When you’re just starting your business there are so many questions that can distract you from building on a firm foundation. You may be looking around at others who do something similar to your ultimate goal for your business, I mean, who doesn’t when they are first starting? You also may notice that all those sites seem pretty similar to each other, and as a result may think that having a website that is similar to them is expected in your field.
Are you wondering if there only one “right” way to get online for your new business?
My answer is “No!”
The people you are wanting to be like are likely several steps ahead of you, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking up to them! Sometimes I wish we could hop in a time machine and go back to when they started. They probably had a ton of questions, a pretty weak website and barely any idea of who they served. They were probably totally winging it.
The entrepreneurs you’re wanting to be like are likely past the ‘just starting’ phase, and their websites reflect the research they’ve been doing since starting. By research I mean digging deep into their particular audience to uncover their pain points, to develop methods of working with the issues their tribe deals with and even the exact words and phrases their particular people use and tailoring their website and services to appeal to their audience and meet the needs in a way that only they can.
This sort of research will give different results for everyone. No matter how much you want to be just like the person you’re admiring from afar, You. Aren’t. Them. Therefore, your research results will be different…different words that speak to your audience, different ways to ease the pain points of the people that relate to you, your own unique way of working with them to help them achieve their goals…
Firm up your Foundation
Instead of trying to build out a big site with hopes and dreams of a huge clientele, a ‘good idea’ of who you serve and a ‘pretty firm’ method to work with clients, use this first phase of your business to get some things in place as a foundation to grow upon. A firm foundation alone will set you apart from the rest and in a year others will be wanting to emulate you.
Starting as a new entrepreneur with a website is a great idea. When you’re interacting in Facebook groups or setting up your Pinterest profile, you’ll need to be able to point people to a place online to get your basic information…your online ‘home’ if you will.
Here they can simply read more about who you are and what you offer, or they can sign up for a newsletter which you can use to stay in touch with them which will keep your name on their mind, and/or educate them more on what you do. This can help build a relationship with them and in turn, they’ll already be aware how you can help them and be more likely to reach out to you when they are looking for answers or services you provide.
Your online home can also be used to gather information about people who visit your site. Installing Google Analytics on your site and then using the information it captures can give you a better idea of who benefits from your website.
Your website will work for you even if you don’t install Google Analytics or maintain a newsletter, by being a place for you to establish yourself. Once you have done your research, your website is already established and you can begin to build it out into a more robust tool that can capture potential client information, offer more information through blog posts, showcase your work, and more. You can apply your brand to it by adding or editing the copy to resonate with your ideal client, change the imagery to reflect a specific feeling you want your audience to feel as well as the colors that will help evoke the experience you want visitors to have when they visit your site.
Bigger isn’t Better when you’re Beginning
Putting all of your energy, money, and resources into creating a website you think reflects who you want to serve, how you want to serve them, and the way you want to serve them likely will be nothing like the website that will best serve your audience in one year.
I love to help new entrepreneurs create clean, simple websites, both one-page and multiple page sites, so you can spend your time during your first year in business really narrowing down your business concept and ideal customers.
Your first year in business should be the time you are putting into practice the research you did before starting your business and doing even more research on your target market so you can be firming up your foundation. Discovering and implementing this firm foundation is the place your energy and resources should be applied, not figuring out how to live up to the way you portrayed yourself and your services on your first website.
I’ve heard from more than a few that the initial website they spent so much money on in the beginning actually held them back from being who they needed to be for the audience they truly wanted to work with. They spent so much money or time on their first site they subconsciously felt they needed to live up to how they portrayed themselves on it and didn’t feel they could really follow their passion as they discovered more about their ideal client and what their client really needed from them.
A website that’s bigger, with more pages and text explaining what you do, who you serve and how you serve them isn’t necessarily better than a one-, two- or three-page website that portrays who you think you want to serve in the way you think you want to serve them if your research at the beginning of your entrepreneurial career reveals that nothing on your website is actually what you want to do.
I encourage you to start. Just start.
A website can be as simple as one page that explains who you are, what you do, who you serve and offers a way for the visitor to contact you. It doesn’t have to be all-encompassing when you are trying to discover your niche.
Take a look at the example of a one-page website, this one for my Just Get My Site Launched Now package, to see how simple and effectively strategic a small website can be. Then think through what you truly need to get your online home-base started for your own business.