launch planning

How Do I Get My First Clients?

How Do I Get My First Clients?

You're ready to launch your new business. You have a shiny new website with great content and copy and you've started a blog so people can find you when they Google your products and services and.... Crickets.

So how do you get clients for your brand new business?

Start with people you know and people who you've worked with in the past. Even if you offer them help and advice at a discounted rate, or even for free. Doing free and discounted work for a complete stranger just for 'exposure' may or may not help you land that first client, but doing the same work for people within your current network is more likely to lead to paid referrals and more business. 

Should I Create a Business Plan Before I Launch?

Should I Create a Business Plan Before I Launch?

When you start a new business, it's important to plan ahead. It may seem like an overwhelming task to create a business plan, but if you take the time to do so, you might be surprised by what you learn. Even if you do not need a business plan to secure funding for your company, it's helpful to think about the finances, marketing, and logistics involved in creating your new brand. When you create your business plan, it will be easier to determine whether you have a viable business idea and where you might be able to improve your idea to create a more profitable business.

Launch with Less: What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

Launch with Less: What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

The idea to create a minimum viable product comes from the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. We covered the book in my entrepreneurship course in graduate school (one of my favorite courses) and I do recommend reading The Lean Startup if you plan to launch your product to the market using a test-and-learn or agile methodology.

The concept behind developing a minimum viable product is fairly simple. Develop a pared-down version of your offering and launch it to the market before you are ready so that you can solicit feedback from your audience about how to improve your offering, while also making some money to reinvest into your business. 

Name Your Business for Growth

Name Your Business for Growth

Choosing a name for your business can seem like a daunting task. However, if you plan ahead and choose a name for the future of your business, you can save yourself time and effort. One of the most difficult decisions that creative entrepreneurs struggle with when choosing a name is whether to name their company or brand after themselves. Before you name your company, think about your long-term goals for the business. Your long-term goals should help you determine how you name your brand. Do you want to be a small one-man shop? Do you want to be a multi-national corporation? Most business owners want to be somewhere in the middle.

Prioritize Your Launch Projects with a Launch Plan

Prioritize Your Launch Projects with a Launch Plan

When you are launching a new business, or even a new product, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the details involved with a marketing launch. If you create and follow a launch plan, you will be able to record your internal goals, requirements, and accomplishments. You will also ensure that you reach your potential customers with the right media placement and in other locations where they are active. I use the same marketing launch plan for nearly every project, and create separate plans for other aspects of the business, such as production and logistics.

Set Goals and Create Business Projections

Set Goals and Create Business Projections

As you roll out your new products and services to the market, it will be helpful to set goals and create business projections (also called forecasts) your business. Setting achievable, research-based goals and forecasts will help you to project your business growth and determine your business needs over time. I like to create annual and 3-year forecasts. Many companies find value in 5-year forecasts, and that may be a good idea for you as well. I believe that with a small business things can change very quickly, so if you do plan to create 5-year, and often even 3-year forecasts, you should also be prepared to adjust them up or down as your business evolves. When you set your goals and create your forecast, you can either use a top-down approach where you forecast total sales and then assign percentages to each element of your marketing mix, or you can use a bottom-up approach where you forecast each individual element and add up those numbers to get your total. Either method works well, but if you want to dig into the details of your marketing, bottom-up forecasting is great for that.