, I don’t really care for his logo, I’m more concerned about his work and craftsmanship, whereas a clothing brand’s logo will bear heavier importance, more so when it is need for labels and packaging. When it comes to logo design, I believe a simple design is always best, it can stay with you for a long time, without having to rebrand. If you're struggling to find some branding guru's, I know of a few great ones.
3. Create Social Media Pages
This is easy to do and often helps get your brand out there. Social media pages are also very helpful when you don’t yet have a website, they act as your point of contact when you cannot engage with potential customers face to face. The key rules for social media as I’ve learnt are:
- Create engaging content, make your followers tag a friend, comment, rate or vote on something.
- Keep things short and simple on twitter and this is a great platform to engage/chat with followers.
- Instagram is visual, use beautiful and great quality images (this goes for all your other social media accounts).
- Facebook allows for more text and longer pieces.
- ALWAYS direct all social media posts to your website (if you have one) eg: “for more info, follow the link to read more about our other products that we sell”.
4. Start advertising
When you’re getting started, your social media pages, friends and family will be your advertising. If you don’t have a big budget for paid advertising, why not offer your products/service to influential people at a discounted rate in order to get your brand out there? For example, if you want to start a branding company, why not find a company who you feel could really benefit from your services and offer your services at a lower rate. Another example, a chef trying to break it into the industry could start selling their signature dishes at a food market or offer dinner dates for couples where they pay to have you cook a three-course meal for them with a pairing add-on. As a make-up artist you can offer to do school play’s cast to showcase your work. There is a world of ideas and opportunities to advertise and sell your products and services!
5. Create templates for your quotes, invoices etc
I always cringe when people send their quotes as a text or in a poorly constructed Word document. Eeeeeeek!
Some businesses allow you to have a standard price list, so if your prices never change, why not invest in a well-designed page, that has your logo, all your contact details, social media pages, price list, payment details, lead times and everything people normally ask for. Never mind being neat, it saves you time from having to type out your price list every time. The simple rule here, is never make your customers work for your details or work to make their purchase/appointment, you have to make it as easy as possible! Chances are, they’re ready to make a purchase, don’t slow down their momentum by having them ask for payment options.
The greatest part of invoicing (especially when your customer base grows exponentially) is that the invoice numbers help you keep track of who has paid and who hasn’t, while a quote will explain what they will be paying for and what is and is not included.
6. Keep track of your product or service offering.
Returning customers are the best, if they aren’t happy – try to rectify it. The simplest way is a post-purchase survey, where they are not in front of you (in case they would feel bad for you) and have the freedom to critique you honestly. If it can be done anonymously, even better, but the option for leaving their names is useful, especially for those issues that you would like to address afterwards. This can be done a few questions sent out to clients or through ratings, I believe Facebook offers this, which also works to your advantage if the ratings are good. A thing to remember is to never delete poor ratings, they bring an element of “realness” to the page.
7. Source clients / customers
Whether you're a graphic artist, virtual manager, writer or content producer you'll need to find clients / customers. Once your business is set up and ready to start operating, the next step is to source clients. Jobvine Freelance helps you offer your services to potential clients and customers. Use client reviews to help generate more business as well. Another way to reach new customers is to have your current customers refer their friends and families to you - word of mouth is the most effective way to get new customers.
Although running a side hustle may seem like a full-time job, it isn’t at all! If you plan and get used to the flow of things, it becomes clock work, but if you ever feel overwhelmed or confused, have any ideas you’d like to discuss, have any questions, or would like advice on something, please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug 2020 Update: I eventually got over my nerves and started a Youtube Channel to chat more on what I am most passionate about, entrepreneurship! To see the videos, click HERE.