Good Business Planning is Critical
Most new businesses run by novice entrepreneurs fail because their business plans don’t follow the right order of things. Small businesses have limited finance at their disposal. Small business advice on formulating and implementing a marketing strategy focuses on how best to get targeted customers to appreciate your business products, know you, and choose to do business with you.
Any business plan, when it is being drawn, should address these 3 fundamental questions:
- WHAT: The answer defines the type of business you want to run. ‘’What’’ also defines your business products and services, the ideas and messages you want to convey to your customers.
- WHO: “Who” describes your target market; the kind of people you want to sell your products to. What do your customers need and how does your business satisfy those needs? The answers will determine the type of marketing strategy you employ for your products.
- HOW: You have a product and a customer base; how will you market your products? How will you use the different marketing tools to advertise your product? Do you have enough funds to devote towards active marketing? How will you arrange for substantial capital for your business?
When you reach step 3, small business advice regarding fund acquisition for business development and marketing, will significantly help secure capital for your key business requirements.
Small Business Advice to Attract Prospective Customers
Customers are important to a business. When you are operating a small business on limited budget, finding customers is comparatively difficult than businesses who can squander thousands of pounds behind marketing. Building your customer pool however, does not have to be a daunting task. All you need is the right small business advice on the kind of structure that will lead you to your customers.
The foremost query to answer is: Who are you looking for? If you are targeting ‘everyone’, building a customer base is going to be a bit more challenging than if you specified your target groups. Defining your customers is important since your marketing ploys and advertising tactics will depend on it. Your messages to your customers must be strong, easy to relate to, and stimulate immediate action.
How will you find your customers? Normally, with great quantities of money devoted to marketing, your customers would come to you. However, since small business owners cannot afford such luxury, once you have decided who your ideal clients will be, you must venture out and find prospects to turn into customers. Small business advice on attracting prospects suggests the following methods:
- Put yourself in newspapers or trade magazine publications. If there are editions published on topics specific to your industrial sector, call up publications and offer to write articles for free. Internet allows scope for lots of free publicity and exposure. It helps to advertise your business on industrial, trade websites, business directories, news websites, etc.
- Participate in networking meetings, either as guest, or speaker. Networking is a powerful medium through which you can generate interest for your business ideas and awareness for your business. The easiest and cheapest networking method is to distribute business cards. It’s simple, no-cost publicity for your business.
- Participate in business workshops and seminars. Research where your ideal client goes and then show up at those places. Where your potential clients are congregating in large numbers, volunteer as speaker and use the opportunity to publicise your business. Besides, it also gives you great credibility as an entrepreneur, which can work wonders for your business.
- Get hold of someone who has a large client base but is not in the same industrial sector or in competition with you. E.g. If you have a catering business, network with a bridal boutique owner, or an event manager, who can give you access to a large client base.
- Join a networking site and advertise yourself on online forums, business group chats, etc. Don’t be pushy. Instead, show up as a problem-solver, as someone who appears to benefit people. It is important to build gradual relationships and display your knowledge. People will start showing interest and will want to know more about you.
- According to small business advice experts, it is good to get referrals for your business from existing customers. Referrals can be generated in the following ways:
1.If you have previously delivered excellent services, you will have already built a loyal customer base that trusts your quality. You can depend on your existing customers to spread your business through word of mouth.
2. Ask for referrals where possible. When you have raving fans for business clients, ask them to supply you with references to other people who might be interested in your product.
3.Introduce referral programs for your customers. Entice them with promise of gifts and benefits in exchange for references.
4.When references click, celebrate with those who have provided you with referrals. Be generous with your thank-you and lavish in your gifts. You will not only get more referrals in return, but also encourage others yet to refer, produce reference lists.
Hiring a business advisor or business coach will help manifold in acquiring small business advice for your business.
Small Business Advice for Product Marketing
Since you are making products for your customers, the first step to creating services is to ask business prospects what they want. You don’t have to conduct massive market surveys for the purpose. Gathering a decent number of people who fit your ‘ideal client’ description and filling out a questionnaire, or conducting a seminar, will give you a good idea of what your customers are looking for.
Your product’s aim should be to solve real problems and benefit people. Create products which are of value to your customers instead of something you are passionate about.
When you ask for customer feedback, you must be prepared to hear irrelevant and unnecessary demands. It is important to stay focused and concentrate on your specialised product. Your aim is to carve a niche for yourself, while make it as beneficial as possible to your customers. Resist the urge to master all fields and give ‘everything’ your customers want, wrapped in one product.
Your product features don’t entice your potential clients. Your customers focus on the end result of a product; what will they achieve, how will they benefit.
Marketing is important for your business, but it alone does not determine business success. How is your product different or better from the rest – this will ultimately determine what your business does for itself. If there’s one excellent piece of small business advice, it is to understand what ticks your customers, their quality of experience, and reason they will keep coming back.
The best small business advice for a startup, or expanding company, is to center all business activity on customers…their needs, convenience, and experience.