Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
Updated: Apr 7
You've surely heard this statement at some point in your life, right?
Perhaps you are even guilty of falling foul to it yourself? Tried to save yourself a little money here and there by opting to build your own website perhaps?
Maybe you designed a logo?
Here are some reasons why when it comes to starting up your small business buying cheap is very likely to cost you in the future and be damaging to your brand.
Nothing shout's 'amateur' quite like a free email address.
Let's say you're looking for a website developer, being honest, would you opt to pay someone £500 to build your website who doesn't have a website and uses a free email like Google Mail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook?
If you are serious about your business idea, then I highly recommend that you purchase your domain as early on as possible. Even if you do not plan on building a website immediately, securing your domain means it's there when you need it for your website.
In the interim, once you have secured your domain, you can also get an associated email address. In the beginning, a single email address will be fine and once your business starts to flourish you can add further emails addresses should you require it.
Most commonly used email addresses would be info@[yourregistereddomain.com] or admin@, or hello@.
Using an email address aligned with your business name will go a long way in looking more serious about your business.
Making a poor first impression with your website
The 2nd way small business owners try to save start-up costs is by opting to build their website themselves.
Whilst hosts like Wix and Squarespace make it incredibly easy to create a website from a template the problem is what the business owner doesn't know. And when it comes to website design there is a LOT to know. Not simply the design and build element.
Copy/content - You should have heard by now that content is king? This is no truer than when relating to your website. You see, the copy you put on your website serves more than just to give your visitor an insight into the services and/or products you provide, but it also determines how well your website ranks on search engine result pages (SERPs). Now, I'm assuming if you're reading this, you know how to write. But just because I can run doesn't mean I can be competing in the 100m in the World Athletics Championships! Similarly, whilst you can write, failing to write in a way that is optimised for your audience and search engines alike will do more damage than good to your business/brand.
Think of your website as the shopfront window of your bricks and mortar store. Store owners spend a considerable amount of time and research deciding just how to best dress their store window so that they can grab your attention as you walk past on the street. Building a website, and especially your home page is essentially the same as setting up your storefront window display. Get it wrong, and people won't bother looking at your site again. Get it right and a website can be a great tool to bring in your paying clients.
SEO - Most small business owners have a high-level understanding of what SEO (search engine optimisation is) however very few actually understand the many intricacies of it. Some aspects of SEO are easier to grasp than others. Some require editing tags and code within the website itself. Others just require knowing what elements or information is absolutely necessary on a website for SEO and especially mobile SEO. Check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel as I plan to create a few videos around SEO and website requirements.
Choosing the wrong host - Did you know that if you decide to move your website to another host that this can have a significant impact on your SEO? It does! Any website designer telling you any different is simply not being honest with you I'm afraid.
If it is your intention to become self-employed and earn an income through your business in the long term then I strongly suggest you do some research into which website host would be best for your long term goals. Many developers you speak to, may suggest to you that you have to use WordPress and that you shouldn't consider Squarespace or Wix websites (see this post for more on that!). However, as discussed in the aforementioned blog post, depending on your business plans, Wix and Squarespace may absolutely be a good fit for you.
Opting for the cheapest host can cost you a lot of money, not only to rebuild/move your website to a new host but also the impact on your SEO which you may have spent many hours and/or money on.
Opting for something you don't need, for example, WordPress over Wix or Squarespace could lead to you being frustrated with the monthly support costs that WordPress typically come with and decide to move to one of the platforms where you can make basic edits to your website yourself and there are no monthly retainers to pay. Again, this may save you money moving forward, you will experience the same impact on your SEO efforts and your domain ranking may suffer.
If you are after independent advice (many web developers are affiliated with the platforms and gain commission for promoting those brands) please feel free to book a free 15-minute call with me to have a quick chat about your business and which website host would be best suited for your long term goals. That one call could save you a lot of time, money and frustration down the road, I promise you!
Remember, from the minute you decide you give your idea a business name, from that moment on, everything you post online is 'marketing'. So basically from day 1, you are trying to build your brand.
A logo is an important part of your brand. It is so important that you get a professional logo done before you start posting to social media about your business or building a website. Yes, absolutely many businesses change their logo as they evolve, and those serious about their business undertake this as part of a rebranding exercise where it's generally more than just a logo change. But if you think of the biggest names out there, and look back on their logos, many of them haven't had significant changes to their logos over the years/decades. In most big brands there is at least one element that is consistent over the decades.
A lot of business owners start out by creating a logo themselves. Typically it's simply text using a font that they like. They may then update this a month or two later to include a shape, a flower, a wreath, or some other sort of non-text character. Some business owners I've seen have changed their logo 3 or 4 times in a year! How are you going to build brand awareness, trust and confidence in a business where the owner can't seem to figure what their brand is?
So pay a little more to work with a professional graphic designer/logo designer who you like the work of. Yes, it may cost more than that £20 or £30 logo designer you saw on social media, but you'll get something that will have been properly thought out with you and longer-lasting for your brand.
Training - or lack thereof
I know all too well that some business owners may be starting their business under less than ideal circumstances with very little budget with which to do everything it takes to set up a business.
When you become a business owner, it's likely there are going to be new responsibilities on your shoulders that you have never had experience with previously.
For some people that may be writing for marketing purposes, for example, the copy on your website.
For some, it may be using social media from a business perspective rather than a personal one. When you start a business as a sole trader or freelancer, you acquire several hats with the title of owner, including sales, marketing, accountant, writer, customer service rep etc.
But getting training early in your business journey can genuinely save you so much time, effort and money in the long run.
Not sure how to use social media to market your business? Yes, you could wing it and just post, but did you know that you should only post X number of times per day depending on which platform it is? For example on LinkedIn, posting once a day is sufficient. On Twitter, you need to post around 20 times a day! Do you know when the best time is to post to your chosen social media accounts?
Remember, training is a business expense providing it allows you to perform your role as a business owner better.
So if you have the budget for it, do consider taking some training courses aligned with your identified training needs.
Selfless plug! I provide training on several social media platforms and business tools.
If you are serious about your small business then you are going to have to spend some money to ensure you put your best foot forward right from the start. Creating a brand takes time and commitment, repairing a damaged brand because you've opted to do things you're not knowledgeable enough to tackle can have devastating consequences on your business. Whilst you will have to spend some money, making wise decisions early on in your startup process will save you so much money in the short to medium term and that expense will be rewarded with more clients and income.
I offer a free 15-minute Zoom consultation in which I listen to your business idea and make independent and impartial advice based on YOUR business plan. All I ask is that I be able to record the session and make it available on my online channels to give my audience insight into what these Discovery calls are for and that they are not an opportunity for me to try and sell you anything.
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