Posted by Nadeem Azam as Business
The global recession, which first started a decade ago in 2008 with the downfall of the banking industry, saw businesses across the world face mounting challenges and a fair number shut up shop. Many individuals found themselves being made redundant or unable to secure new employment. Research shows more and more people have reinvented themselves and started their own companies in an attempt to maintain their standard of living.
Now that Azam Marketing is into our 20th year and has worked with scores of companies large and small, we’d like to think we know a thing or two about running a business. Azam itself has experienced many ups and downs over those years, but as a team we have stayed strong and the lessons we learned along the way have enabled us to grow a highly successful enterprise.
We will be publishing a new series of articles in this blog offering guidance on running an online venture. To kick-start the series, here are our ten golden tips for any budding entrepreneur looking to start a digital business:
1. Pick your battles. Don’t try to compete by doing the same thing as multi-million dollar businesses with 70 staff if you are a one man band operating from your bedroom. Focus on a small niche in which you are knowledgeable about or can become an expert on, and try to dominate it.
2. Use a company name and domain name which begins with a number or the letter ‘a’. You’ll be listed at the very top of most directories and get considerably more business.
3. For every dollar or pound and every minute of your time you spend on building a website or developing a product, allocate ten on marketing it. A focus on the usually enjoyable and glamorous part of creating a product or service versus the oft-arduous and decidedly unglamorous grind of marketing it is one of the biggest reasons we’ve witnessed ventures being unsuccessful. You can have the coolest tool on the internet, but if nobody knows about it – which they won’t unless you expend massive amounts of time and/or money spreading the word – it won’t make you any revenue.
4. Keep an eye on your competitors like a hawk. Use tools like Google Alerts to see what they’re up to and imitate and improve upon their best business practices.
5. Always keep your wits about you and be sceptical about what people claim. The business world is full of sharks and the internet can bring out the worst in people even more so because they are not in your physical presence. Therefore do your due diligence before you develop a business relationship with anybody.
6. If you’re looking to collaborate or partner with a company, look at their net profit rather than turnover, revenues or how fancy their offices are. Otherwise your business could suffer by partnering with unstable enterprises, who could bring you down with them – at least nine out of ten small businesses fail within the first five years.
7. Test, test, test. It’s free to split-test most online campaigns and initiatives, so continually test different banners, email creative, pay per click campaigns, landing pages etc. for optimal results.
8. Send free gifts to influential, relevant bloggers and get plugs for your products or services. Think of a desirable freebie and post it to the top twenty bloggers in your field; you may get a few of them writing about you.
9. Keep a tight grip on your finances. Track every penny going in and out of your business. If you are spending money on anything that is not providing tangible benefit to your business, stop it.
10. Don’t chop-and-change. The number one failing we see with most entrepreneurs, particularly young ones, is they start one project, then a few months down the line it doesn’t rake in the money the way they were hoping and/or the initial enthusiasm wears off, so they start something else. Remind yourself of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours theory, stick to one thing and do it better than anybody else in the world.
Those are Azam Marketing’s top ten rules for starting an online venture and can be applied to anyone looking to grow and maintain a profitable business. If you have enjoyed reading this blog post you might like to read our articles on running and marketing a business here.
We have been hired by many ambitious businesses over the years to share our expertise and significantly increase their chances of success – email us at enquiry [at] azam.net if you may be interested in our consultancy services.
Our new series on building a booming online business will run throughout the year, so stay tuned!