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A Lot. Elevator Pitch Develop A Tagline Start Branding Early Yes, You Need A Website Join Business Associations Systematically Survey Customers Develop Customer Testimonies Look For Added Value Develop A Startup Story Your First Marketing Plan Sales Process In Three Steps Know Your Operating Costs Reserves Credit Is Your Lifeblood Take A Modest Salary Avoid Unnecessary Expenses Focus On Net Profit Guard Your Accounts Receivable Handle Terminations With Care Dealing With Complaints Trades Jealously Guard Your Time Marketing is all about knowing who your ideal customer is, deciding what means of advertising will best reach this group with the message you have determined will make them use your product or service.

After completing the 6 Action Steps in this section, you will walk away with a better plan for reaching the right customers and keep them coming back for more. I am a big fan of word-of-mouth, but it is I am a big fan of rare that this can bring in enough customers to build a word-of-mouth, but it is successful company.

They register with the Chamber of Commerce and go out of their way to become known in their community. Be pro-active and visible, not just hoping people will spread the word for you. Marketing Marketing is the your overall strategy. Advertising is the means. You will use various means of advertising to accomplish your marketing strategy.

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Five steps to a marketing plan 1. The Lay of the Land. Summarize your competitive intelligence and your business plan. Combine these in an honest and critical report on your business, your competition, and your customer base. The Tactics: What is your detailed plan on how to meet your goals through each marketing avenue? Think advertising, sponsorship, events, and social media.

The Logistics: Where can you best devote your marketing budget? Report In: Write a 1-page summary of the above and insert it in your business plan What kinds of marketing strategies do businesses use to attract your business? Which of the following do you think will be effective in reaching your audience? Therefore, your business should have a target customer. What is your target gender? If not, you need to reconsider the business idea or location. What are some things you can do to market your product or service directly to your target customers?

The naming of your business is more important than The naming of your you might think. A non-Internet business should have a business is more name that clearly tells the customer what kind of important than you business it is, and the type of service it provides. If your might think. Think about some businesses in your area. What are some names that communicate with clarity? What is it about those company names that makes you want to visit them? Keep in mind the fact that changing the name of your company after it is established can be an expensive process.

Eliminate the third choice and do more evaluations of the remaining two options. Within a couple of days, you should have a winning name for your business. Now you are ready to incorporate your business. What problems do you think you can solve better or faster then your competition?

If you hope to own a successful business, it needs to look like one from day one. Will it be modern, classic, retro, etc.? Just express your ideas. Think about some of the catchy taglines you know. List a few below. List them here. Review these with your closest advisors and select the one that is most appropriate. People often remember your branding better than they remember your products or services. They know if you have delivered on the promises you made and their future business is dependent upon that information. You must be intentional about establishing your business identity in such a way that you can deliver on the promises you make.

What promise are you making in conjunction with your product or service? Circle two or three. Moreover, if none of their products or services will ever be sold online, they see even less reason to invest in a web site. A web site is an integral part of business marketing and advertising. Developing an online presence is as essential as having a business card. Use the following checklist to develop a basic web presence. You can add additional pages and information as needed. If you need to hire someone, ask family members and You might find a high friends.

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Regardless of who you take on the project for a choose, create an agreement that establishes the little spending money. Join Business Associations A simple way to build credibility and to learn more about your industry is to join associations. These are also a great way to learn what is working for others within your industry. They may also offer discounts on products and professional services you may need.

General associations like the Chamber of Commerce may be good for networking and sharing local marketing tips.

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List some associations available in your area: 1. Find out what associations they are actively involved in. There are several ways you can distribute surveys. If you keep the survey short, you can use a card at the point of sale or provide a postage paid card to be returned in the mail. Use email lists to send out surveys created with online tools such as wufoo. When you analyze the data, report the summary on your Before you send out a website and in other advertising pieces. The customers. You might five questions and able consider offering incentives for completion of the to be completed in five survey.

Offer a discount coupon or free item when minutes or less. Would you use our company or buy our product again? Would you refer our product or service to a friend? How helpful was our staff? How friendly was the staff? Were you welcomed upon arrival at our business location? How long did you wait before being served?

What additional products or services do you want us to provide?

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How likely are you to do business with us again? Develop Customer Testimonies Customer testimonies are a powerful tool for businesses. Potential customers like seeing and hearing from people who have done business with you. Testimonies are easy to obtain because of the proliferation of phones that shoot video and record audio. Below are some additional sources of testimonies. Which ones do you already have in place? Facebook Reviews. LinkedIn Reviews.

