Five things you might not think about when starting your own business

Apr 26, 2015

Now that I’m almost two years into running Sonic digital communications I’ve learnt quite a lot from both my own and other peoples experience. There’s a few things that everyone knows to do and there’s a few that are a little less obvious:

Your email address
This is one that I see a lot of and is so simple to fix. Personally I think that having @gmail.com or @hotmail.co.uk as an email address for your business is a little unprofessional. Considering it costs less than £10 a year to buy a domain name (that should come with email forwarding) it should really be top of your list when starting your own business.

Your Facebook profile/page
This is another one that I see a lot of and is still so easily fixed. Using your Facebook profile as the only way you advertise your business online is the worst thing you can do for your business. If you only need one reason why, here it is: Facebook terms and conditions say personal profiles should only represent a real life person and should not represent an organisation, business etc… They have every right (and have done in the past) to remove your profile from Facebook with no way for you to get it back. So that means you’d lose all your friends, posts, images and everything you’ve ever used to promote your business. Added to which, Facebook advertising is a fantastic tool for promoting your business which you cannot use on a personal profile.

Like I say, this one is easy to fix. Facebook themselves will convert your profile to a business page and will convert your friends into followers. The instructions for doing so are at this link.

Your LinkedIn profile
I have touched on this in a previous article but it’s another thing I see anytime I login to LinkedIn and again is very easily fixed. Most LinkedIn profiles are boring, uninteresting and worst of all – incomplete! According to LinkedIn’s own statistics around 50% of profiles are not complete. This is the equivalent of going to a networking event and walking off halfway through each conversation you have with someone.

Spend some time selecting a decent (appropriate) profile picture, updating your profile summary to be around 3 short, sharp paragraphs and steer clear of the words innovative, creative, effective, responsible and organised – they’re some of the most overused buzzwords in almost all LinkedIn profiles. However, not as much as the number one offender of motivated, this one is estimated to be used in at least 80% of all profiles.

Alternative advertising
Advertising is often one of the last things thought about for smaller companies and sole traders. It’s important to use advertising to both build awareness of your business as well as promoting your services and offers. This can be done in a lot of different ways and there are a few alternative methods that can make a huge difference at a very small cost. Directory sites like Gumtree and FreeIndex often allow free or low cost advertising that can help to reach your target market.

Networking events are also a great way to promote your company, when getting in touch or joining these groups why not ask if you could have some time at a meeting to promote your business in a little more detail.

Social Media vanity URL’s
The vanity URL is the bit after the backslash at the end of the web addresses of Twitter, Facebook etc… Some pages don’t take the opportunity to use theirs or they don’t know that this is possible. Assuming you know what you’re doing there are some fantastic tools (such as namechk.com) that will help you to choose a vanity URL that is appropriate and consistent across all social networks.