While new business growth has almost always risen year-on-year since 2010, the last two years have seen exponential growth in the field due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. Over 4.3 new businesses opened in 2020 alone and a whopping 5.3 new businesses opened in 2021. More than 430,000 new business applications were filed in January 2022 alone, making it clear that the concept of running one’s own company will likely grow in popularity for the foreseeable future.
Given the fact that there are so many companies in any given niche, it can be hard to know what to do to help your new business stand out from the masses. Following are some pointers to help you get started on the right track.
1. It All Begins With a Name
A good business name should be easy to spell and easy to remember. It should catch the attention of potential customers, make it easy for people to see what the business does or offers, and use words that have a positive connotation. When sitting down and deciding on the right business name for your company, there are general tips you should keep in mind: Avoid naming a company after yourself unless your expertise is your main selling point, or you have a unique business name that is closely associated with your industry. (For instance, if your last name is “Bright” and you sell ornate lamps, naming your company Bright would not be a bad idea.)
Make a list of names that would accurately and positively define your new company. Next, check these names online to ensure they aren’t currently being used by another company. You’ll also want to check the domain name availability for your chosen business name to ensure you can set up a business website for your new company without undue hassle.
2. Follow up With Your Branding
Branding is a must-have asset every single business needs in order to be successful. Potential customers expect legitimate companies to have a logo, brand colors, and a consistent online vibe and voice. What’s more, your branding helps you stand out from other companies in your industry and generates brand loyalty thanks to the fact potential customers can always readily identify any of your online or offline platforms.
Your logo doesn’t need to be fancy; in fact, some of the most memorable ones are incredibly simple. However, it should be easy to remember and should match your company’s industry, mission, and overall vibe. A professional firm offering financial or legal services, for instance, will want a logo that denotes professionalism, experience, and reliability. On the other hand, an entrepreneur selling art classes will want a creative logo with flair.
Your choice of colors is also important, as each color and shade convey a subconscious message. Red, for instance, is passionate and powerful and can be a good color choice for firms offering professional services. Orange and yellow are lively, warm, and playful, making them ideal options for casual companies with a friendly, inviting vibe. Pink is warm and kind, and it also works well for companies catering to a female audience. Green denotes nature while blue has a strong yet soothing vibe.
Your business font should match well with your logo in color and style. It should be easy to read on both online and offline platforms, and it should convey the overall vibe of your business. Ornate cursive lettering is perfect for a company selling luxury products while modern lettering is perfect for professional firms.
Once you have a brand identity, stick with it. Use it on your website and social media platforms, in your email newsletters, and on products and flyers.
3. Be Honest About Your Products/Services
Never try to pretend you are something, can do something, or are offering something you’re not. People will eventually catch on and your dishonesty will hurt your business long-term as people realize they can’t trust you. It’s far better to focus on your strengths rather than appease people outside your niche audience.
It’s also important to be realistic about what you can and can’t do. For instance, you don’t want to promise same-day shipping unless you can guarantee that every single product will ship the same day, as advertised. Don’t tell people they can personalize their products if you can’t really provide such a service. If you offer services and can’t fit more clients into your schedule, it’s far better to turn down potential clients than compromise the quality of your service in order to make a few extra dollars.
Remember it’s far better to exceed customer expectations than fail to meet them. Don’t sell yourself too high, especially when you first start out. The quality of your products/services will speak for themselves and will, in time, help you carve out a unique niche in your chosen industry.
4. Refine Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition is a two or three-sentence statement that tells potential customers how and why you are different from similar companies. To create a USP, you’ll need to consider your defining features, core values, and unique strengths. For instance, there may be plenty of construction companies in your local area, but you might be the only one that uses 100% recycled/sustainable materials. Maybe you are the only restaurant in your city to offer a particular type of cuisine. Use your unique selling proposition to showcase your strengths and appeal to people who are most likely to need or want your goods and/or services.
5. Provide Top-Tier Customer Service From the Beginning
About 90% of consumers say customer service is a factor they consider when deciding whether to do business with a particular company. What’s more, about half of all consumers say they would stop working with a company after a single negative customer service experience.
Providing top-tier customer service will set your company apart and generate long-term brand loyalty. Answer comments or questions that people leave on your social media pages, create FAQ and/or “How To” pages for your site if your products are complex or hard to use properly, and answer the phone quickly when people call you.
6. Make Online Connections
You can connect with new customers online by setting up official social media pages for your business. Facebook is an ideal platform as it is still the most commonly used social media network in the United States. TikTok is ideal for companies reaching young people, Instagram is designed for companies selling visually appealing products/services, and LinkedIn is the platform of choice for B2B companies and entrepreneurs selling professional services.
Social media platforms not only enable you to communicate with your audience but also listen to what they have to say. Answer all questions or concerns about your business in an honest, professional manner. Respond to both positive and negative reviews, so people know you care about their needs and opinions. You can also use your social media platforms to actively ask your followers about potential new products and/or services.
You’ll also need to network with those who can help you promote your business. Working with a non-competitor to cross-promote each other’s companies is one good way to generate awareness of your new company. For instance, a new company selling children’s toys can work with a new business selling children’s clothes, or a business selling make-up may want to work with a bookstore that caters to a female audience. Forming partnerships with influencers can also help you promote your business to a target audience, as can creating an affiliate marketing program and enlisting affiliate marketers to promote your goods and/or services.
Standing out from the competition isn’t a “one-time” task. The pointers ahead will help you get off to a good start, but you’ll need to keep tabs on the market by regularly checking your competition, staying abreast of market developments, and keeping an eye on your website and sales stats to ensure you’re reaching the right people in the most efficient, effective manner. The good news is that your time and efforts will pay off long-term as you grow a successful business that empowers you to reach your professional and personal goals.