5 Rules for Naming Your Startup

Blank business card in the hands of a businessman
Today, you’ll find many startup businesses that have poorly chosen names. Some have names like PWRT (consonants without vowels), while others have smashed together words that leave their name with little meaning. Choosing the right name for your business is very important. Here are a couple of rules you should follow:

1. Don’t base your name on URL availability. A lot of startups think up a name and then do a search to see if the domain name is taken. Then if it is, alternate spellings are tried. Yet, instead, you should base your name off of the real world – after all this will be a part of your branding.

2. Your business name should make a good first impression, so refrain from using misspellings and adding on Zs at the end.

3. Don’t make it so that you have to constantly pronounce your business name for or explain your business name to people. This is an avoidable hurdle that you shouldn’t have to jump over, especially if you’re making a pitch to people.

4. Use a name that is descriptive. If a name you invented a name and saw that it was already taken as a domain, you can pair it with a descriptive word instead.

5. Don’t change your business name just because you shift the focus of your company. As long as the name wasn’t tied to a product or service and the identity and value of your business haven’t changed, then you should consider keeping the name.

Why Most Business Ideas Fail

Why Most Business Ideas FailComing up with a new business can be easy, but making it actually work in the real world can be cumbersome, if not impossible. Likely, research has shown you that majority of new business startups fail within their first year, but this is sometimes avoidable. Let’s look at some of the reasons why business ideas tend to fail.

  • Bad market research: If you’re not doing your due diligence, you will quickly find yourself in a hole that you don’t know how to get out of. Market research is important for knowing how to advertise your product or service to the right people, which is vital for gaining new customers.
  • Bad marketing: It’s not always a bad idea that causes a business to fail, it’s the bad marketing. If you’ve ever seen horrible commercials or advertisements, then you can see how this can hurt a business.
  • Not being distinguishable: In order to get a competitive edge for your business, you need to have an idea that is somewhat different. For instance, you can be in the same market of selling shoes as other competitors, but you can offer something different, like allowing customers to upload art to be printed on them before being shipped out. Having a unique selling point is crucial.
  • Having high expenses: Small businesses usually have small overhead to work with, which is why you should maintain low expenses. Don’t go overboard with your marketing efforts or buying too much supplies or office space.

Avoid these common mistakes and develop a solid marketing plan and you should be able to get your business going in a jiffy.

How to Use the Internet to Test a New Business Idea for Free

How to Use the Internet to Test a New Business Idea for FreeThe Internet is a great resource for many things, especially when it comes to businesses. If you have a new business idea that you would like to test out, you can do so for free with the help of the Web. Here is what you have to do:

  1. Create a free Web page. There are plenty of Web site builders that you can use to build a free page. If you already have a Web site, you can create the page there. The idea is to use the page to offer customers something before it’s truly available – just to see the demand for it.
  2. Research keywords for the page. The keywords you search for should be related to the new product or service that you are planning to offer. Make sure to use the most popular keywords for your niche and then use them on the Web page.
  3. Run an adwords Test. Google offers a pay per click ad service that you can use to test out advertisements. Google Adwords is pretty easy to use and it can be used to do A/B testing to see which ads perform better. You can test out different keywords and copy to see what gets the most feedback.

Test and test some more. Once you have set up your Google Adwords campaign, you can begin looking at the numbers, which will show how many clicks your ads get daily, weekly and monthly. The ads with the most clicks should be used in the future, especially if it is converting visitors into inquirers (make sure the Web landing page has a contact form).

Two Easy Tools for Building Business Web Sites

Two Easy Tools for Building Business Web SitesAn online presence is everything in the business world. In today’s time, everyone is looking for products and services via the Internet, which means you’ll need to have your site up and running, and ready to be found. If you are strapped in funds and don’t want to hire a Web designer, you can use these three easy tools to build your own business Web site.

Get Your Business Online

This is a Google owned platform that can be used to create your digital business identity. You’ll be able to choose the design of the Web site and fully customize it to your liking. Then all you have to worry about doing is adding content. This platform is ideal for business owners that don’t have any coding skills. Since the site will be on Google servers, you know that your site will be up and running majority of the time. Domain names are also cheap at around $7.

Homestead

Homestead is another Web site builder and host that you can use easily. It comes with templates that are industry related, allowing you to get a design and stock photos that are related to your market. Of course, you can remove them and add your own photos, graphics and logo. This platform comes with 250,000 images that you can use for free as well. Customizations are limited with this platform, but if you’re looking to build a site for a brick and mortar business, then this could be for you.

Do Start-ups and Co-working Spaces Mix?

Do Start-ups and Co-working Spaces Mix
Co-working spaces allow anyone to come in and work. Think of it as that hip coffee shop, only in a co-working space everyone is focused and working. You don’t deal with teenagers watching Youtube videos with the sound blasting or mommy groups holding play dates. In a co-working space everyone is at work or play, but the spaces are separate creating a fantastic work environment.

Co-working spaces were developed for freelancers, start-ups and networking purposes. The idea is creativity flows when it’s sparked by other things. If a start-up employee stays home to work all day, they may never hear feedback on what they’re doing. With a co-working space, you have access to ‘co-workers’ who can provide you that feedback.

Are Co-working Spaces Right for My Employees?

This largely depends on what your company does. Some companies do not need an office…at least not right away. This is when a co-working space is ideal for any start-up. If you do not need to be directly with your product all of the time, you can definitely benefit from co-working spaces. Co-working spaces offer the ambiance of that relaxed yet productive office environment you want for employees but may not be able to afford right away.

