• Jordan D. Collins

Timeless Media IV: What's Next

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Many professionals that are entrepreneurs experience fatigue or experience a block in their business endeavors, wonder what the next move they need to make to elevate their business or brand. Sometimes you may get frustrated, you may get annoyed, but if you have developed a purpose of pursuing this business, then you will never give up.

Developing a business can be an overload on yourself, especially when you are building and constructing the company as a whole. At this moment is where understanding your why must take place. When you understand your mission, then there is nothing that can hold your business from success. It is highly essential to focus on business development using different marketing strategies to raise your awareness in your industry.

Timeless Media aims to assist and guide you in taking the next steps on your business journey and creating success for your growing brand. We want to understand your goals to reach success in your industry. As well as assess your current assets online and marketing materials, and then create a strategy to help you further your success in your business and online. Business development is our specialty. We understand the necessary steps to take when developing and maintaining successful marketing campaigns that keep people engaging with your brand. We also keep a fresh idea and new innovative ways to interact with your audience. As we implement strategy into your company, we will also coach you on various approaches, so you can understand how we develop ways to keep companies relevant and consistent clientele coming in.

When looking for that next move, you always want to make sure that this process is proactive towards your goals and innovation towards your method. If you are new to starting a business, there are 12 steps that we like you to follow that will help you begin your business. Following these steps below are positive steps to building the foundation of your growing business.

1) Evaluate Yourself.

Why do you want to start a business? Once you have that reason, start asking yourself even more questions to help you figure out the type of business you want to start.

1) What are your best skills that you hold?

2) What are you passionate about?

3) Where is your area of expertise?

4) How much can you afford to spend on a new start-up business?

5) How much capital do you need?

6) What sort of lifestyle do you want to live?

2) Think and Create a Business Idea.

Do you have a business idea? If so, not here are some tactics we take a look at when deciding what type of business you would like to start:

1) Ask yourself what's next - What technology or advancement is coming soon, and how will that change the business landscape as we know it? Can you get ahead of the curve?

2) Fix something that bothers you. People would rather have less of a bad thing than more of a good thing. If your business has a solution for a problem customers that your customers are having, they'll thank you for it and purchase.

3) Apply your skills to an entirely new field. Many businesses and industries do things one way because that's the way they've always practiced. In those cases, a fresh set of eyes from a new perspective can make all the difference.

4) Use the better, cheaper, faster approach. Do you have a business idea that isn’t entirely new? If so, think about the current offerings and focus on how you can create something better, cheaper, or faster.

3) Do Market Research

Start researching your potential competition or partners within the market. It breaks down the objectives you need to complete with your research and the methods you can use to do just that. For example, you can conduct interviews by telephone or face to face. You can also offer surveys or questionnaires that ask questions like “What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?” and “What areas would you suggest for improvement?”

Just as importantly, it explains three common mistakes people make when starting their market research, which are:

1) Using only online resources.

2) Using only secondary research.

3) Surveying only the people you know.

4) Gain Feedback

Let people interact with your product or service and see what their take is on it. A fresh set of eyes can help point out any issue you might have missed or take a slightly different approach than yourself. With these people giving the first feedback, they will become your early brand advocates, especially if you listen to their input and they like the product.

Just realize that some of that advice, solicited or not, will be good. Some of it won't be. That's why you should have a plan on how to receive feedback.

5) Make your company officially legal

Get all of the legal aspects out of the way early. That way, you don't have to worry about someone taking your idea, taking advantage you over in a partnership, or suing you for something you never saw coming. A quick checklist of things to shore up might include:

1) Choose your business structure (LLC, corporation or a partnership, etc.)

2) Choose a business name

3) Register your business in whatever state you reside in

4) Gain your Federal tax ID

5) Gain your State tax ID

6) Acquire your Permits License (if needed)

7) Open up a business bank account

8) Complete all Trademarks, copyrights or patents assets

While some things you can do on your own, it's best to consult with a lawyer when starting, so you can make sure you've covered everything that you need.

6) Construct a Business Plan

A business plan is a written description of how your business will evolve from when it starts to the finished product.

Here are the eight most significant components you must cover in your business plan

Title page - Start with naming your business, which is harder than it sounds.