YouTube Video Reviews. Local Search Directories. Consider this your pilot group. Do you offer additional complimentary services? Consider how you might bring additional value to your customers. A fresh competitive advantage might also allow you to increase your prices. Use the pyramid diagram below to identify the added value you can provide through your business. Begin at the bottom with the basic product or service. Then, work your way to the top adding value by adding additional services.

Once you have determined how you will add value, communicate it in your marketing. You get to decide if those remarks will be positive or negative. Select people who have an audience and are well-respected among your target customers. These are people who, by virtue of their If people are familiar with position in a community, naturally tend to speak to your pricing and product, lots of other people and whose opinions may be and are sold on your highly valued.

If they are familiar with your pricing company, they will and product, and are sold on your company, they spread the word virally. This is why you have to be a people person. Develop A Startup Story People, especially Americans, love stories of humble beginnings and creative vision.

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Here are some ways to tell your story. Select the ones that are applicable to your situation. Craft a professional press release. Become a guest on a local radio show. Identify with charitable causes in your area. People like to believe they are spending their money with someone who cares for their community.

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Place your startup story on your website as a video interview. Write an article to submit to your local paper. Explain how many jobs you hope to create and the impact you hope to have on the community. Training wheels allowed us to gain should be. Try to keep it that way because simple marketing is effective marketing.

The more complicated it becomes, the more confused people will be about your business and products or services. Start by revisiting these questions. Your answers will help shape your marketing plan. Who is my ideal customer? What is the most cost-effective way to reach this ideal customer? What message will convert this ideal customer into a paying customer?

Draw vertical lines through the dollar representing each portion. Label the portions appropriately. The amount of money you have to budget for marketing will dictate whether you have a secondary campaign, perhaps featuring a TV commercial or another means to best reach your ideal customer.

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Sales Process In Three Steps Assuming you have a product or service that you have been able to market well, you now must make the sale. The sale is when currency changes hands, and without it you have no business. The sales process can begin only after they know and like you. Remember be likable! You might be using your own money to start your business. You might rely on loans and credit from others. This lesson will help you manage and protect your bottom line. Therefore, you need to determine how much capital is required to operate your business.

Use the following table to estimate your business expenses. In other words, you need to have enough cash on hand to cover any potential shortfalls in revenue. The reserve is there in the event of an emergency. It can be large or small at the outset, but it should be equal to your operating expenses for a projected period of interruption in which your business may be unable to generate new income. Based on your monthly operating budget above , what is a healthy three-month reserve? Six months or longer Three to six months One to three months Less than a month What is your emergency plan in the event everything that possibly could go wrong goes wrong?

If you are giving customers 30 days to pay their invoices, you will need credit to operate while waiting for these payments. What is your personal attitude toward credit? Irresponsibility in one leads to irresponsibility in the other. What potential capital expenses are connected to your business? Some experts suggest paying yourself whatever is left after all other expenses are paid. What annual salary do you need from your business? What do you need to support your modest, startup lifestyle?

Defer everything above and beyond that. Always think lean. Subject every prospective expense to the acid test. Is this outlay really needed to accomplish the goals I have for my company? Is it a vanity expense? Is this the best time to make this purchase? Take a close look at your startup expenses and identify those that are absolutely critical and those that are optional. Be honest about your need for the things on the list. Look for free or inexpensive ways to handle some expenses. Which of your startup expenses are optional?

Before starting your business, you must establish guidelines for customer payments. Allow as little time as possible between delivery of goods or services and receipt of payment. How long will you allow people to submit payment? You must maintain control of your business and be aware of what is happening. What information about your company do you need to receive daily? You can minimize this by fully vetting people during the hiring process. However, there are going to be occasions when you understand that letting someone go is necessary.

Apologies can make it look like you are uncertain of your decision. Anything you say can be held against you if the employee applies for unemployment, sues, or badmouths you to your other employees. What steps to you plan to take before terminating an employee? If it is a high level termination, it may be wise to have someone in the room that can document why the person was terminated.

It also can keep the situation from being confrontational. No business owner would ever say the things above, but catering to some customers sends messages you never intend to send. Describe the kind of customer you are willing to stop doing business with. Steve Moore. Competitive Intelligence Advantage. Seena Sharp. Profitable Growth Is Everyone's Business. Ram Charan.

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8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Start-Up Success

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