As a disabled parent, you may find yourself time- and mobility-restricted both by your disability and your children's needs. A business offers you the flexibility to work around many constraints while making money. You can even run your business from the comfort of your own home. As an aspiring business owner, there are certain core basic steps that can help you get started on a solid foundation. Today, Online Business Lift-Off offers some tips and resources to help you get started.
1. Research Your Market
There are three topics you need to understand before you start, your potential clients or customers, your potential competition, and your potential company. Ask questions like:
- Who do I want to target?
- What do my potential customers like and dislike?
- What do my potential customers need and want?
- What tactics do my potential competitors use, and which ones work?
- What can I do to differentiate my brand from my potential competitors'?
- What can I offer that is unique?
To find the answers to these questions, perform surveys and polls. Find beta testers to try ideas out on. Scout out competitors as a customer. Offer free samples of your goods and run your ideas by friends, family members, and acquaintances. Market research is a key part of starting a business because it helps you find out what works and what doesn't before you sink your money in.
2. Search for Funding
Capital can come from a number of sources. You can fund a business yourself or ask for help from family or friends. You can try to find outside investors by networking and creating business proposals. You can also try to get a bank loan. There are also many resources, such as grants, for both non-disabled and disabled business owners from the federal and state government, local groups, and other organizations.
3. Invest in SEO
SEO is essential for businesses as it improves online visibility, drives more organic traffic to the website, and results in better conversion rates and increased revenue. To optimize content for SEO, it's important to conduct keyword research, create high-quality content that answers searchers’ queries, structure the content with headings and subheadings, add alt tags to images, and ensure the page is mobile-friendly and loads quickly. If you’re planning on working with an SEO specialist, research the best options in the area (Editor’s note: Google have published an SEO starter guide that you should read. This way, if you hire someone to do your SEO for you, you’ll know what questions to ask them. It will help you avoid people who say they are good at SEO, but aren’t).
4. Implement Marketing Strategies
Marketing is integral to entrepreneurial success. Develop a marketing plan that includes what services or goods you provide, who your intended customers are, and your ideas for reaching out to them.
Also, make sure you have an online presence, including a website and social media accounts specifically for your business (and not tied to your personal one). Create a blog for your website to attract browsers to it. Design an eye-catching banner for your main page, social media page (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), or YouTube channel, or hire a graphic designer to do it for you.
Starting a business requires a great deal of investment in terms of money, labor and time, but it has the potential to pay off far more than you put into it. By putting effort into basics like marketing and research and SEO, you build a firm foundation for your business.
Ed Carter is a retired financial planner with a passion for helping people with disabilities. He spends his time writing financial literacy articles. You can find more information about Ed at https://ablefutures.org.
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