Start-up to sustainable small business: how to get started
You’ve come up with a brilliant business idea that you are sure is going to work, amazing! But before you change your Instagram bio to #CEO you need to think about what your business does, who you are as a brand, who is your target market and how you will get your product or service to market. After all, the best product in the world will fail with poor execution.
Starting a small business can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. In this blog, we’ve broken down the basics to make starting and marketing your small business a breeze.
Is there a need for your small business?
All the right marketing techniques can still produce poor results if you are marketing a product or service no one wants. It’s time to put on your super-sleuth hat and do your market research before setting out on your great marketing adventure. When conducting your research, there are a few critical points to keep in mind.
- Set out clear objectives that you hope to achieve so that you get the most useful results.
- Get your information from a wide range of variable sources, both primary and secondary. Primary information comes directly from your focus group in the form of surveys, questionnaires and asking questions etc. Secondary information is from research that has already been done and is available for public referral. Make sure that your secondary sources are reliable and relevant.
- Don’t get sidetracked! Look back at the goals and objectives you set and stick to them.
Important note: while friends and family are a great source of feedback they will likely react more positively than most so it’s important not to rely just on their feedback.
What should you research when starting your small business?
The main things you should try to deduce are location, industry, customers and competition.
- Is your location going to be suitable for this product or service?
- Is this industry necessary, relevant and does it have space for you in your area or at all?
- Who are your potential customers?
- Are there people who would buy your product or service and who are they?
- How do they behave, where are they hiding?
Great, you have the research. Now what?
Collate and categorise. Get rid of whatever is not going to be useful and categorise your information by priority and category so that it is ready to work with.
Who is your target market and how will this affect marketing your small business?
Market research is done, product in hand, who is your brand aimed at and who do you know will buy your product or service? Where are they, what is their demographic, how do they behave and what kind of life do they lead? This is never an exact science but you can get a very accurate idea of who the kinds of people are who will become your clients and will be far more likely to sell products and services if you target these people.
Geography is easy, where are they?
Demographics play a huge role in the way you advertise and where. How old is your target market, are they male or female, what cultural group do they belong to and depending on what you are marketing you may even have to get more granular and look at things like education level. (This becomes important when marketing things like postgraduate courses or diplomas.)
How do they behave? Are they brand loyal, what is their attitude, are they ready to buy?
What kind of lifestyle do they lead? When marketing your small business your language and tone will have to resonate with your target market’s social class, personalities and values.
Most importantly, your target market should have a need for your product or service AND be willing to pay for it.
What unique selling point will you use when marketing your small business?
Why should customers buy from you and not your competition, what makes you stand out from the crowd?
Here are a few questions to consider when trying to find your unique selling point:
- What do you do differently?
- What do you love about your brand and products/services?
- What do you do well and what special knowledge or skills do you have?
- In what way do your customers benefit from your product?
- If you had to describe your business to a complete stranger, what are the things you would mention and highlight about it?
What is your small business ‘brand’?
Every successful business has its own, consistent brand. A well-established brand is well articulated and emotionally connects with the businesses target audience.
The key to good branding is to be consistent. Your brand must not only illustrate who you are but must be recognisable and run through everything you do.
Choosing marketing tactics for your small business
Your marketing strategy will determine where you market your business and this will depend largely on what your market research determines about your target market and where they hang out, be it online or in real life.
Select channels where you know they are. For example, it’s 2021, Myspace is probably not where it’s at. We generally recommend beginning your marketing journey with a good old fashioned brainstorm and strategy. Get everyone in a room and bounce ideas around until you can quite accurately predict where your marketing efforts will be most effective.
Set goals for your small business
Goals are important in any business. They are especially important when it comes to your marketing. If your strategy is not working, there is no point in continuing to act on it.
A no-fail method of setting goals is the S.M.A.R.T method. Set goals that are:
By following this structure you will be able to successfully set, measure, achieve and adjust your small business goals.
Love your clients
Last but not least, nurture and love your clients. Behind every successful brand are loyal clients. Your clients are key. They are the only reason you have a business and they are the ones who can make or break this dream you have worked so hard for. Take good care of your clients and ensure they feel like their needs are being fulfilled and they are your priority. A big mistake can be completely manageable if your working relationship is good and customer service is always at the forefront of your mind. Go the extra mile where you can, surprise and delight your clients, don’t over-promise, view criticism as a chance to grow and always actively work towards a good relationship with your clients.
Need help better branding your business? Reach out. We want to help you grow.