Taking your business from the real world to the digital world might seem like a leap into the unknown. But you don’t have to be a tech expert or a digital native to make an impact for your business online. All it takes is a few start up business tips like the ones offered here.
The start of the new financial year is a great time to kickstart your digital dreams and give your brand a boost.
Tahlia Plant, owner and founder of Brisbane-based soy candle and diffuser company Bulb and Fossa, knows all about the power of online to boost sales and help build her business. The entrepreneur and GoDaddy customer started her business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Once COVID hit … I found myself needing a way to release a creative energy,’’ Tahlia says. “This got me into experimenting with candle making and teaching myself how to do this. I then grew this newly formed passion into a business and shared it with friends, family, and the community.”
Building a business from the ground up
Tahlia says she became an entrepreneur with no resources or guidance and has built her business from the ground up with a lot of hard work and research.
I had to use Google to research how to start a business and what are the minimum requirements to do so.
“Things like an ABN, insurance, how to market my business, finding suppliers, and most importantly how to sell my products were all things I had to consider.”
One of the most important decisions Tahlia said she’s made along the way was getting her business online. Here she shares four top start up business tips she’s learned since starting Bulb and Fossa.
Start up business tip #1: Just go for it and get online
It might seem daunting to launch your business into the world online, but Tahlia says the decision to move her business online changed everything.
“Without an online presence my business wouldn't be what it is today,’’ she says. “It's how I reach new customers and retain my current customers. It also allows me to showcase my products, engage with new markets, compare myself against competitors and see how I can differentiate myself in a saturated market.”
Australia Post says an average of 5.4 million Aussie households shopped online in May. Online shopping now makes up a 19.3% share of retail sales, presenting a huge opportunity for small business owners.
Start up business tip #2: Trust in your creativity
Presenting your product or service in a way that is enticing and inspiring doesn’t mean you need a supermodel budget. Even just learning a few tips and tricks on how to present or photograph your wares can make a huge difference to how they look to prospective customers.
Tahlia says the best start up business tip she’s learned is how to photograph her candles and scents creatively.
“I can actually take nice photos of my products and have a creative flare to do this,’’ she says. “All you need is a phone, your products, a backdrop and some natural lighting.”
Related: The DIY guide to website photography
Start up business tip #3: Expand your social horizons
There are 20 million Australians on social media, according to Yellow Pages statistics, and 39% of Aussie users follow a brand on a social platform. That presents a sizeable opportunity for small businesses to connect with receptive customers in places where they are comfortable and open to engaging with brands.
Tahlia says building a social media presence with shops on Instagram and Facebook was the one digital investment she wishes she’d made earlier in her business journey.
“It took me a while to figure out how to actually create a Facebook shop,’’ she says. “I could have connected better with my network and customers earlier if I had done this.”
I love that I can easily connect my store on GoDaddy with the Facebook shop.
Tahlia says the seamlessness between her social media platform shops and her website has made it easy for customers to see her product range in real time.
Tahlia’s new financial year resolution is to expand her social media presence even further.
“In terms of digital marketing, I would love to be more immersed in Instagram and TikTok and educate myself more on how to create relatable and engaging content based on viral needs,’’ she says.
“There has been such a push recently to create videos to help small businesses grow, so I would like to see how I could leverage this.”
Related: How to make a video on a budget
Start up business tip #4: Use data to be your own business coach
Once your business is online, the right platform can give you access to a wealth of data that can help you see how your business is performing and where your next opportunity might come from.
While many social media accounts let you access analytics that tell you how your posts performed and can give you insights into your customers, website products like GoDaddy can also do the same.
Tahlia says the dashboard on her GoDaddy site is the website feature that’s made the biggest difference to her business. “This has allowed me to see how much traction my website is receiving and easily track my sales and orders,’’ she says.
“I also love how the dashboard gives you suggestions on other things that will help your business grow, including connecting my social media platforms. I can then use this information to compare how I am performing this year vs previous years in terms of sales, customers, and order volumes.”
Related: Google Analytics for beginners
Going for it with GoDaddy
For Tahlia, building and hosting a website with GoDaddy was a “seamless experience as a new sole trader finding their feet in the business world.’’
She says she made use of the chat function to help her anytime she wasn’t sure of the process and has now built a site that’s integrated with her social media shops for maximum efficiency.
“The way that I can manage all my stock, orders and tracking information on the same application through GoDaddy has made for a positive experience — especially when life gets busy,’’ she says.
Tahlia says GoDaddy’s website builder and marketing e-commerce packages have also allowed her to send and receive reviews from online purchases and easily market and manage her business.
Believe in yourself
Since turning her passion for candle making into a business, Tahlia has learned plenty about becoming an entrepreneur.
Her key lesson for other prospective entrepreneurs is: you can do it.
“It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to get started, but it will all be worth it in the end,” she says. “The most rewarding thing is seeing your business grow, as well as yourself. You never know what you are capable of until you’ve done it.”