Starting up a brand new business can be challenging when you have to take into consideration all aspects of a new business start up. The following small business guide is designed to help small business owners think outside the box.
The Most critical detail for a successful small business is location.
Yup, just like in real estate it’s location, location, location.
A small home based business will need to overcome this issue if you are a service industry provider.
The key is getting a Google map marker location for a commercial location near your primary target area or customer base. Say you are located in a remote suburb and you are a home based cleaning service or AC repair company. You primarily service customers in an upscale area of the city and it is critical that customers find you near the areas they live in.
Business Map Markers on Search Engine Results.
Google, Apple Connect Maps and Microsoft Bing requirements for publishing a business location with a map marker are fairly strait forward.
- You will need a commercial address that receives mail from the U.S. Postal Service. This cost is estimated around $100 per month for leasing an office. Please contact us so we can advise you during this process. The UPS Stores P.O. Box will not work.
- During your hours of operation a front receptionist must be there to meet incoming customers at the location to answer questions or take messages and forward them to you if you are working away from the office. This service is included in leasing an office.
- Your office address should be listed as your legal place of business on all state and federal documents.
Your Business Name
The Second Most important decision. For the purpose of Search Engines finding you online, for heavens sake please use your primary key phrase of your business in the name itself. So say you are a Yoga studio in Cape Coral Florida and you want local customers to find you in a 10 mile radius…
Do not name your business Daisy’s Meditation , Diet & Yoga.
Instead name your business Cape Coral Yoga. Trust me… You will crush it on organic online search engine results and get tons of business. When a customer runs a search they will enter “Yoga studio near me” Google will look at their location and then provide relevant results based on the user’s location.
Yes we can help you determine the most search engine friendly business name. Starting out “it’s all about the Benjamins…” You need customers coming through the door. If the primary name is taken go with a similar name like Cape Coral Yoga Flex.
Another example for an ac repair company: “Cape Coral Cooling Co.” or “A Cooling Co. Cape Coral” or “AB Cooling Co. Cape Coral ” etc…
If you are old school and remember the yellow pages, this is a similar concept.
Market Trend Analysis
The big question who are your competitors, where are they located, what are they offering to potential customers? How are customers finding your competitors online? Yes we help with this.
5 Star Reviews are Huge.
This is modern word of mouth advertising, only at the speed of light.
Search Engines are now ranking companies based on the number of 5 star reviews they have. More happy customers = better search engine rankings.
5 Star Reviews help to build consumer confidence.
Reviews also help to give you useful feedback. The best way to go about reviews is a 3 process strategy that you can use as a small business guide for online review processing.
- After the service call & work is complete ask kindly if your customer has any additional questions or concerns.
- Let them know that you will be sending them a follow up email with a direct link to your website to leave a quick online review for your service. Also at that time if they have any concerns or questions they can send you a quick message about the issue. This is just good customer service. It helps to head off potential issues before it turns into an unhappy customer writing a 1 star review.
- Give your customer multiple ways to leave a review. Typically I like to give the customer a link to leave a review on Google (need a gmail account), Facebook or if they do not have an account they can leave a review on your website directly. Yes we can filter for 4 and 5 star reviews only. The 3 star and less reviews would go directly to your email’s inbox (not be published) so you can remedy the customer issue before they go scorched earth on your online reputation.
- In most cases it will be a hit or miss whether or not your customer will leave an online review for you. It is up to you to build good rapport with them and ask for this favor in person.
Your Marketing Budget
You can easily spend $2000 a month on newspaper display ads. Can you track how many users are actually reading that Ad? Can you display your complete portfolio of work on a single ad?
How many people can you actually reach on a print ad vs. a solid digital marketing plan. Check out our plans here they will give you a higher return on investment. Depending on your industry just one lead may pay for your plan for the entire year.
Have you ever seen a website that uses cheesy commercial photos? Paid Models with a grin from ear to ear pretending to look happy and genuine.
Say you are a South Florida based home construction business and the main photo on the front page of your website is a Northern New England Built home with plenty of northern trees in full Autumn color. This is not an accurate representation of a typical home in South Florida and it does not represent your business.
A real photo of your business is worth a 1,000 words when you only have 15 seconds to engage your customers on line.
2019 small business guide to .gov filings. If you need to fall asleep keep reading…
The following is for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice. We are a marketing agency so do your own research and make informed decisions. Consult with your accountant and/or lawyer for all business compliance issues and legal advice. I am only adding this information to create a more complete small business guide for readers.
Step 1 – If you are planning on hiring employees, filing for LLC or Incorporation, Get a Federal EIN number. If you are going to file as a sole proprietor with no employees then do not worry about the EIN. Just understand all your personal assets are unprotected and can be used to settle a civil lawsuit.
So the first thing I would do, is protect your personal assets ie home, personal bank accounts, spouse’s assets, your kid’s clown college fund etc. Forming an LLC is the best low cost solution for helping to protect your personal assets. You can also incorporate which offers even better protection of personal assets.
Here is a link for forming an LLC in the State of Florida. Its simple and easy.
Next you will need to register your business with your county and pay a small tax. Go here for Collier County and click here for Lee County (you only have to register in one county to cover you for both).
In the State of Florida you may need to get a Florida Contractors License for your service industry. Go here to see if you need a contractors or state operating license.
More Fun Stuff to signup for:
Just run a Google Search for the listed Items below.
Workers Comp Insurance (If you have employees.)
Unemployment Insurance (If you have employees.)
Business Liability Insurance (A good idea just in case you run over your client’s dog.)
Florida Contractor License Bond
Estimated Quarterly Taxes for Federal Income
State Sales Tax Account
Value Added Services
At No Additional Cost
Business Listings on Popular Search Sites + Indexing On Over 1000 Web Directories
Get Google Map Markers Near Your Customers *
5 Star Review Strategies. Get More Reviews & Better Search Rankings
About Herb Techmer
Our passion is helping small business owners grow their businesses by providing them with the best professional digital marketing services available. Building mobile friendly modern affordable websites is the fist step to helping them gain market share in the competitive online market place. If you are Local to Naples, Fort Myers & Tampa give us a call and we can stop by to meet with you.