Many start-ups and businesses reach a point during their inception, a point that asks: when is the right time to tell our story online? This moment in time can bring out the best in spontaneity and the worst in perfectionism, or vice-versa.
A phrase that's been around the block, 'every business is unique' will tell us that there is no cookie-cutter solution. So how does one know when the time is right to launch a project or business?
Knowing What's Important
In order to determine whether or not your business is ready for launch, you must first identify what assets are crucial to your operational success. If you travel a lot or network frequently, business cards and a comfortable outfit are important. If you're in manufacturing, social media probably isn't a necessity. If you're hoping to sell online, an e-commerce website is a likely prerequisite.
Regardless of your industry or budget, one thing that 9/10 businesses have in common is that they are marketing-led. This means that your product, pricing, distribution channels and promotion strategies are all crucial to your operating strategy.
Of course, this marketing medicine is widely prescribed. It's not necessarily a case of getting everything in place form the word go, rather, knowing when to prioritise certain activities. Some businesses can get away with doing very little, others need to tick every box.
How Your Business Adds Value
The age-old expression 'you only get one chance to make a first impression' is widely over-used in the creative industry. Websites - as with any form of design - must adhere to a set of values, values that should be clearly defined and are often intangible.
Getting to this stage can be a complex process for many entrepreneurs and business owners, but understanding the importance of communicating your values online is something that mustn't be ignored.
Perfectionism vs. Spontaneity
To explore the highs and lows of launching a business online, we’ve looked at two contrasting approaches and compared typical efforts across the digital spectrum. We have made the following overarching/outrageous assumptions:
Perfectionists have little room for compromise, and have undeniable attention to detail. They are the type of people who cover every millimeter of toast with butter.
Spontaneous people are compulsive by nature. They are the type of people who eat their toast whilst walking out the door.
1. Company Website
Often considered the first point of call, a website needs to perform a number of important roles. In a nutshell, a website (or more specifically a homepage) must encompass everything that your business stands for, and ideally take no more than five seconds for a visitor to absorb your key marketing message. Chances are that you’re not the only company who is trying to make money doing what you do, so why should people decide to buy from you?
Will typically wait until they have full product & service copy in place, photos and videos at the ready, and a grand vision of how a website will operate. The perfectionist will continually tweak his/her work, spending meticulous care and attention to detail for a pixel-perfect website.
Will insist upon a website framework, filling in a blank canvass over time. Whilst the website is likely to remain incomplete, something’s better than nothing. Right?
2. Social Media
If you’re still not convinced of the marketing power of social media, chances are you’re not quite ready to tackle the world of digital. For those of you who have read success stories and are fascinated by the social media movement, it’s time to put the web to work for you and start generating awareness of your product or service. Combined with content marketing, social channels can be a hugely cost-effective promotion channel.
Is likely to plan and prepare his/her social updates in advance, and might cycle through a number of alternative titles and photos before publishing their message. Activity will be even and spread out over time, remaining consistent across all social channels.
Will typically tackle social media en mass, liking and retweeting as much as he/she has time for. Social activity is likely to aterialize in bursts of enthusiasm, with some channels likely to remain neglected.
Digital content comes in many shapes and forms. Typically you will engage with descriptive copy, blog posts, videos, photos and illustrations, infographics and reports, all of which have a purpose: to educate, to inform or to entertain. Coupled with an excellent website and social media arsenal, content marketing can achieve results at a fraction of traditional inbound marketing costs.
Endlessly plans and strategises his/her content, deciding what content will be published when, and for what specific purpose. An editorial calendar is in place with the next 12-24 months work outlined.
Will write his/her thoughts into a blog post and publish immediately. Posts are sporadic, but take very little time to produce. For now, the content is online and doing it's job with very little investment.
Which Approach Works Best?
Using the three simple examples above, perfectionism has it's place, but so too does getting things moving asap. Typically, as you become more competitive, the benchmark is raised a little higher. The important thing to remember is that different people work and think in different ways. Some like to see everything in front of them, others like a blank canvass. Some questions to ask yourself:
• How valuable is time, and how important is it to you?
• Do you want to attract visitors, engage them, or both?
• Do you have the resources or skills to market yourself?
• Are you prepared to learn from your mistakes?
These values are dependent upon the circumstances surrounding your business or brand's purpose in any given marketplace. One thing that's certain: your website doesn't need to do an awful lot, but at the very least it needs to perform as a marketing tool and reflect your brand values. Getting things right from the beginning can save a lot of time (and money!) later on in life.
What type of person are you? Share your own way of doing things with CBW on Twitter.