In this blog post, I am going to unleash some cheat codes for all those looking to go out on their own and test their risk adversity.
First and foremost, if you are risk adverse, don't do it alone. Find someone, anyone to help limit some of your risk. You will thank me later. Less stress and more heads are always better than you banging your head off your keyboard.
TECHNOLOGY/ SEO for Small Business
SEO is where it all starts.
Technology can be your bestfriend and worst friend at the same time. Depending on what you are doing, limiting the subscriptions to services in the beginning is suggested. When The PROUD was started, Social Media was a thing, SEO wasn't. SEO was a bunch of code floating in the ether, it was there, but who really cared. Now, SEO is as, if not more, important that a good Social Media Strategy. You could be taking pictures of Chocolate Cake as your business, but without a strong SEO, no one will find you in order for you to take pictures of the cake.
So if, I was able to rewind the clock back to 2017, I would have invested in learning more about SEO as it was emerging. I spend countless hours at the computer and my website trying to teach myself coding and learning how to use the Google Console in order to make sure google can/and how it sees my website. Knowing what your competitors are doing and what keywords they are using is also very important. SEMRUSH is awesome for this. We will get to this in a bit. Struggling with the SEO, I used CHAT GTP, ya ya I know. To tell me what the best SEO tools for small business are. Up popped something that made me curious. Screaming Frog SEO Spider. So I did a Trust Pilot search to make sure it was legit and downloaded the Free Desktop App. When I inputted my website, seeing it report all the errors, broken code, lack of security, broken links, important pages not indexed or with the proper URL Slugs. It was heated first, but then I realized that sometimes Technology can be your friend. For the Do-It-Yourselfers, I strongly suggest downloading the Screaming Frog, it will help point you in the right direction and identify the issues with your site. Best of all it is free! Find it here: www.screamingfrog.co.uk
After taking care of your own site, understanding what your competition is doing and using is important. SEM RUSH is amazing for this. It will provide you reports on what keywords you share with your competition and the volume of those keywords. You can also analyze your keywords as well. It is great for a large market segment that has a lot of people searching different things. You can definitely hone in on some high value keywords that others are not using. That will set you apart in a fast way. Gone are the days when you were a Legal Recruiter, all you had to put in your website what that you were a legal recruiter and hope people searched for that term on google. If you live under a rock and have never heard of SEM Rush, you can find it here: www.semrush.com
I know I might take some flak for this last one, but CHAT GPT, can be useful when you use it properly. Typing in "Tell me how to make a million dollars in 10 days" isn't going to yield a lot of fruitful results. But, If you told Chat GPT "Please act as my CFO and tell me how my company should invest $10,000 into its operation that will be most effective to a long term growth strategy that will see the Company hit $1,000,000 in sales in the next 6 months?" Well you might get some really useful ideas. When I am stuck for copy and need a quick idea, CHAT GPT can definitely provide some really strong building blocks. Listen Chat GPT, is not going to solve your problems but is can definitely help with providing enough information for you to build a solution from.
If I were to start this business today, there are a few things that I would have done differently. Technology being one of the biggest factors. Here is the top 5 things I would have done differently utilizing today's technology.
Get SEM RUSH. Now, it is a bit expensive for some, but, if you get yourself a free trial and work quickly, you can probably get 60-70% of the way there. Analyze your competitors thoroughly, where are they getting their backlinks from and check out those sources, you will want to make certain that they are reputable and high value. Next find out the Keywords they are using. Some of your competitors will have hundreds if not thousands of them. So stick to a Top 20-30 if your business is the same. Take each of those terms and put them into google and let google auto-fill and note what the auto fill is. You are also going to want to build that into to your keyword strategy. Now you are ready to build out your content.
CHAT GPT. I would take the Key word research and start to build out the copy of my website using CHAT GPT to insert the keywords into the copy so that you are relaying that through your website.
After you have built your website, you will want to download Screaming Frog to analyze your site and make certain that everything is working and fix any issues.
Utilize Google Search Console to test your site's performance, use Google Analytics to test your sites functionality, readability and user experience and finally if you have attempted to use any code, test it at Rich Results. They are all free and Google based, so if your are getting positive information from them, your search traffic should be good.
Finally, I would have hired someone who knew all of this stuff to do it and it would have saved me months. This is painstaking work that can be frustrating and unapologetic. Sometimes the $500 to $1,000 investment is worth your time to focus on the business.
IN THE EYES OF A TIRED SMALL BUSINESS OWNER
In conclusion, my Advice on Technology is simple "It can be your best friend and worst friend" So know your limitations and when your time is better spent on expanding your business and focusing on the day to day rather than the back end stuff that you would have learn on your own.
If you are still going to go through with it, "WELCOME" to the Entrepreneurial and Small Business Community. Everyone here, as long as you aren't competing with them (even if you are and they are nice) will have no problem sharing their struggles and what worked and didn't work.
Check back soon for where I will discuss Finance