There are seemingly countless considerations and concerns about getting your startup off the ground and started in the right direction. You have to be experienced and knowledgeable in your industry, and ideally, you should be passionate about what you do. You will need to develop a realistic, profitable business model and find investors or funding from other sources. If your business is not going to be based from home, you must also identify and secure the right location.
These are just a few of the initial factors which must be decided on and established before you can get your startup going in earnest, but it is also prudent to determine whether or not there is actually a market for your business. Additionally, it is never too early to begin marketing your new company, as you will need to begin bringing in potential business even before the doors are ever opened. Effective initial marketing strategies can also be used to create a buzz about the upcoming company and create a solid foundation for your target audience right out of the gates.
Unfortunately, while you may be an experienced authority in your specific industry or field, you may not necessarily be an expert in marketing your new company. With all of the countless responsibilities and duties of your new endeavor, an effective initial marketing plan could be one of the most critical elements in your success. The following are a few of the key components of which any such plan will consist.
This is a common marketing term that sounds more complex than it actually is, and a situation analysis is essentially a snapshot of your new company. It is an overview of who you are, what you provide and what is unique about your business.
While it is intended to be a general overview, your analysis should focus the strengths and weaknesses of your business and how you relate to your competition. For instance, the situation analysis for a new dance club in South Beach Miami would need to determine their unique selling points and what would make them stand out from the many popular establishments in the area.
While the situation analysis is about determining who you are, this step is about determining who you hope to reach. Establishing your target audience is one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of any successful marketing plan. You must have a solid grasp of who would be interested in your services and what your potential customer would look like.
It is usually helpful to separate your target audience by demographics including gender, age, geographic location and other defining characteristics. As you progress further along, you will be able to narrow things down more specifically, but you need to have at least a basic construct for your target customer before moving forward. For example, a creative chalkboard company like VersaChalk might initially define their market as small businesses, but as they grow, they could begin to specify restaurants, event planners or even home collections.
Any solid plan needs to have clearly defined goals. This may seem pretty straightforward, but you need to lay out your goals as specifically as possible from the start. This way, you will have a benchmark by which to measure the success of your strategies and implement changes when necessary.
Generally, the part that nobody likes to deal with, the budget is what causes many entrepreneurs to pull their hair out and tear up the whole plan. But it is something that must be addressed, and your budget should be as clearly defined and realistic as your marketing goals.
The specifics of your budget can always be adjusted later if necessary, but you should allocate a certain amount and stick with it for a while, even if it does not show immediate returns. Create a detailed outline of which marketing investments you need to make and how much each of them will cost.
After you have carefully developed your situation analysis, created a picture of your target audience, set some realistic goals and measured out a reasonable budget, it is time to get into action. With all this in place, you now need to determine the most efficient and effective marketing strategies for your new startup to reach your initial goals.
Even though you may not be an expert in marketing, you should have at least a few simple strategies with which to begin. Although DIY marketing is increasingly common and effective, you may need to seek outside help from an experienced marketing firm or professional. Either way, by following the steps listed above, your startup will have a strong marketing foundation from the very beginning.