Unless you are a marketing or advertising expert, one of the most difficult and expensive issues for a small business owner is how to handle those tasks. This is a crucial issue for a start up and one a potential business owner must figure out before opening a new business.
No matter how great your product(s) or service(s) are, your business won't be successful if people don't know you exist which is why marketing and advertising is so important for a start up. If your new business is service based and your overhead and personal needs are minimal, then you may be able to get away with organic growth and word-of-mouth advertising. For everyone else, you need to have a solid marketing plan which should involve some expert advice.
The marketing plan is part of most business plans and the more detailed, the better. Who is your target market? How will you find them? How will they find you? Will you have a storefront? Does the location fit your target market? Do you need a ecommerce website? Who will develop it for you? What kind of promotional materials do you need? Have you developed a comprehensive brand? These are all questions a start up needs to answer and hiring an expert to guide you is recommended so you don't make mistakes.
Once you have your plan developed, you will want to track the results. You should be asking every customer/client/prospect how they found you and track this information on a spreadsheet or database or CRM program so you know what is working and what is not. Marketing and advertising will always require some trial and errors but tracking results will eliminate a repeat of the errors.
Starting up a new business is usually expensive and many entrepreneurs try to reduce costs by doing it themselves. Skimping on advertising and marketing can be a mistake unless you have the working capital and time to grow your new business slowly. Get some bids from your marketing consultants and make sure you have a good fit with whoever you select.
Like most of our previous posts regarding how to successfully launch a small business, the key to successful advertising and marketing is planning and tracking. A successful entrepreneur plans carefully, tracks the numbers, data, metrics and adapts accordingly. Even though many people dislike this part of running a small business, it is a key to success.