Before You Hit The Business Start-Up Button

Starting a new business necessitates risk and in the digital age your marketing could be the difference between gloom and boom. There are plenty of marketing ‘must haves’ for a start-up business but there are also some things you should avoid including:

1 - Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Preparation is the key to any new business and failing to plan is planning to fail. Your business plan should provide an overview of your current business position, where you plan to go and how you intend to get there. Your business plan is more than just a document to satisfy your financiers. It can be a roadmap for your business success that both business owners and staff can refer to for guidance and direction. Without a business plan you can’t establish your priorities or measure your success so it’s a bit like a boat without a rudder.

2 - Forgetting to Build an Audience

While you are busy constructing your start-up, don’t forget to build your marketing plan. There’s no point having the best product or service in the world if no one can find it. Plan and build your website, think about the launch and don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Get your networks in place and start building a list of potential customers and clients. Don’t hold off until everything is ‘just right’ because you might find you have wasted a valuable opportunity or missed the boat. Don’t fly under the radar, get your name out there as soon as possible.

3 - Letting Perfection Stand In the Way of Progress

In the digital age every business needs a website and everyone wants a state of the art website. Too often entrepreneurs obsess over the look of their website at the expense of the other important aspects like content marketing. Your product is what demands your attention at this time. Dedicate your time to building a reputation and delivering quality and value. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress because your website will always be a work in progress. Perfecting your branding and website on start-up can end up a waste of valuable time and there will always be an opportunity to rebrand and relaunch your website if you so desire.

4 - Undervalue Content

As stated above, it is not the look of your website that is important, but you need to embrace content marketing. By creating blogs, videos and newsletters that offer insights and updates you can position yourself as an industry expert, build brand awareness and improve your search engine rankings. Optimise the content with keywords and publish it throughout your social media channels. A beautiful website is really just an electronic brochure without remarkable content.

5 - Networking Without A Strategy

Time really is money, especially when you are a start-up entrepreneur, stretched-thin and stressed out. Before any event that you plan to network at, identify your goals in order to best utilise your time at the event. Create a prioritised list of who you should be talking to, where to best find them and what you hope to gain from these interactions. Bring plenty of business cards, have a specific piece of content to give to the attendees and make sure you follow up in a timely manner to remain relevant and fresh in people's minds.

6 - Jack of All Trades – Master of None

Too often entrepreneurs think they are the only people who understand their business and they fail to delegate tasks. Marketing has changed dramatically in the last few years and it could be time to engage a third party to help you develop your brand, website, videos or content. You might be a skilled technician in your trade but is marketing your strength? Focus on developing your plan and that includes delegating tasks to third parties. You could get bogged down, lose momentum and waste a lot of time trying to be the marketing manager if it’s not your area of expertise.

Make no mistake, you can't do everything yourself (even if you want to) and there’s no future in being the ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. Your passion and drive is essential but a Jack or Jill of all trades can sabotage even the best business. Engage a marketing team to assist you, even if you start small. A word of warning, don’t hand the keys to your social media accounts to your best friend’s son even though they may be social network-savvy. Your commentary on these channels represents your brand and you need to make sure they are expressing your views.

7 - Don’t Obsess Over Your Competition

It’s very normal to have a sneak peek at what the competition is tweeting, their prices and their websites, however, don’t constantly take your lead from them. You could find yourself permanently trying to play catch-up. Your start-up business is your start-up operation that you control. Their techniques and tactics may or may not work for your business. Be the innovator not the imitator.

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