Now, I want to make this clear from the offset, the aim of this week’s blog is to put your mind at ease and shed light on some of the potentially scary aspects of starting out in business. Tomorrow may be Halloween but we want to make your startup go smoothly and without a bump (in the night) so will share with you some top tips for keeping the reaper away from your business!
Like being a young child, every experience is new when you are a start-out business. You can do so much to prepare but like learning to crawl, walk and run, it takes time to perfect a process and you will have some hairy moments to contend with along the way. But all these experiences are there to be learned from and will make you stronger. But for today we will look at the potential pitfalls and remedies that small business face and how to prevent any nasty surprises.
Know your product
Firstly, you must know your product. By this I don’t just mean what it does or what it is made of but how it is unique, better than others, more affordable or even revolutionary. A lot of start up businesses underestimate their competitors and the loyalty of their competitors’ customers, so in order to give yourself a clear grasp of where you should position yourself in the market you need to be clear of what differentiates you so that your new customers can also be clear. Knowing your product inside out and showing passion for a product will stand you in good stead and see you go far but it’s not going to benefit the purchaser, you need to tell them how your product will solve their “problem”. In Marketing these are call USPs; or Unique Selling Points, and the same one is not going to be desired by every type of customer although they will all want the same result – to be treated and not tricked…
… I am sure you have already guessed this next one; you need to know your customer. Here is a quick “check list” of things you should be asking yourself:
Who are your target customers and why?
What makes you think this is the right audience?
Is there demand?
How best will you reach them?
What is their motivation for using you?
What are the customers willing to pay?
Can you answer/action all these questions and still make money?
Which brings me onto my next point… Know your budget!
Know your budget
Quite simply this is your lifeline and must be treated like garlic, holy water and silver bullets – never deplete it! Yes we all want to be as big as McDonalds or Coca Cola but it takes time; don’t over extend yourself financially in your infancy and make sure to live within your means.
There is no point rushing in and doing a TV advert because lots of people will see it if you don’t have the basics in place; you need to establish yourself first. There are lots of small businesses out there that utilise creative marketing, use good agencies and local support to maximise their budgets and make their marketing work for them but they will have a marketing plan which outlines a clear route of activity and spending – do you?
Obviously my next point is ‘have a plan’
Have a plan
This is the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of a plan:
I’m not going to dwell on this as I have already done a few blogs about the importance of having a marketing plan; all of which can be found in the blog archive, but if you want to make sure that yours is going to work for you and includes the fundamentals then we are more than happy to look over it and offer some advice.
As I said right at the very beginning, the aim of this week’s blog is to put your mind at ease and shed light on some of the potentially scary aspects of starting out in business, and you will make mistakes, choices and decisions that you will have to learn from but it is how you learn from them and move forward that counts. Learning all the time is so crucial to new and young businesses as you adapt as it very often takes years to achieve success. Businesses aren’t built in a few weeks, it takes time to develop a market, a customer base, a clear market position and to grow organically. (That was my Jerry Springer ‘final thought’)
There, are you suitably eased? Or maybe you’re suitably terrified? Either way Début Marketing can offer you some tips no matter what stage you are at with your business.
OK next week (providing I make it out of my ghost walk on Saturday alive and sane) I am going to talk about measuring the cost effectiveness of your marketing.