You have the licenses in place, your office or retail storefront is filled with supplies and products, and you are ready to open your business up to potential customers. These are large obstacles to overcome in starting a business, but are you really done with the creation and construction of your business? Most people starting with a new business are under the false impression that once the business pieces are in place and the doors are open, business construction is complete. Here is the business and the customers will come. This, however, could not be farther from the truth. This is where, as a business owner, you are now entering the time, where in fact, construction of your business really begins.
A business can have the most amazing products or services, ones that could be of great benefit to millions, but if, as a business owner, you do not look at your business as a constant construction site, those millions will never know. This is one of the reasons we see so many short lived businesses, closing their doors not long after opening. The idea of ‘build it and they will come’ is just not that easy. Starting and growing a business that will succeed depends heavily on your construction team, with the biggest member of that team being in the area of marketing.
To look at your business in terms of construction, you can see such things as the licenses, office buildings or storefronts, supplies, and your products as your foundation. They create the solid base to build on – the support for your business. In that same train of thought, you must look at marketing as your walls, doors, windows, and roof. Without these items in place, there is no business, and without marketing in place, the same holds true. Your marketing plan must be a part of your initial business blueprint in order to succeed.
In creating this blueprint, you need to begin with deciding who your target market is going to be. For example, if your product line is dog sweaters and accessories, your target market would obviously be pet owners. However, that creates a very large market and one that could be narrowed down specifically to dog owners most likely to purchase outfits for their pet. It is very important when starting a new business to determine exactly where your marketing dollars should be spent, and having this detailed target market enables you to utilize your budget where it will be most effective.
The next step in your business blueprint is making sure that you ‘brand’ your business. You must create an image or logo that is easily identifiable with your business and the product you represent. This brand must then be followed through in every aspect of your business, be it your website, business cards, letterhead, or any other marketing tool. The average consumer needs to see that brand numerous times before they recognize it and will feel comfortable purchasing from you. Having your brand on everything related to your company makes sure that there is never any question as to who you are and what you represent.
Once your brand is in place, you must then look at which marketing avenues are going to be most beneficial for your business. In this day and age, the internet is a huge tool to use for marketing, and for most businesses a website is a must. However, if you are a small business catering only to local customers in your community, then a full webpage may not be needed. If this is the case, having something like a Facebook business page may be all that is needed to create an internet presence. Facebook can be an amazing tool for any business, and should you have a website, creating a Facebook business page is also recommended. In this day and age, where so many people are using Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date on each other, it becomes a valuable tool for businesses to keep their customers up to date on current specials and much more. Social Media is becoming a must for any business looking to expand their customer base. The benefit of Facebook is that there is no cost, so it can be a wonderful tool for businesses without a large budget for marketing. However, even though there is no monetary cost, in order to run an effective social media campaign, you must be willing to invest the time to really make it work for you.
Business cards are also a must have investment for any new business. They are a fantastic way to spread the word of your business and the products you offer, as well as a great way to meet potential business contacts. The key to business cards, however, is to make sure they don’t just sit in a drawer collecting dust. You need to get out there and make those cards work for you. When it comes to your business cards, following the 10-Card Rule is a great place to start. At the beginning of your day, make sure you have 10 business cards on you at all times, with the goal of giving those cards out and meeting 10 new people each day. Not only is this a way to get your cards and business information out there, but it is a great way to personally connect with potential customers. Anyone from the cashier at the grocery store to a neighbor you run into, make sure you are introducing yourself and your business and make those cards work for you.
These are just a few good ways to start your marketing construction, but the key is to always remember that you can never just sit back and wait for customers to come. Not every business owner, however, is cut out for marketing. Should you find that regardless of your efforts, you are not bringing in the customers you are looking for; it may be time to find a company specializing in marketing. Do not look at this as a failure on your part. Your role as a business owner is finding the best tools to make your business grow, and if a marketing firm is needed, than that is the tool you need. Your business is a never ending construction site, and you must continue to use whatever tools you can to make your business grow and succeed.