Executive summary - This is a high-level summary of what the plan includes, often touching on the company description, what problem the business is solving, solution, and why now. This summary should be completed after the whole business plan is complete.

Business description - What kind of business do you want to start? What does your industry look like? What will it look like in the future?

Market strategies - Who is your target market, and how can you best sell to that market?

Competitive analysis - What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors? How are you different than them? How are you better than your competition?

Design and development plan - What is your product or service, and how will it grow over time? Then, create a budget for that product or service.

Operations and management plan - How does the business function daily?

Finance factors - Where is the money coming from? When? How? What sort of projections should you create and what should you take into consideration?

For each question, you can spend between one to three pages. The business plan is an essential and informative document, and as time goes on and your business matures, you will continue to update it.

7) Finance Your Business

There are a ton of different ways to get the resources you need to start your business. Take a look and consider your resources, circumstances, and life state to figure out which one works best for you.

1) Fund your start-up yourself - Bootstrapping your business might take longer, but the good part is that you control your destiny (and equity).

2) Pitch your needs to friends and family - It can be hard to separate business from personal relationships, but if you’re considering asking for a loan, here’s a resource you can use to make it as straightforward as possible.

3) Request a small-business grant - Start by checking out different small-business grants then, head over to Grants.gov, which is a searchable, online directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. It might be a long process, but it doesn’t cost you any equity.

4) Start a crowdfunding campaign online - Sometimes power is in numbers, and a bunch of small investments can add up to something significant. If you think your business might be a fit for something like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, also take some time to check out other crowdfunding platforms.

5) Apply to local angel investor groups - There are online platforms such as Gust and AngelList, and local networking can help you find potential investors who relate to your industry and passion.

6) Solicit venture capital investors - VCs typically look for significant opportunities from proven teams that need a million dollars or more, so you should have some traction before approaching them.

7) Join a start-up incubator or accelerator - These companies are designed to help new or start-up businesses get to the next level. Most provide free resources, including office facilities and consulting, along with networking opportunities and pitch events. Some also provide seed funding as well.

8) Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer - If someone wants your product or service bad enough to pay for it, there's a chance they'll want it bad enough to fund it, too. Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling agreements.

9) Trade equity or services for start-up help - For example, you could support a computer system for office tenants in exchange for free office space. You might not get paid for this, but you won’t have to pay for an office, either, and a penny saved is a penny earned.

10) Apply for a bank loan or line of credit.

8) Develop your Product or Service

After all the work you've put into starting your business, it's going to feel awesome to see your ideas come to life. But keep in mind, it takes a village to create a product. If you want to make an app and you're not an engineer, you will need to reach out to a technical person. Or if you need to mass-produce an item, you will have to team up with a manufacturer.

This is a seven-step checklist -- including finding a manufacturer and pricing strategies that you can use for your product development. When you’re crafting the product, you should focus on two things: simplicity and quality. Your best option isn’t necessarily to make the cheapest product, even if it lowers manufacturing cost. Also, you need to make sure the product can grab someone’s attention quickly.

When you are ready to do product development and outsource, some of the tasks make sure you:

1) Retain control of your product and always learn - If you leave the development of your product up to someone else or another firm without supervising, you might not get the thing you envisioned.

2) Implement checks and balances to reduce your risk - If you only hire one freelance engineer, there’s a chance that no one will be able to check their work. If you go the freelance route, use multiple engineers, so you don’t have to take someone at their word.

3) Hire specialists - Get people who are fantastic at the exact thing you want, not a jack-of-all-trades type.

4) Don't put all your eggs in one basket - Make sure you don’t lose all of your progress if one freelancer leaves or if a contract falls through.

5) Manage product development to save money - Rates can vary for engineers depending on their specialties, so make sure you’re not paying an overqualified engineer when you could get the same result for a much lower price.

6) Start learning as much as you can about the production, so you can improve the process and your hiring decisions as time goes along.

This process will be very different for service-focused entrepreneurs, but no less important. You have several skills that people are willing to pay you for right now, but those skills can be hard to quantify. How can you establish yourself and your abilities? You might consider creating a portfolio of your work -- create a website to show your artwork if you’re an artist, writing if you’re a writer or design if you’re a designer.

9) Start Building Your Team

When looking to scale and grow your business, you are going to need to hand off responsibilities to other people. You need a team.

