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The Business Checklist from a College Senior

by Hope Joy Owens

My name is Hope Joy Owens, and I will be graduating from Mississippi College this May with a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing and a minor in Computer Science. I love strategy, and I am interested in strategically starting a business one day that will allow me to promote the Good News of Jesus. (On that note, I cannot mention this separate topic without providing a resource for further investigation. The link will take you to my website that explains the best story a person could ever come to learn.)

As I previously stated, I love strategy, and, from hours of listening to business lectures and personal observations, I have gathered a list of basics (regarding marketing) that I believe every business should consider, especially if there is the goal of growing in the future.

#1 Mission, Goals, and Objectives - Define, Adapt, and Follow

  • Define: In the world of business, each of these have different meanings. I do not have the time to expand on the definitions of each of these, but, in order for your business to be successful in accomplishing your hopes and dreams, you should take the time to investigate.

  • Adapt: Typically, the mission statement rarely changes. However, goals and objectives will change over time. According to the definitions, objectives should be regularly redefined. They are the steps to achieving your goals. As for your goals, these are made in order to achieve your mission. They do not change as often as objectives, but they still need attention as your company and the world around you evolves.

  • Follow: When you have taken the time to appropriately define these three things, it would be wise to follow them. This applies to finances, marketing, communications, operations, etc.

#2 Target Market and Competitive Advantage

  • Clearly define your target market and competitive advantage(s) and keep it in mind for every decision you make, especially if it is communications or marketing related.

#3 Consistency - Branding

  • Your marketing and your PR should be consistent all across the board. It should also follow suit with your mission, goals, and objectives. Hiring a marketing firm (shoutout to Mansell Media) can take this important and ongoing task off your hands.

  • Logo: You should have a logo, and it should be simple enough for that small circle icon you see as profile pictures on social media. With that being said, all your profile pictures on social media and documentation should have that same logo.

  • Colors & Fonts: Just like your logo should be present on all online platforms and anything you print, your colors and fonts should be consistent as well. To define your color scheme, the best step to take is to create a color palette and record the hex codes. In determining your colors, you should not only think about your personal preferences, but also of your target market and competition.

  • Design: A big tip I have to simplify things is to create a brand kit on Canva. At Mansell Media, we do this for our clients. If you are not familiar with Canva, you have to create an account and have a premium plan in order to create this brand kit that I am referring to.

#4 Social Media

  • I have basically grown up on social media, and I am confident in saying this is something your business needs to take seriously. Social media needs to be run consistently and handled well. 

  • The Essentials: In most cases, I recommend your business to be on LinkedIn and Facebook. However, this heavily depends on your target market.

  • LinkedIn: If your company ever desires to be in contact with business professionals, you need to be on LinkedIn. 

  • It also is a great place to find new hires. As a college student, I can confidently say that every student in Mississippi College’s Business School is heavily encouraged to be on LinkedIn. My friends in the Communication department and even at other colleges are also obligated to do so.

  • Facebook and Instagram: Facebook statistically has more users than any other social media platform. In case you were not previously aware, Meta has simplified the process of posting to these two separate platforms by allowing users to schedule simultaneously to both. If you are on one of these platforms, you might as well be on the other.

  • Tiktok: This platform for businesses only works if the business has content that is appealing to younger generations. If your business wants to engage with a younger audience, posting short videos that are insightful and entertaining/interesting to Tiktok would be a great option.

  • Youtube: If you are already creating and posting videos to any other social media platform, you might as well upload to Youtube as well.

  • X (formerly Twitter): Personally, I have a hard time understanding why businesses are trying to find customers on X. However, it would be easy to share the content you are already posting to Facebook/Instagram to X as well in order to reach a potentially different market.

#5 Online Ads

  • On the topic of social media, you can pay for online ads.

  • The main platforms for this are Google and Facebook. LinkedIn also provides businesses the option to pay for advertising. If you are on Facebook or LinkedIn, consider promoting what you already are posting.

  • Which one should I choose? This depends on your industry and your advertising budget. Depending on the industry your business is in, it may be wise to allocate more resources to a specific platform.  Moreover, it is relatively cheap to advertise online. Both Facebook and Google will give you recommendations on your budget (typically to raise them). This would be a good topic to discuss with your in-house marketing team or a marketing firm like Mansell Media.

#6 Website

  • Not every single business needs a website, but many businesses need to have one. It is not hard to build one yourself if you are technologically inclined. I discovered the world of website building platforms in highschool and learned the software on my own. However, it is common to outsource (again, shoutout to Mansell Media).

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