Monday, February 10, 2014
F is for Finance and for Facebook.
I must admit that one of the reasons I finally decided on a virtual business was for financial reasons - I already had a computer, printer and the internet! What more do you need? In the beginning, I couldn't even afford to pay for webhosting, so for a long time I used a freebie site, and I did ALL of my marketing online. I still do for the most part, and I've been running Typewrite Transcription since 2005.
Firstly, I created a website. I've been through various hosts, but currently (and to stay, as it's not a good idea to keep changing domain names) my website is at Typewrite Transcription. and even now, it's the only form of marketing I pay for on a regular basis. On an ad hoc basis, I do things like brochure drops - I did a barter agreement with one of the printing companies and had 5,000 brochures made, which the post office distributed into boxes for me at 10c a brochure.
I haven't had to lay out any capital to start the business. Obviously as years go by, you upgrade equipment, buy new things, etc, and as the business grows, you sub contract. I started out doing all my books myself, which I soon discovered wasn't a very good idea - I'm useless at accounting and maths and the greater complexities of SARS etc elude me. So I've outsourced that and the small monthly cost I pay is well worth it to have FIGG Excel Accounting Services do my books (So F is for Figg, too)
In a big way, F is for Facebook. When I first started my business in 2005, Facebook wasn't around. And when it did arrive, it wasn't for business. It was purely for interacting with friends and family. So it took me quite a while to get into Facebook. And soon after I did, business pages were introduced and I knew that this was a great opportunity to expand business. I created my own Facebook page, but it was with the creation of another page - one I did for a community project - that I realised the power of Facebook. With the use of that page, we turned the community from something negative into something great. The page grew and grew. And so I employed the same tactics on my own Facebook business page. I'd very much like you to go along and like it for me :-) So to new business owners, I'd almost say create your own Facebook page before your own website... it's about on a par. But - and there is a but to this - it's not about just creating the page and leaving it. Then it won't do anything. You have to be interactive on it. It is after all a social networking site. You have to learn who your audience are, engage with them, talk to them. It's a day to day thing - not a one day thing. For a while I offered social media marketing as one of the services I offer (the spawning of this industry is another thing we can thank Facebook for). It works for the clients who engage with me, tell me what they want on their pages - and engage with their pages themselves. If a client is not prepared to work with you or converse on their page themselves, it's not going to work. Because you have to intrinsically understand that page yourself in order to make it work.
Facebook is (and always will be, according to them) - free. So, to be honest, I don't understand why every single business isn't on there and interacting day to day. They should be.. of course the danger is that you have to be very disciplined and not get side tracked with all the other joys FB has to offer - the individual engagement with friends, the games, the staring at news articles and getting side tracked on other things. But.. F is most definitely for Facebook. It's in my opinion one of the biggest and most useful free resources we have.
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