Having a Dream: Starting Your Own Business
Lots of people dream of owning a business. According to survey results from an impressive global study we just made up, over 93% of people want to operate a business of their own, while 99% of people fictitiously polled believe they could run their current company better than their bosses. So why don’t more people achieve their dream? Why doesn’t everyone just open a business? To summarize centuries of economic theory, industrial studies and pre-Boolean search philosophy: because it’s hard.
Having an idea for a business is simple, but how do you turn ideas into reality? How do you make a concept into a business, and a business into a sustainable brand? How do you take something you think you can do and turn it into a dream-achieved? the answer to those questions is simple: do homework, work hard, and take advantage of this blog on jumpstarting your business.
Five Things to Jumpstart Marketing for Your Business:
- Build a Marketing Plan
Your business is a lot like the Bonsai tree from The Karate Kid. If you want to be proud of what it becomes, you need to shape it with intent and purpose, guiding its growth and pruning it regularly. A professionally developed marketing plan will help your company establish direction, fix objectives that are easy for team members and employees to understand, create a measurable data set to inform later decisions, and generally keep your business growing profitably over time.
Conversely, a poorly developed business plan will lull you into a false sense of security, lead to confusion and complacency, and leave you battling a black belt while hopping up and down on one leg (okay, no more Karate Kid references, but that’s what it feels like working with a poor marketing plan). Don’t skimp on a marketing plan for your new business. Take the time to work with a marketing professional and develop a plan that will set you up for long term success.
- Define Your Business
Who are you? What makes your business different? Why should customers care? These questions need to be answered within seven seconds if you want to convert a lead into a sale. From your mission statement to your logo to your articles of organization, you need to figure who you are and why it matters.
Once you know who you are, take it to the next level. Do creative exercises that force you to think about your business in novel ways. If your business was a person, how would he dress? What kind of music would she put on her Spotify playlist? How would they feel about Pineapple on pizza? Yes, this sounds silly, but some of the world’s largest global brands went through similar processes before they became the shoes on your feet, the bottle in your fridge and the phone in your hand.
- Make Yourself Visible
The most important ability for a new business is discoverability. You can’t help clients that can’t find you, so make sure you’re building digital assets that will land you in their search results. Start with a professionally built and branded website that reflects who you are and turns leads into conversions. It needs to be Search Engine Optimized (SEO) so that it ranks highly on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, and it needs to be easy to navigate, with important information available within three clicks of the landing page.
Once your business website is built, start building digital “billboards” that point customers in its direction. Social media, published articles, advertising and geofenced push notifications are all great ways to get eyes on your page, if they are in sync (insert “boy band” joke here) and contribute to your overall marketing strategy. Remember, these are supplemental pieces of a marketing plan, and are only useful if they point people toward an effective, professional website.
- Get Physical: Build Relevant Print Assets
Build professional business cards, put your logo on stationary, build brochures and branded hats and vinyl stickers and a mansion on the moon. Okay, maybe don’t go that far, or at least not all at once. It is important to think about the print collateral that does suit your business and fits within your marketing plan, and equally important to exclude wasteful print items (and costs) that do not.
Find a marketing professional willing to consult and use their experience to determine the best physical assets for your company. It will help you to make an effective marketing decision and save you from wasting money on assets that won’t help (like that lunar lake house).
- Work with a Marketing Team Specializing in New Business Development
At the end of the day, there’s nothing about marketing you can’t figure out for yourself. You can learn to build a website, to optimize it for major search engines, to create logos and images for print and digital use, to operate multitiered social media campaigns and manage effective paid placement and pay-per-click advertisements. You can learn all these things, but probably not while you run a business (or if you have anything else in the world you enjoy doing with your free time). Marketing is hard because it is multifaceted, and each element needs to be done carefully with intent. It makes sense to find an agency to help meet these needs, but not all agencies are a good fit for your business.
Many marketing agencies do not want to work with new businesses. There are a lot of challenges unique to a startup company, and many agencies prefer helping existing businesses modify their marketing campaign to helping new businesses build one from the ground up. Make sure you’re partnering with an agency that has both the skills and the desire to help, regardless of where your business is in its journey.
This blog is proudly brought to you by the crane-kicking marketing blackbelts of AE Digital Marketing, who may or may not own property on the moon.