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You've Opened Your Business and There Are No Customers. Now What?

Oct 29, 2010

Day one of any business can be the most challenging.  You’ve envisioned helping people, selling them products they want, making your customers happy and bringing in money and there you are by yourself.  Here is what to do:

 

Open up your business plan and look at your marketing plan.  What were your strategies?  If you haven’t already, get to work on them.  Maybe this is a good time to revisit the plan and brainstorm with a friend or Business Advisor for more ideas on methods to let your customers know you are ready to help or sell to them. 

 

If you don’t have a marketing plan, and you are already in business, you NEED a marketing plan for your business.  Assuming you’ve evaluated your industry, location, market, competition and other aspects, you can focus on the following to put a very basic marketing plan together to help you grow your business:

1)    What is the purpose of your marketing? Common goals are keeping customers loyal, attracting new customers and developing your brand(s). 

2)    Who is your customer?  For consumer sales, think of everything you can from demographics to hobbies and interests.  When selling to businesses, not only do you need to know exactly what kind and what size business, but who the individuals within that business are who decide to purchase your product or service. 

3)    What is your competitive advantage?  What benefit (not features) do you offer that your competitors do not?  To understand the difference between benefits and features, see Janet Beatrice’s Ezine article for help. Keep in mind indirect competition, such as people choosing to eat at home rather than at restaurants.

4)    Who are you?  What are the values that drive your organization and products?  These are the greatest ingredients that build your brand.  Branding is not logos and images, but rather trust.  The best brands are the identities we associate with companies, products or even political parties we trust.

5)    How will you promote your products and services?  Now that you know who you are, what benefits your product offers that your competitors’ don’t, who your customers are and where they are likely to find you, now it is time to communicate to them with purpose. 

Let us look at the different actions you can look at to get your word out.  In each scenario, keep in mind the following:

  • How will you get your customers attention?
  • Are you being genuine?
  • What is your call to action?
  • It is about the customer; what do they get out of it?

 

As you develop action plans, keep in mind how you position yourself among competitors’ products, the consistency of your message, frequency and expected ROI.  That investment is not only money, but your valuable time.  There are many marketing methods from social media to speaking events and of course advertising, the most expensive and elusive form of marketing.  Consider out of the box methods, especially networking, public relations, events and online marketing.

 

If you need assistance, please contact Wyoming Entrepreneur for free consulting help and someone can help you figure out your marketing plan and you can also use resources at their disposal, like the Market Research Center.  With an effective plan in place that you can act on, you can realize your business’ true potential.



Tags:
Category: Business Planning

Jim Drever

Jim Drever is a counselor with the Wyoming SBDC.


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