Have you started a blog or small business and just don’t know how to get your ideas to the next level? Or do you feel like you’re off to a great start, but don’t know how to actually make money? Here at the Sandbox to Success Podcast, we want to help you take your home adventure or blog from a family affair to the business you dreamed of! In the time it takes you to get the kids ready for school, we’ll be teaching you the tips and tricks needed for success. Finding the info you need to succeed with your business can be difficult, but don’t worry! We’re here to help.
Here’s your host, Katrina M. Thom, from TotsBusiness.com and co-author of How To Start A Mom Blog!
Hey guy’s, it’s Katrina. On today’s episode, I’d like to talk to you briefly about the worst thing you could possibly do for your small business. That thing is ONLY having a Facebook page. You NEED to have your own website when you have a small business. It doesn’t matter WHAT industry you are in or how small your business is. People are always looking for you, and what you do. Without a website… they are never going to find you.
If you go to any of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), and search for something (example, a landscaping company in my home town) and your company ONLY has a Facebook page… I will most likely never find you. That’s because the search engine needs to have additional information to connect me (the searcher) to you (the company).
You should have a Facebook page to connect with your potential buyers or clients, but you shouldn’t ONLY have a Facebook page. One primary reason is that Facebook does NOT belong to you. Facebook owns the content, rules, regulations, terms and conditions, etc. They can shut you down at any given time, for any reason. It is a free service, so it’s very much their decision on what they will show and how they will operate.
When you own your own site, however, YOU have full control of what you post. When you post on social media, you can draw people back to your website. Your website is a place where people can come and know that they will ALWAYS find you. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not undermining the power of social media at all. It should be part of your strategy, BUT not your entire business. Another thing is if you have a brick and mortar type business, you want to show you in the big search engines as a physical location. When people search for you, your address will pop up! This is super helpful and super useful for you.
So you only have a Facebook…what do you do? Your first step is to find a domain. You need to be really careful to get a domain that is unique to you. If you use your name, or a If you are opening up a new business, you need to search and see if there is anyone with a name close to it.
A very quick story that happened to me in my very first small business. I opened it with zero business knowledge and picked a name that was cute to me. I was selling used cloth diapers. The domain name was available. I checked the trademark searched and there were no trademarks registered with the name. So I purchased the domain, ordered business cards, etc.
Two months later, I received an email from a company that sold new cloth diapers that had a similar name. We had a few overlapping terms in our domain name. They weren’t exactly alike, but they were similar enough that they asked me shut down due to trademark infringement. I couldn’t find their trademark registered, so I contacted a trademark company to see if this was true. He agreed that it was and that although they weren’t officially registered, they had rights to the name(s). That was something that I didn’t know and if you did not know that, that is very important
I had to change my business name. Luckily, I was only a few months in so there wasn’t a huge impact to the clients… but I had bought all those business cards, so that was an expense. I bought all those promotional materials, which was an expense. I had these domain names that I bought for numerous years… that was a cost that I lost. You need to make sure that the name you choose is unique to you and isn’t being used by anyone else.
The trademark lawyer also told me that any trademark lawyer should be able to assist you. Give them a list of about 3 or 4 options and the lawyer will be able to look through and knock them out, telling you what works and doesn’t… along with offering other trademark services you may need.
So the domain, that’s super important.
Now, let’s talk about websites. They don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can hire someone for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, but you don’t necessarily have to. Not all websites need to be complex. You can use a free service like WordPress if you understand a little about CSS and HTML, or Wix and Weebly if you’d like to use pre-made templates for a small monthly charge. These are not high-cost solutions. You can still have something you own and people can find you and always be able to connect with you, for a few dollars.
Everyone is looking online these days. Even my father, who’s in his 60s, looks online to search for car parts. He won’t find the little car supply shops and mechanics there…if they don’t have a website.
If you do not have a website or domain, do not make that mistake. You have to have presence. If you don’t… you’re not even in the running. Do not fail because people cannot find you. You have a valuable product and service… go out and make sure the world knows.
Until next week, please rate us on iTunes or Stitcher… give us a little bit of feedback. We love it. Thank you for tuning in this week.
Thanks for listening to the Sandbox to Success podcast, with your host: Katrina M. Thom. If you like what you just heard, leave us a message at iTunes or Stitcher. We would also love to hear what you have to say. Use the hash tag #totspodcast to connect with us on twitter. Don’t forget to check out the show notes, which can be found at www.totsbusiness.com. Join us next time for another edition of the Sandbox to Success podcast. Have an AWESOME day!