You've decided to start your own business. You have unique expertise for providing a competitive product or service. Consumers want your product. You've taken all the necessary steps for going into business: decided what the ownership entity will be, filed paperwork for the business name and license, paid your fees, set up a website, even completed a business plan.
How will customers find you? How will they know you're in business? More importantly, who are your customers?
I have learned this the hard way: if undercapitalization is the #1 reason for small business failure, then lack of an effective marketing plan must be a close second.
mar⋅ket⋅ing (verb) : the art of connecting buyers and sellers
The truth is, if you build it, they might not come. Without proper marketing activities, your precious start-up funding will be drained quickly.
Marketing is critical for ALL businesses -- even small internet-based work-from-home businesses. In fact, if you get started in a network marketing business, you may believe that the marketing is taken care of for you. The reality is this:
If you fail to create a personalized marketing plan, you will fail.
Sorry - I don't mean to sound harsh, but like I said, I've learned this the hard way.
Here are four tips to get you started on a marketing plan that will work:
1. Realize that YOU are your business.
You may be thinking, "No, my business is my business." But who is conducting the business? Who makes the decisions? Who do your customers deal with? Who hires the employees? Your business is a reflection of you, like it or not.
2. Determine your market.
Here's a saying I heard recently, "The smaller your niche, the more you get rich". Now, getting rich may not be your objective, but you are in business to make a profit. As one of my mentors, Ann Sieg, says,
"Nothing will determine your long term success more than the ability to pick the right audience and qualify your prospects."
3. Detail your marketing activities.
At the minimum. determine what marketing activities you will initially engage in. They'll probably change over time. Now you're probably thinking two things: "I don't know anything about marketing" and "How much will marketing cost? Isn't it expensive?". Even if you don't know anything about marketing right now, don't worry. Marketing using the internet is not hard, and many methods are even free or extremely low cost. A word of caution, though: "word of mouth" is NOT an effective method for reaching your target market.
4. Write out a marketing plan.
I urge you to put it in writing, even if it's just a bulleted list or a draft. That way you can refer back to it and modify it as needed. A written plan will also help keep you on track.