Going from startup to small business success story isn’t likely to happen by accident. Use these startup marketing tips to take your business to the next level.
Good marketing makes you look like a seasoned pro right from the startup.
Few moments in the life of a business are as exciting and rewarding as its startup period, especially when startup is done right and so produces the new customers and buzz needed to take a business from startup to small business success story.
As the saying goes, “Nothing succeeds like success.” At the heart of that quote is the idea that perceived success breeds actual success by inspiring confidence among customers and prospects. Use these five tips to educate prospects, instill confidence and gain early adoption for your startup business.
5 Tips for Taking your Business from Startup to Success Story
1. Package Your Passion
Emotional connection is foundational to customer and employee loyalty and referrals.
Whether it’s the mission and vision of your business or the products or services that you plan to sell, chances are you are starting up a business out of passion for something. Package your passion into marketing messages that members of your target markets, customers and employees can easily understand and relate to in order to connect with them emotionally.
2. Provide the Talking Points
Turn customers into brand advocates who produce referrals by providing talking points.
Differentiating your products and services themselves and differentiating the experience a customer has when interacting with you or any perceived touch point of your business is about creating the “talking points” that your customers will use to produce referrals and build buzz about your new startup.
Without exceeding their expectations in some way – whether that be through the results they receive or how they feel as a result of doing business with you – there simply isn’t much to talk about! Once you have produced unique experiential or benefit-related selling points, put those differentiators into words so that customers have compelling talking points already laid out for their referrals.
3. Stalk your Target Markets
Many a startup has failed to deliver not because they didn’t have merit, but because they didn’t have followers. U.S. consumers and B2B buyers alike are bombarded with marketing messages and have more than enough options when it comes to spending their money.
It’s simply not enough to start up and open up. Your business startup plan must provide for identifying target markets large enough to sustain your business model as well as a plan to reach them; preferably, in advance of your doors ever opening up.
4. Plan for Cash Flow and Contingencies
One of the most common challenges for startups is having adequate cash flow to meet expenses and lack of working capital for fast reinvestment in order to be able to replenish inventory and supplies needed to serve a growing customer base.
It might be helpful for you to lay out a business plan for the first six months to one year that includes estimated capital needs plus a buffer for contingencies (unexpected hiccups along the way). You should also create a contingency contact list so that in case of an equipment failure, facility problem, web site snafu or another problem that could forestall sales, you can quickly address the issue and keep your doors (or web site) open for business.
Before launching your startup, it would also be advisable for you to speak with other people who have recently successfully launched businesses in your area (city, neighborhood, etc.) or industry. Get an idea of what may have worked well for them as well as tactics that they thought would work, but didn’t, so that you can learn from their experience and avoid potential mistakes.
5. Plot a Marketing Roadmap
Starting a business without a marketing plan is akin to setting out into the wilderness without a map or a compass. You may eventually reach your intended destination by following your nose, but chances are you will take a longer, winding route to get there and expend valuable time and resources unnecessarily in the process.
Some of the basic components your marketing plan could have include:
- Identification of target markets (broad) and (narrow) market segments
- Description of “ideal” buyer types
- Strategies and tactics you’ll use to reach ideal buyer types and target audiences
- Short and long term projections
- How – and how often – you will measure results
- Trigger points for alternative marketing tactics
- Situation analysis – company, customer, competitor and collaborator analyses
- SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your business model or industry
- Mission statement (what your organization will do and who it will serve)
- Vision statement (what will happen as a result of fulfilling the mission)