While starting up your own business can seem daunting, there are many benefits to doing so. I started up my osteopathic clinic four-and-a-half years ago and have never looked back. With a five-month-old in tow, a change in life circumstances meant I took the plunge into the unknown and just went for it.
Here are some tips on how to start a business:
1. Have a decent website
Personally I use Wix (wix.com). There are a million different website templates for you to choose from, where you can upload your own images, logo, content and so forth. It is very simple to use, by simply dragging your item and dropping it into place. Wix is also mobile friendly, which is key in this day and age. Most of us use our phones for browsing the internet. Wix has a computer then mobile icon where you can see both formats and alter accordingly.
Whether you sell items, run a clinic, or offer a service; write a blog. Google likes new content; a blog does this, and is simple to do. This could be on your latest item for sale and its benefits, a health blog, or the latest tips and tricks. Make it relevant to your business. Also, make sure you write it in a style your reader can understand, without too many technical terms. For my blog I pick a health topic or condition and then write about it, its causes, ways to self-manage, and how osteopathy can help. It does not have to be long, just well-written and easy to understand. My website always has the most number of new hits around when I post blogs. I try writing a blog every 1-2 weeks.
3. Service engine optimisation (SEO words)
For this I recently employed Matt from Mars Digital to help me, as I felt it really needed to be done right, especially as most patients find me through a Google search or word of mouth. SEO words refer to the terms people put into Google to find your business. This is also called an ‘organic search’, compared to Google ad words, which I will come to soon. For me, my main targets are ‘North Shore osteopath’, ‘pregnancy osteopath’, ‘Milford osteopath’ and ‘Takapuna osteopath’.
4. Register your business on Google my business
By adding your business to Google, you can track your website use and add your business to Google Maps which will also appear in ‘organic’ Google searches. When you add your business to Google Maps you will be sent a verification code to be put into Google My Business. You edit the business to include your opening hours, contact details, physical location and can upload photos of your physical premises and so on.
5. Social media
We all have a love-hate relationship with social media. There are many benefits to social media and business. I suggest setting up a Facebook and Instagram account. These can be linked, so when you upload a photo or video to Instagram it uploads it to Facebook for you. Canva.com is a great website to make social media content on. You can use one of their templates, change the colours, fonts, and upload your own images. You can make Facebook posts or Instagram posts, which means they are the correct dimensions.
6. Vlog (Video log)
Google also loves videos. At first I found this rather confronting, as I was a bit camera shy. But videos posted to both my social media and website have the greatest hits. I use my Macbook and the video function on Photobooth, so not technical at all. Once I have made the video I use the iMovie programme on my laptop. I keep the videos brief, with me demonstrating a stretch or exercise. Again, this keeps it relevant to my business.
7. Have professional photos taken
Rather than stealing photos off Google, which is illegal, take the time to have professional photos taken. This can be used for your website, flyers, or social media and so forth. Nothing looks better than a professional image. I use mine for my website, blog, social media, flyers and so on.
Words: Sarah Boughtwood, Osteopath Milford / Milford Natural Health clinic:50 East Coast Rd, Milford. ACC Registered