Top 7 Tips for New Businesses
by: Mary Ellen Martelli
The marketing decisions you make for your new business are the most important part of making your business a success. Marketing is about building a strong presence, name recognition and credibility through various methods. Here are 7 things you can do to get a new business off the ground.
All of the time and money you invest in getting your business off the ground is wasted if you don’t make the additional efforts and expenditures to market effectively. Marketing is the process and procedures that get your name out to the public. Your advertising is only a part of marketing. You should have a plan for at least the first year of operations on a monthly basis. With a new business, your marketing is about building a presence, name recognition, status and reputation through a variety methods.
1. Have a Written Business Plan: Having your business plan in order allows you to see a very clear path to where you want your business to go. There are many resources available on the internet to guide you in this process, but basically, your business plan should include: Business Description, Key Initiatives and Objectives, Marketing Strategy and Budget, Business Overview, Location and Facilities, Description of Products and Services, Industry Overview & Outlook, Regulatory Issues Related to Your Industry, Implementation Plan and a Financial Plan.
2. Begin Your Business Branding Immediately: Have business cards, a logo, letterhead, brochure, signage and collateral materials professionally designed and printed. It will be worth the investment as your first steps towards building your business’s image. Steer clear of “do it yourself” products that can be found in most office supply stores. Although it may seem cost effective for a new business, the real cost comes in the toll it will take on your company’s image. For more advice on Business Branding go to: http://maremaxconsulting.com/brandingtips.html
3. Get a Business Website. In today’s marketplace, a business without a website is like a house without a front door. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on a very big opportunity to drive business directly to you. Have your website professionally written and designed. Make sure it is an extension of your advertising and print materials. Your branding has to extend and flourish on your home page. Prospective clients should be able to utilize your site for more information than what is already available to them through your brochure, print ads, and other collateral materials. Update your website often and give people a reason to return again and again.
4. Advertise with Consistency. One of the most powerful keys to successful advertising is frequency. A smaller ad that you run 10 times will generate much more presence that an ad 10 times the size you can only afford to run once. Start with local or regional newspapers or magazines, and set up an ongoing plan that will allow you to build your presence. Your advertising message has to speak to the consumer’s needs and most importantly give them a solid reason to call you. But, more importantly, the message needs to in front of them on a regular, consistent basis. Always be sure to use your web address in all of your advertising.
5. Get Your Business Publicized:
• Send a press release to all local newspapers and magazines in your area announcing the opening of your new business, plans for Grand Opening, and services offered. Keep your press releases short, double-spaced, and error free.
• Write letters to the editor and/or send out press releases on a consistent basis that include a professional photo that is captioned (readers are much more likely to view a photo if there is a caption to read). If you, as a business owner, do something new, such as receive an award, appoint someone in your business to a new position, join a board or professional organization or offer your services to a non-profit organization, be sure to get all the mileage you can out of it by using it as a tool to communicate with the press. If you can plan your marketing budget to include a few professionally written and placed press releases, especially in the beginning, all the better.
• Also consider writing and submitting articles to editors of related business journals and local publications. They are often looking for articles from local businesses. You’ll get your name print, as a credible source, which has a lot more standing than any ad you can purchase in the same publication.
6. Network – Network – Network! Face-to-face networking is one of your best sources of advertising. Be sure to take advantage of every connection opportunity you can. Getting involved will get your business name out there. Become a member of the Chamber of Commerce and be an active participant. Joining a committee, going to meetings, networking breakfasts, and special events extends the opportunities to interact with prospective clients. Volunteer to join a local arts council, charity board, or school board. You’re not only servicing your community, you’re putting yourself and your business out in front of the public.
7. Assess and Redirect Along the Way. Just because you have a written business plan doesn’t mean you should shut your eyes to anything but what you have written. After several months of being fully operational, if you find your business is taking off in one area more then another, you may have stumbled onto a genuine need that wasn’t being filled. Go with it! Assess and redirect. If you find your newspaper advertising is pulling more than your direct mail campaign it may be time to adjust the advertising budget. First, be very sure you’re not being too quick to judge. Some areas of business take longer to cultivate than others. Just as some advertising will adjust according to season, campaign, and frequency.
About The Author
Mary Ellen Martelli is President of MareMax Consulting, a full service Advertising, Marketing & Website Consulting firm, located in the Southern New Jersey / Philadelphia area. You can reach her at her website: http://maremaxconsulting.com/
This article was posted on September 08, 2005