Starting a new business is a hard job.
Make no mistakes about it – there will be obstacles to overcome.
But getting it off the ground isn’t impossible.
From building Web1on1 (our Live Chat Service Provider) we learnt that there are 3 initial key steps which if executed are the pathway to success.
And we want to share those steps with you.
We started as two guys with an itch to start something, and after six years and the addition of 200 colleagues, the business has grown to seven figures in yearly revenue and has spread across 7 European countries.
So here it goes.
We’re gonna share those 3 first key steps with you.
As well as how we did it and how anyone with time and a lot of effort can do the same.
Because we hope to inspire and help build this industry.
We want partners who utilise our platform, ChatShipper, to build the business they’ve always known they could.
And, if executed correctly, The following three steps are the pathway to an excellent business venture.
Step 1: Convince the critical mass
The first question you’ll have to answer is what is a managed live chat or messaging service?
Well, I’m sure you’re familiar with the communication channel of live chat or Web chat on websites.
But have you ever thought about who is on the other side?
Most large companies will have their own staff answering chats. But what if you are an SMB and your Web traffic is not enough to have your own employees answer chats? Then outsourcing live chat is a solution worth considering.
Live chat service providers or managed chat providers do just that.
So there is your business model.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Well it is, but you must convince a critical mass of pilot customers first.
So that is step number one.
Launch as early as possible
Talking about a business you WANT to start is quite different from successfully starting a business.
So my advice: focus and move fast.
In our case, it only took us three months to go from an idea to tangible revenue.
OK, why focus?
Well, focusing means you’re pushing yourself to find a niche market. In our case: realtors.
You must choose one that is close to your passion and experience.
Next is pitching your idea to your prospects.
Your prospect list is probably substantial (it should be since you would want to serve a substantial market).
So who do you pick?
Focus on identifiable entrepreneurs within your target group. They can identify with your challenge of starting a business, and they can appreciate the risk-taking.
Cold-call them and appeal to their curiosity by asking for feedback on your new business venture.
Then, set an appointment for an online meeting (GoToMeeting, Join.Me, etc.) and deliver your pitch.
About the pilot period
The advantages of selling pilot-participation are plenty.
First, it implicitly states you don’t have all the answers yet.
It allows room for error.
And you don’t have to set finite pricing. Again, this period is about learning on both sides.
Your critical mass
How many pilot customers do you need? Read all about it in this post (link somewhere here?). It will help you make some crucial choices.
Now you know your target and how much is needed to launch, it’s time to dig in and earn their trust.
Step 2: Onboarding your chat agents
But do this only after you are 100% positive about acquiring your critical pilot customer mass.
Spoiler alert: You will need to spend some time recruiting your staff.
Since your initial shifts add up to 250 hours a month, you will need to hire roughly 10 agents, assuming each agent works two four-hour shifts per week.
To help ensure you onboard the right people, here are some tips on how we built out our agent team.
Step 3: Setting your clients up for success
Once you have closed deals with your pilot customers and recruited and trained your agent team, only one last step remains – technical onboarding.
In other words, activation of the chat widget on your client website and configuring their accounts in ChatShipper.
The latter consists of three elements:
- Collecting information on your client’s business (referred to as know-how).
- Connecting the messaging channel.
- Preparing to ensure the correct delivery of the chat conversation to your client.
Oh, and you don’t want to forget to add your chat agents via ChatShipper.
I understand if this sounds a bit vague at this point, but not to worry, we will guide you through the entire process. That’s what we’re here for.
There you have it. Everything you need to start a successful chat center in a matter of a few months.
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact ChatShipper at any time.