Organizing and starting a business? I thought I’d jot down what I’ve learned in my experience so far about how to quickly grow it, and the sites that I’ve found to help the most. Best of all? The stuff is free. If you have more ideas, add them in the comments below.
Content Publishing – Whatever you do, it’s important to be a subject matter expert. It’s a way for you to learn, and for others to learn about you. The best way I’ve found is exactly what I’m doing right now, blogging.
Begin creating and publishing content on a blogging platform like WordPress or Blogger. Setup is quick and after your done writing you push the content through social news sites like eZine and Digg, as well as to your social media network like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you don’t want to do your own blog maybe you could write for a popular one in your area of expertise. If you REALLY want to keep it simple then just make your rounds on existing blogs and comment on other popular articles. Readers will see your activity and notice your interest. An old Y-combinator alum, Backtype is a good tool for this.
Social Media – This is a no-brainer, and obviously a big deal now. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. Social tools are great to network to those who may be interested in a specific subject. Create accounts in each of the three big networks (see above) and use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to publish your content to like minded, interested people. You will be a subject matter expert in no time. If youre really stretching for other social networks to utilize you can try Ning, or find one in your particular subject matter.
Web Marketing – A lot has been made about SEO marketing over the last seven years. My take: Don’t spend too much time on this. Create a simple effective strategy and stick with it. Making little tweaks are ok, but your time is much more effective building your business through sales and other things. Still, I’ve added a few tools below that can help this process a bit.
I use all three of these site analytics tool because they do different things and give a great overall concept of where your site stands with other sites on the web. I use Hubspot to analyze my site every six months or so. Its quick, easy and catches any big issues like 401 redirects or anything that you may have overlooked. Google Webmaster Tool is also great to see where you are coming up organically in the in keyword rankings and for which words. Last, but certainly not least, Google Analytics gives you traffic and visitor statistics to follow trends and see what is working best to drive traffic to your site.
Here are a couple other ideas to organize yourself and make the workload a bit easier:
Outsourcing – Chances are that you will not be able to do all this yourself. Usually it’s a time or expertise constraint. So find someone to help you. Need an outsourced virtual assistant? Or need just one project done? Either way, sites like eLance and Odesk are great to use. Warning: It will take some time to find good people, and further to figure out the best strategy for them to help you. Expect a learning curve.
Communication – Project management is important in the organization process, particularly if people are helping you. Basecamp is a great tool, and is flexible enough to be used in almost any type of project. I use the paid account to manage multiple projects, keep my personal life organized as well. Still for those who aren’t ready to pay, Basecamp offers a free account to start that will certainly fulfill your requirements for communication and organization starting out. Skype or another instant messaging tool is also a great free tool to enhance communication.
Hopefully this included some new things you hadn’t thought of or shed some new light on existing ideas you may have already had. Either way, the best thing to do is to “ready, fire, aim”…meaning just get started today!