p.p1 just yet. For those of you considering

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In this new era, it takes more than creative talent to be taken seriously as a startup entrepreneur. Today’s competitive market demands that businesses impress buyers, editors and influencers, but it is hard to do when your budget is lean. Here are a few factors that can contribute to the success of your business.
Begin with a plan. Not all businesses need an official business plan, but every business owner must spend some time planning. Before you put out your shingle, sit down and determine how much money you need to invest (and in what), your goals (short- and long-term), your marketing plan and all those pesky details (For example, do you need a separate checking account?).

Find a mentor. You may know someone who has successfully created a business and feel comfortable asking for advice. Seek help from other small businesses, vendors, professionals, government agencies, employees and trade associations. Be alert, ask questions, and learn everything you can.

Money in the bank. Don’t quit your day job just yet. For those of you considering the full-time freelance plunge–set up a savings account with enough funds to cover at least six months’ worth of bills. This will give you a buffer to help with your budget. 

Be competitive. Even if you think your business is unique, you need to conduct a competitive analysis in your market, including products, prices, promotions, advertising, distribution, quality and service. Also be aware of the outside influences that affect your business. Know what makes the difference between you and your competitors. Is it service, price or expertise? Whatever it is, capitalize on it.

Create an attractive website with email capture and social media links. There is no excuse in today’s era not to have an attractive website that is functional. Stick with a simple, clean layout that is easy to navigate. Make sure that all of your links and navigation panel is fully functional and prominently display social media icons with links that work. If you have a shopping cart function, test it from various browsers to make sure customers can place an order to completion. Also, make sure that you have well-written copy on your website.
Utilize the power of the web. Traditional sales methods can help you generate sales. But don’t forget to take advantage of modern-day technology in your efforts. The internet helps you reach a larger customer base and communicate in unique ways. You need to approach online sales differently than you would a bricks-and-mortar shop. Because of the huge number of potential buyers, it’s impossible to maintain a personal relationship with each online customer. But, you can build customer relationships by presenting clear contact information and providing excellent customer service.
 Make Everyone a Salesperson. From telephone to email to face-to-face meetings, every employee has the opportunity to spread your company’s message and engage in potential sales-generating behavior. Everyone needs to pitch in to help: cutting costs, selling, networking on the web, marketing, and more. If you can get your employees invested and motivated to sell your message by encouraging self-development, through roundtables, conferences, lunch meetings, and webinars you’ll be well on your way to creating an organization that’s built around increasing profits.
 

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