Starting up a new business is hard. It takes a lot of work and a great deal of preparation and research. The best ideas in the world, and the most skillful tradespeople, craftsmen, artisans, service providers, and product sellers, still require determination, skill and tenacity to evolve into functional and successful businesses. Even if a business has no word of mouth from previous customers, it is still essential to commit to online reputation marketing from the get-go. Why? In one word – presence. It only takes one review from one of the very first customers to get the ball rolling and that’s far more important than making some of the more common and avoidable online marketing mistakes.

Practically every new business struggles with cash-flow. There’s no money coming in, so start-up capital is either saved or borrowed. After negotiating all the beginning steps – registering a new business at the New Zealand Companies Office, ensuring that tax compliance will be dealt with, purchasing tools, perhaps setting up a shop or manufacturing location, contracting designers for logos, vehicle signage and branding – well, it’s easy to see that a lot of money will be spent before the first customer comes through the door, purchases a product, or engages a business’ services.

And there’s the rub. A new business will spend many thousands or tens of thousands of dollars before working out the most crucial question. How to attract customers? – the lifeblood of every business. Now a new business owner may think it’s best to rely on marketing methods that someone has told them – like forking out huge money for Google Adwords. Well, that’s going to be a very hard sell. A new business has no back story, no reputation, no consideration from satisfied past customers. Spending precious dollars on an online hail Mary is not the smartest play. Especially not when the proposition is hollow. Paying to be seen online – with a brand spanking new website that is self generated and self promoting, will not come close to realising a return on investment. Marketing a reputation will and then some some – even if that reputation is at its very beginning.

Every new business owner needs to know what consumers are looking for and to position their business to be seen and chosen. That’s reviews – and more importantly – reviews from third party review sites that verify and authenticate their reviews. As I said previously, it only takes one review from one customer to begin and that review is as valuable as paid for clicks on Google.

While there are many traditional marketing methods that do not work so well in this digitally ubiquitous world, some are still worthwhile for attracting the very first customers for a new business. Family and friends are an ideal resource for spreading the word about your business and its services or products. They will be motivated and encouraging and will want to be helpful – bringing a few new customers. While the return on fliers through mailboxes is very low, it only takes a few converted customers to get things started.

Signing up to an authenticated review platform while working to increase a customer base will mean that when the first reviews come in they will take on a life of their own where over 95% of your potential customers are looking – online. It is a mistake to think the two are mutually exclusive and failing to register with online review sites will only prolong the difficult first stages of business when customers are as rare as hen’s teeth.

To learn more about the ways NoCowboys can help your business – no matter what stage it’s at – go here