Back in June we made the call to leave our in-house design positions and take on Brandcouver as a full time gig. Well, as it turns out, starting a business is much more difficult than coming up with a catchy name.
Come August the site had launched and we were ready to take on Metro-Vancouver as our personal mission. We want to help startups become small businesses and small businesses become larger ones. Our focus is helping restaurants because it is one of the toughest industries to be in.
It’s especially hard just starting out—which we are intimately familiar with. Six months after launch we’ve discovered a lot and we’re learning more everyday.
Social media will get you a lot of exposure. It seems to be the advice off the tip of every advisors' tongue these days. It does, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds or looks. Just because you Instagram once a day, tweet a few times, and post on Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll have people knocking down your door.
Not in a short period of time that is.
Everyone is looking for the next thing to go viral but that’s as unpredictable as the toy that sells out at Christmas. Manufacturing virality is a pipe dream (I feel like Mario has these all the time).
The best you can do is creative, original, useful content. Some of it will stick and some of it will not. Fortunately all of the social media channels have some form of analytics. These can be awesome because you can see what people are most responding to and do more of it.
Blogs are great drivers from social media to your own website but take a lot of work and consistency. At Brandcouver we post twice a week to keep things fresh. This helps drive repeat visitors that like our content. But this is also quite a bit of work. Don’t take it lightly.
You need to work out topics that your audience will enjoy. Write on those topics, edit them, prepare social media posts to link to them, rinse and repeat.
Don’t let that scare you off. It can be incredibly rewarding to know that something you wrote could be helpful to the next person as well as help build your business.
The biggest challenge you are going to face is time.
Most days you will run out of time to accomplish everything you want to. Managing it is one of the best moves you can make. Having a rough idea of what your day will be like even the night before will help you accomplish more and be more efficient.
For instance, I always try to write in the mornings on Tuesdays and Fridays. This means that hopefully on Monday and Thursday I have an idea of my topics. Wednesdays and Sundays I set aside time for editing and preparing to post the next day. I know that I will be trying to tweet at least two or three times a day as well, so I am sure to check my feed a few times. My days are fairly roughly planned out but flexible for projects and any big ideas.
That’s just one side of the time coin though.
The other has nothing to do with running out of time. It has to do with being patient with it. When you first start a business it’s easy to get wrapped up in what it can be in the future. We still need to deal with what it is now. The time between now and the future is bit of a journey.
It takes a lot more time than you think to get off the ground completely. You can blog, tweet, post, instagram all day every day until you launch and still have only a few people walk in your store on opening. Everything simply takes time despite all of your effort.
But as I said, getting to the future is a bit of a journey. Starting a new business won’t feel like a success until you make your way through the Fire Swamp and out the other side—and you will.
It just takes time.