First off, kudos for taking a leap of faith and making the decision to start your own small business. Some may think it looks easy, but starting a small business or start-up is not an easy task.
PERFECT MARKETING MASH-UP
You must find the perfect marketing mash-up before you even leave the gates running like:
- What is your product or service
- What is the price point for your goods
- Where can one get access to your product or service
- Where will you market your product your goods
On average, 9 out of 10 startups will go out of business because they lack, vision and budget mastery (Forbes).
- Vision – A small business needs to be able to foresee their desired future and proactively have a long-term plan for the business, growth and next steps
- Budgeting – Another big hurdle to closely monitor is working to be efficient with managing finances. When you have budget constraints and you’re fighting the clock, you have to be Christ-like and figure how to multiply two loaves and five fish to fuel and feed your business for the long-haul.
KNOW YOUR TARGET
Now, even with your mash-up set and ready to go, and a realistic understanding of your pros and cons your business is up against, the most important part of the of small business strategy is still missing. And that’s the people aka your “TARGET AUDIENCE(s).
You can have the the best product in the world, but if you don’t have an audience or a customer to purchase your goods, then you just have a good idea. And plenty of dreamers had good ideas. Understanding who could buy your goods and why can help you have a better understanding of when and how they make this decision.
IMPORTANCE OF PRIORITZING CUSTOMER NEEDS
I have worked in the advertising and marketing industry for over 10 years and one big mistake I have seen time and time again from multi-million dollar companies still is not always thinking about the customer needs first. My forte is customer relationship marketing (CRM) which is a term that refers to building strategies and technologies for clients that you can use to better understand your customer interactions with your brand throughout the customers’ lifecycle. CRM’s ultimate goal is improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth overtime.
Again it all goes back to understanding your current audience or pre-determining the most likely audiences to talk to. This helps to ensure when you finally communicate with them, the messages are focused and tell the targeted customer exactly what they need to hear to be persuaded to buy your product.
Existing Small Businesses
If you already have a business and products and services you are marketing, and have a current customer base, then you can leverage them to be a model for future customers. Modeling simply defined is a process that helps predict the probability of how people will react to your communications based on set parameters.
You can utilize collected data from your existing customer base to understand who has already bought your products, what they look like (i.e. how much they make, gender, where they live, etc…) and what reasons they bought your products. Once you have this info, you can use it in marketing channels online (social media, pay-per-click ads, emails, etc…) and offline (direct mail, print, brochures, etc…) to target and find new customers with similar traits that are probably more likely to feel the same way about your products.
New Small Businesses
If you are still in the planning phase of your start-up then you have a different opportunity to helps predict the probability of how people will react to your communications. You can do testing to have customers help you determine the best methods to reach them and provide access to your products, doing some guerrilla marketing and taking it to the streets to get first hand experience and feedback with your products. Even having the opportunity to collect testimonials along the way to use for later.
And then just like the existing small business, you can use that info to properly plan out the most efficient way to invest your time and money into your brand.
ONLY THE BEGINNING
This is only the beginning of the journey, but starting it off right or course correcting in the early stages can help to ensure your small business or start-up gets off on the right track. So get out there and get to know your customers and keep hustling.