Starting up a new business is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Risky from a financial perspective, the stress and responsibility of a new venture can also impact your physical and mental welling. The world of business is littered with failed start-ups. Therefore it’s vital that you take the time to thoroughly plan your business strategy and understand how you will make it a success.

Here are five economical ways to plan your strategy and get your business off to the best possible start.

Understand Your Competition

It’s vital to take the time to research the other businesses in the area in which you will operate. Check out their website; visit their shop or showroom; make an enquiry about a product or service. What does the business excel at? What could be improved? A visit to a competitor helps you to understand the other businesses operating in your sector, but it could also inspire a new and innovative approach for your own business.

Define Your Brand

What is unique about your business? Why should a customer choose your brand? Being clear on what your brand represents is a cornerstone of a successful business. Think about what your USPs are or what you want them to be. Remember, your business’ brand name should be clear and concise, and any accompanied graphics professional and attractive. Defining your brand not only helps customers to understand what you are offering them, it also makes it much easier for you to develop your future business strategy.

Take a Step Back

You’ll be working flat out to get your new business off the ground. However, it’s important to take a step back from time to time to reflect on your progress. Set a regular date in your calendar to complete a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) on your business to better understand your current position, what you need to focus on, and the potential challenges ahead. You may feel you don’t have time to stop, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of reflection in saving you time, money and stress in the long run.

Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms now offer affordable marketing solutions. Having a Facebook page for your business costs nothing; building on this by regularly posting interesting content can help you to generate interest in your business. If you decide to run an advertising campaign via social media, you can target specific locations and categories of people.

Customer Service

It’s vital to ensure you immediately establish a strong reputation. Repeat business and word of mouth recommendations are free so you need to deliver good customer service from the outset. Having a customer service plan in place helps to maintain a consistent, positive approach, but it’s also important to think about what happens when things go wrong; good after-sales service could make or break your reputation. Also, remember that couriers represent your business; their customer service is yours by proxy. Therefore you need to choose a reliable courier that delivers on service and value.

Following these steps can help your business to gain the momentum it needs to become financially viable and sustainable. You’ll face many challenges as a business owner, but with a solid foundation you’re likely to weather the storms.

Have you owned a start-up? What’s your best advice to new business ventures?