Whether you need a partner, employee, or freelancer, these three tips can help you find a good fit:

State your goals clearly. Make sure everyone understands the vision and their role within that mission at the very start.

Follow hiring protocols. When starting the hiring process, you need to take a lot of things into consideration, from screening people to asking the right questions and having the proper forms. Here is a more in-depth guide to help you.

Establish an influential company culture. What makes a high culture? What are some of the building blocks? You can see our list of 10 examples of companies with great cultures, but keep in mind that you don't need to have Google's crazy office space to instill a positive atmosphere. That’s because a great culture is more about respecting and empowering employees through multiple channels, including training and mentorship than it is about decor or ping-pong tables. Office perks can turn out to be more like traps than real benefits.

10) Find a Physical Location

This could mean an office or a store. Your priorities will differ depending on need, but here are ten essential things to consider:

- Style of Operation - Make sure your location is consistent with your particular style and image.

- Demographics - Start by considering who your customers are. How important is their proximity to your location? If you're a retail store that relies on the local community, this is vital. For other business models, it might not be.

- Foot traffic - If you need people to come into your store, make sure that store is easy to find. Remember: even the best retail areas have dead spots.

- Accessibility and parking - Is your building accessible? Don't give customers a reason to go somewhere else because they don't know where to park.

- Competition - Sometimes having competitors nearby is a good thing. Other times, it's not. You've done the market research, so you know which is best for your business.

- Proximity to other businesses and services - This is more than just about foot traffic. Look at how nearby businesses can enrich the quality of your business as a workplace, too.

- Image and history of the site - What does this address state about your business? Have other companies failed there? Does the location reflect the image you want to project?

- Ordinances - Depending on your business, these could help or hinder you. For example, if you're starting a daycare center, ordinances that state no one can build a liquor store nearby might add a level of safety for you. Just make sure you're not the one trying to build the liquor store.

- The Building’s Infrastructure - Especially if you're looking at an older building or if you're starting an online business, make sure space can support your high-tech needs. If you're getting serious about a building, you might want to hire an engineer to check out the state of the place to get an objective evaluation.

- Rent, utilities and other costs - Rent is the most significant facilities expense, but check out the utilities, as well, and whether they're included in the lease or not. You don't want to start with one price and find out it's going to be later.

11) Begin to Generate Revenue

No matter your product or industry, your business's future is going to depend on revenue and sales.

There are a ton of different sales strategies and techniques you can employ, but here are four tenets to live by:

- Listen to your customers - When you listen to your clients/customers, you will find out what they want and need, and how to make that happen

- Ask for a commitment, but don't be pushy about it - You can't be too shy to ask for a next step or to close a sale, but you also can't make customers feel as though you're forcing them into a deal.

- Don't be afraid of hearing "no." - As former door-to-door salesman (and now co-founder of software business Pipedrive) Timo Rein said, "Most people are too polite. They let you make your pitch even if they have no interest in buying. And that’s a problem of its own. Time is your most important resource."

- Make it a priority - creating revenue, and running a profitable business, is a good strategy for business. Where are we that people think users or visits or time on site is the proxy to a successful business?”

But how do you make those sales? Start by identifying targets who want your product or service. Find early adopters of your business, grow your customer base, or put out ads to find people who fit your business. Then, figure out the right sales funnel or strategy that can convert these leads into revenue.

12) Grow Your Business

There are a million different ways to grow. You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings, and more. But, no growth plan will matter if you don't have the two key attributes that all growing companies have in common.

First, they have a plan to market themselves. They use social media effectively through organic influencer or paid campaigns. They have an email list and know how to use it. They understand who they need to target -- either online or off -- with their marketing campaigns.

Then, once they have a new customer, they understand how to retain them. You've probably heard many people state that the easiest customer to sell to is the one you already have. Your existing customers have already signed up for your email list, added their credit card information to your website, and tested what you have to offer. In doing so, they're starting a relationship with you and your brand. Help them feel as good about that relationship as possible.

Start by utilizing these strategies, which include investing in your customer service and getting personnel, but realize your work will never be done. You'll constantly be competing for these customers in the marketplace, and you can never rest on your laurels. Keep researching the market, hiring good people, and making a superior product, and you'll be on your way to building the empire you always dreamed about.

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