7 tips for a successful business venture
It’s easy enough to set up a new business, but the real challenge lies in surviving the fierce competition and stimulating growth over the years. One of the main reasons why most companies are facing a very difficult time is the lack of a proper marketing plan and minimal focus on branding. After all, only when you can properly market your products to your target segment will you have an opportunity to generate income to advance your business.
While the success of a business depends largely on the concerted effort of several important functions, in the early years it is more important to focus on the brand. Your branding effort must be strong enough to not only introduce your company name to your target segments, but also create an impact with them. For a new business, the marketing and branding strategy should ideally be able to establish your presence, build name recognition, build credibility among the target market segment, and contribute to your status and reputation. Here are seven tips that would really help you succeed with your new business.
- Write your business plan – This should be the first step. Probably the biggest and most common mistake most entrepreneurs make is not creating proper business plan documentation. We all know what we plan to do; however, it is important to write it down in a formal business plan. It is always easier to follow a written plan. Your business plan should contain a description of your business. Objectives, marketing strategy and budget, Overview of the business, facilities and infrastructure, description of products and services, Overview of the industry, Regulatory issues, Implementation plan and financial plan.
- Focus on your brand – Do everything you can to promote your brand. Get a professionally designed logo that justifiably represents your business to the people. Get your business cards, letterheads, brochures and marketing materials designed and printed by a professional design and printing house. Make sure your logo design is correctly placed on all of these. Don’t give in to those cheap DIY branding and logo solutions, they might save you a few bucks up front, but they would actually hurt your brand image.
- Create a web presence – It is very important for each company, regardless of its size, to have its own website. Most consumers do their initial research on the web before making a purchase decision. It is important that they can find it at that stage. Also, a website adds value to your brand and gives you an additional means of communicating with your customers. Have your website designed and developed by professional web developers. Ideally, your website should be an extension of your brand and provide additional information to that of your brochures and printed materials. Try to update your website often with useful information, this gives your visitors a reason to visit your website regularly.
- Create an advertising strategy – Most commercial organizations invest in ads, but often a business doesn’t get the maximum ROI on its advertising spend because the advertising strategy is ineffective or sometimes there isn’t even a fixed strategy. Make sure your ad is specifically targeted at your market; For example, if you are a local store, there is no point in advertising in a global medium, but the local newspaper is a much better option for you. Be consistent in your advertising effort. The more your customers see your business ad, the more impact it will have on them. It has been observed that a 5 minute ad film shown 10 times creates a greater impact on the consumer than a 50 minute ad film. For the composition of your advertisement, it is always advisable to consult a public relations agency. If you’re trying it out yourself, make sure your ad leaves your customers with a good reason to contact you and that your brand and USP are presented correctly.
- Advertising is the key – Yes, do what you can to put your business in the foreground. There are several things you can do for advertising. Submit a press release announcing a grand opening for your new business, with a brief description of your products and services. Keep your press release short, error-free, and interesting. Write letters to the editors of local newspapers and magazines about your industry and product. Send out more press releases to communicate other business developments. For example, if you win a business award, gain membership in a professional organization, offer services to a charity, or even if you’re recruiting from an industry-recognized company for a key position in your business. Try writing articles and reviews for local publications and industry magazines. This would help build your credibility as an expert and also add value to your business brand. The amount of trust people place in these experts is far more than you can get by buying the best ad space in the best magazines.
- business networks – Word of mouth is undoubtedly the best form of advertising and the more you expand your commercial network, the more publicity you can have. Try joining professional organizations in your industry; be a member of the Chamber of Commerce; attend networking meetups and special events that give you the opportunity to interact with more people. Volunteer to join an NGO, associate with a charity or school board. Not only will you be giving money back to your community, but you’ll also be putting yourself and your business in front of the public.
- Measure, Analyze and Decide – Actually, these should be continuous processes in the life cycle of your business. You have designed a business plan, but this does not mean that you blindly follow it. Measure the result you are getting from all the efforts you put into your business. See if it’s more or less than what you projected. Analyze the reasons for any variance, whether positive or negative, and then use the result of this analysis to make informed decisions for the future. You should keep in mind that you should not be too quick to judge anything. To get a decent understanding of your business processes, you need to give them enough time to run, giving you enough data for fruitful analysis.