Most co-working spaces require a membership fee for your business. Some charge a flat fee while others charge based per person. In large cities there are many options for co-working spaces, so price compare and see what’s offered with membership before committing.

Creating the Perfect Start-up Office

Creating the Perfect Start-up Office
Offices have come a long way. The new start-up office isn’t filled with cubicles or designated work spaces. Instead, it’s a mix of work and play. Start-up teams, no matter how small spend a lot of time together. In order to keep your team tight and connected, you want to create a start-up office with plenty of breathing room for people.

  • Implement color.
  • Have a downtime space.

Color is where most offices go wrong. While you don’t need a ton of color to make an office space cheery, you don’t want to stick to the boring scheme of gray and blue either. White walls are a good thing when enhanced with brightly-colored furniture or offset by a bright wall. You want an open concept space that allows people to interact and offer feedback on the work they’re doing. This is the best way to build strong company culture.

Because start-up employees work around the clock, you need to have a space where they can kick back and relax. This includes a television, charging stations for cell phones and tablets and a communal eating area.

For most start-ups there’s no set time for arriving or leaving, which means people are in the office at odd hours working on various projects. Make your employees feel welcomed at the office by giving them a downtime space they feel comfortable in. When you do that, you’re more likely to have people stay and play then get back to work feeling refreshed and motivated.

Advertising: Getting your Business Out There

Advertising Getting your Business Out There
You see the huge billboards while traveling in your car; and you sit through the commercials during your favorite TV show. However, these are not the only ways that companies can advertise. If you are a small business and just starting out, you probably cannot afford these elaborate advertising getups. Instead, you can absolutely take advantage of advertising that you may not totally be aware of. Direct email newsletters, social media advertising, and local distribution of advertisements are quite inexpensive, yet effective ways to promote your business.

Advantages of Starting Small

If you are an avid internet user, you are aware of the advertising constantly streaming along. So why can’t you use this same technology to your advantage? Partnering with an online advertisement company is one step you can take to promote your business. However, there are also ways you can promote online virtually free.

If you have a strong following on your social media websites, you can plug your business whenever you want. Catchy status updates could include links to your website, or information about exclusive deals and sales for your online friends. In turn, ask friends to repost your information for their friends to see.

You will be surprised how fast word of your business and the deals you are offering will spread around social media. Use this technology to grow your business, reach new customers, and inform your loyal customers what is happen in general. With minimal effort and virtually no cash, you can have promote your business quite effectively.

5 Questions You Should Consider Before Starting a Business

5 Questions You Should Consider Before Starting a Business
Starting a business is a wonderful adventure. It can lead to success, pride and riches. However, before you simply jump right in, you want to make sure that you are on the right track for success by considering these five questions:

  1. Are you really ready to start a business? A business is an immense undertaking. It not only requires a lot of thought, but it requires a lot of man hours, investment and physical and mental devotion. Are you ready for it?
  2. Do you have a good idea? While you may think that you have a great business idea, the rest of the public may not. Do some research to see if there really is a market out there for the type of business that you want to start.
  3. Do you have the finances to back your business? Starting a business is very costly. Between the establishment, the supplies, the marketing, the help, insurance and so on, the costs add up. Do you have the money to support all of your business needs?
  4. Do you have a good business plan? A plan is the foundation of a business. In order to be successful, you need to have a good plan in place.
  5. Do you have a good location? Location is part of success. Your location will help to attract clients, which will boost your success. Will you be located in an area that suits your business?

5 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

5 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
While you may have an excellent business set up and you may be offering fantastic products and services, if you aren’t marketing your business, you simply aren’t going to have the success you desire. Marketing is essential for getting the word out about your business. If you don’t market, how will be find you? Here are five marketing tips that will help you get your small business noticed and bring you success.

  1. Local advertising. One of the most effective ways to get the word out about your small business is through local advertising. Take out an ad in a local paper or magazine. Post ads in local venues. Put a commercial on your local radio station. Put a commercial on a local television station. As a small business, your best and most loyal clients will be the people in your own community.
  2. Social media. You probably have a Facebook account for your personal use, but you should also have one for your business. Social media is a profoundly powerful way to get your small business noticed. You won’t believe the power it will have on your success.
  3. Email marketing. Another great marketing tactic is email marketing. Reach people in their inbox and they will reach out to you.
  4. Start a blog. A blog will help you connect with clients in a more meaningful way. Start a blog and you will attract more clients.
  5. Send out mailings. Send pamphlets and newsletters out in the mail.  Potential clients will have your information right in their hand when they go to their mailbox.

5 Excellent NYC Startups

5 Excellent NYC Startups
Even though the economy is still hurting in many ways, there are companies being conceived and becoming successful each year. This can most likely be attributed to how difficult it is to get hired by another company, or the declining climate of office life in corporate America. Many people have simply had it, and are taking matters in to their own hands. It is not an easy task to become incorporated. Between writing a detailed business plan, identifying a target audience, and getting approved for a loan, new companies have a lot of milestones to reach in their first year. Considering all of the business issues that companies have to finalize and get moving in the first year, there are still companies pushing through the hurdles and making a name for themselves in the beginning years of their organization. Some of NYC’s top startup companies include:

  • Fitocracy
  • Grouper
  • Hukkster
  • IMRSV
  • Klooff

Keep an eye out for these companies to make big moves in the future. They were identified by Time Inc. as top NYC startups, and that is a colossal achievement. If they have come this far, think how far they can go in the future! Research their business model and use that as inspiration for your startup because you should not be looking to reinvent the wheel if you see it working so well. These companies can attribute their success to their leadership, supporting members, and drive. These five companies set a great example to gain success in 2013.