LAUNCH YOUR BUSINESS. PART 1: THE BASICS

 

Hopefully you have an idea for a business and now it's time to buy a domain name. Simple, short and memorable domain names work best. As you will soon learn, most good .com names are taken, so prepare to get creative if .com is what you want. Make sure that the domain name is easy to spell AND pronounce and that it doesn’t mean anything offensive in another language. Ideally, a domain name should not contain dashes and is not too long. Dot coms are better than .net, and .org should be used by non-profits. Country specific domain names also have their advantage depending on your business so research pros & cons. Godaddy.com is a popular place for registering domain names.

   

A simple website can be set-up in a matter of hours (check out cakecompetition.com which we set-up in 4 hours!) All you need is your domain name (about $7 a year) and hosting (~$50 a year). If you want to design a sample website yourself, Wix or Wordpress are popular platforms. We recently saw a friend using Strikingly to launch an Tutoring Site, it came out great!. You can also find a designer on elance.com or hire us.

   

You can use elance.com or 99designs.com for a professional logo. On a tight budget? Use fiverr.com and spend $5 on a simple logo! You can also use fiverr.com for cool & cheap graphics for your website. 9AMConsulting does logos as well, check out a few here >

   

Using Yahoo or Hotmail is not professional as your main e-mail account, yet many small companies still do. Be sure to set-up your e-mail address on your domain name.  And also be sure that your emails are not going to spam folders. Test your email account deliverability by sending emails to a few accounts on @yahoo,  @gmail etc. Bonus points: Set-up your business address through Google Business Solutions for about $50 a year.

   

Operate your business on the go, by setting-up your business e-mail account on your smart phone.

   

Setup your business signature which should include your title, phone number and company URL. Need to setup your out of the office? Most entreprenuers are never out of the office :)

   

 

After you register your domain name, be sure to claim Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media account names before others do. If they are not available, consider adding on a word after the name, for example “official”, “shop” or city name “nyc”.

   

If you are in the US, you can order cheap business cards from Vistaprint or e-print.com.hk if you are in Hong Kong. You can find a 90% off coupon if you seach for VistaPrint coupons on Google.

   

To save money on long distance calls, setup Skype. Bonus points: Upgrade your Skype account to have your own number. You can even use a local number in another country. Learn about Skype numbers.

   

So many people shy away from letting their network know about their new business. If you are serious about your business, let everyone know! Also update your LinkedIn profile. Don’t have one? Sign-up! Bonus points: be prepared to explain your business in one short sentence in case you happen to be in the elevator with someone important.

 

 

Do a celebration dance! The basics are done. Ready for more? Go to Optimize Your Website (coming soon!)