7 Easy & Budget-Friendly Ideas To Take Your Canadian Small Business To The Next Level
If you don't have a side hustle, then you probably know someone who does. It's become the key small-business buzzword in recent times — and for good reason.
Many millennials and zoomers are coming to the realization that a corporate nine-to-five job doesn't suit what they want in life. For some, the restriction of the 40-hour workweek is unappealing, while others struggle to find work that aligns with their personal values.
As a result, many people have started, or are thinking about starting, their own small businesses. From artisan charcuterie boards to multi-product e-commerce ventures, small businesses can be the way to live out your entrepreneurial dream and find your "why."
Whether you're looking to open an online store, provide a service or cook delicious food, all small businesses have one thing in common today: the need to get noticed on the web. This can seem daunting, but getting your online presence up and running doesn't have to be a costly nightmare, especially if you use a one-stop-shop service like GoDaddy.
For a small fee, you can secure the perfect domain, get access to beautiful website templates and build your brand on a user-friendly platform. Plus, GoDaddy has recently launched some new tools in Canada (like e-commerce and marketing integrations) to make running a small business online even easier.
As you build your brand, it's important to remember that launching a small business is about more than just a website. Building a community, developing your social media strategy and keeping an eye on your finances may sound time-consuming and potentially costly, but where there's a will (and these seven tips), there's a way.
Buckle Down & Do It
If you've been in the dreaming phase of your entrepreneurial journey for what seems like ages, sit down and plot it out. When you feel the nine-to-five life isn't the key to your career fulfillment, it's time to acknowledge that and start rounding up the "buts" you've been using to justify not starting.
You've got to start somewhere, so find solutions to your concerns and map out how you can get your business idea off the ground.
Cultivate Your Online PresenceThom Bradley | Burst
Even if your business isn't entirely virtual, there's no way for potential customers to find you if you aren't showing up where they are — online. And one of the best ways to be spotted online is through the use of proper SEO (or search engine optimization). GoDaddy Websites + Marketing provides an easy set up experience to help your website get found online, no professional SEO experience needed.
If you're not sure where to start in the e-commerce landscape, that's understandable. GoDaddy’s Online Store combines a sleek ecommerce store, powerful selling tools and flexible shipping and payment options. They will also be introducing a Marketplace integration next year so Quebec entrepreneurs can leverage popular digital markets like Amazon and eBay Marketplace all from one dashboard.
Learn From The Community
There's plenty of free advice out there if you know where to look. Seek out the small business mentors on Instagram, Medium, or Quora, and take in all the tips, tricks and advice you can.
Reach out to your offline circles, too. That once-removed aunt who runs a small B&B on Vancouver Island? She knows her way around financials and might be able to teach you a thing or two about keeping your accounting in good shape. That local shop that you absolutely love? Drop by and befriend the owners — they can help you know what to expect as you get your business off the ground.
The best champions of small businesses know just how challenging running one can be. Seek community over competition and you'll find valuable skills to help your new venture thrive.
Automate Wherever & Whenever You Can
Your time is valuable, especially when levelling up your side hustle into a small business. There are plenty of free or low-cost tools available to help you cut back on the busywork. Invoicing can be a breeze with platforms that do all the heavy lifting for you, for example. Email funnels and sequences can save you time and keep your new subscribers engaged without you having to put in much work after the initial setup.
When it comes to social content, manually posting to multiple online platforms is becoming a thing of the past. GoDaddy's Instagram Direct Publishing Feature cuts back on the labour of managing followers and curating feeds with the ability to schedule, publish and monitor posts all from within the GoDaddy Websites + Marketing dashboard.
Focus On The Product & The Customer ExperienceMatthew Henry | Burst
A product that is only "okay" can be tough to sell. With quality products, the marketing basically does itself through repeat customers and word of mouth. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win back a customer who has had a poor experience with you (and to prevent them from cautioning others about your business).
Keep a personal touch, so you can make customers feel special, and so you can stand out against larger corporations.
Enjoy The Process But Take Notes
Chances are that your initial launch will feel like flying by the seat of your pants, and that's okay. Once you've figured out what works and what doesn't, cut the fluff and document your processes for keeping things running smoothly.
If it's just for you, or you have a small team, having a system to follow helps ensure that each customer and order receives the best care. Streamline your processes and take advantage of some of the other tips, like automation, to make each task as simple as following points one through three.
Keep Your Work Life Separate From Your Personal Life (Especially Your Finances)
Eventually, if your business has grown large enough, you might choose to incorporate. Until then, it's a smart idea to keep your business and personal finances separate. Even if your launch goes swimmingly, don't go spending all your hard-earned money at once.
Set up rules and automatic deposits in your designated business accounts to save a percentage of income for taxes. Come April, you'll breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you had funds set aside to pay any taxes.
Starting small, like with the seven tips above, is a great way to get your business idea going, and it sure beats waiting for all the pieces to perfectly align. In reality, those pieces won't fall into place without your actions, your commitment to growth and learning, and just buckling down and making it happen.
GoDaddy Websites + Marketing combines professional website templates with tools to make getting started a breeze. Once your site is up and running, their social integrations can help you to reach customers with ease. Just think where you and your business idea could be in a month or in a year — your imagination truly is the limit.
Learn more about GoDaddy by checking out their website or following them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
This content is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, legal, tax or accounting advice.
This article was originally published on Narcity Canada.