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How Are You Going to Market Your Business?

marketing business ideas

When developing a business plan for your new business idea the plan needs to take into consideration how you are going to market your business.

There is more to marketing your business than just advertising the business and making sales. Before you can build a marketing plan there is some leg work you need to do.

Market Research

Market research is about a popular as doing a business plan but it is a necessary evil when starting and building a business. You need to take the time to research the following so you know if there is a potential to be profitable and possibly have to make some adjustments to your business idea.

  • Who are Your Competitors?

    1. Who exactly will you be competing with?
    2. What are your competitor’s strengths?
    3. What are your competitor’s weaknesses?
    4. Do your competitors have a good product? A medium quality product? An economy product?
    5. How are you going to position yourself against the competition? Better quality? Lower price? Faster delivery?
    6. How are you going to price your product or service?
    7. What quality does your product or service have to be to compete?
  • Who are Your Potential Customers?

    1. What is your target market?
    2. What are the demographics of your target market? Their age, gender, income and other distinguishing trates.
    3. What level of education does your target market have?

      The level of education of your target market will determine how simple or complex your product/service can be and the instructions that go with them.

  • What are Your Product or Service’s Characteristics?

    1. What are your product or service’s features?

      How are these features going to benefit the consumer?

    2. What warranty are you going to provide?

      If you are going to provide a warranty or guarantee, how long is it going to be for? What will it cover?

    3. How are you going to package your product or service?

      If you have a physical product, how are you going to package it? Does the packaging have to be fancy to market it better?

      For a services oriented business, are you going to offer packages of bundled services to reduce the cost to the consumer or are you going to make it a la carte?

    4. Are you going to provide related products or services?

      Will you be offering additional complementary products or services to go with your product/service?

  • What are Your Costs?

    1. What is your overhead going to be?

      Overhead costs are the costs of running the business. These include your rent, hydro, heat, salaries and other generally fixed costs of running the business. These costs determine how much markup you need to turn a profit.

    2. What are your production costs?

      Whether you have a physical product you are marketing or a service, there are production costs.

      For a physical product the production costs are the money you have to spend to produce the product.

      When providing a service there are also production costs. For example a personal service like esthetician you need your creams, tools, towels, a bed, pans, a sink, blankets, etc. to produce your service.

      Even if you are providing a service like web design there is the cost of software and internet for your service.

  • Where is Your Business Going to be Located?

    For a brick and mortar business, as they say, location is everything. Easy to access? Plenty of parking? Easy to find?

    For a home based business, are you going to accept customer visits? Where in the home are you going to meet with them that is away from the rest of the family?

    In either case, do you need to do some decorating or displays?

Once your have your market research done you can move onto how you are going to market your business through promotion.

Business Promotion

How to you plan on promoting your business?

  • Your Target Market

    Through your market research you should be able to determine what types of promotion works well for your target market.

  • Where are You Going to Promote Your Business?

    Again related to your target market, where is going to be the best place to promote your business?

    Does your target market read printed material like the newspapers and magazines?

    Does your target market go online to find your product or service? Even if you expect the majority of your target market to be the offline type, consider some online promotion to cover those who do shop online or at least do their research online before physically visiting your business.

  • What Kind of Image Do You Want to Present for Your Business?

    Presenting a professional image for your business is always important but the image your presentation also has to suit your target market.

    1. Do you want a sleek image?
    2. Do you want to present a friendly fun loving image?

    A higher priced product or service there is an expectation of a certain image where as a home based handcrafted product business would want to present a different image.

  • What Aspect of Your Business Do You Want to Promote?

    With this marketing campaign do you want to promote:

    1. Price?
    2. The product/service itself?
    3. The quality of your product/service?
    4. Your service?
  • What Resources Do You Need for this Promotion?

    Being realistic about what resources you have available to produce a quality promotion is important. You can’t do everything yourself when you are a small business with the same quality required for some things as a professional can.

    1. Do you have the equipment, software and people to create this promotion on staff?
    2. What are you going to subcontract out to produce the quality of promotion needed for this marketing project to be successful?
  • What Marketing Strategies are You Going to Use?

    Selecting the right marketing strategies for the job is as important as selecting the right tools for the job.

    1. Do you plan on doing some advertising?
    2. Will you be doing something to get publicity?
    3. Is there a sale going to take place?
    4. Is getting out and networking off and online the right strategy?

With all your ideas and decisions from the above you can now create a marketing plan to implement what it is you are going to do.

Marketing Plan

The best laid plan follows the S.M.A.R.T. outline:

  • Be Specific

    Be specific with the goals of the marketing project. If you don’t, you won’t know if the project was successful or not.

  • Make it Measurable

    You won’t know if your marketing project was successful unless there is something in place to measure it against. e.g. If the goal was to specifically increase sales, you need a benchmark before the promotion to measure the results against. Likewise, you also need a way to measure the sales for the specific length of the promotion.

  • Make Your Marketing Goal Acheivable

    We all want our business to be successful quickly but setting high expectations for your marketing program and not reaching them isn’t good. Go for the lower apple on the tree. Next time you can shoot for the next highest apple.

  • Be Realistic

    Being realistic goes along with the goal being acheivable. If it’s going to take a huge influx of manpower or money to execute your plan, where is that manpower or money going to come from? If borrowing is the answer, is the marketing plan going to produce enough revenue to pay back the debt and leave you with some profit?

  • What is the Timeframe of Your Marketing Plan?

    Build yourself a simple bar graph with each task down the left. Have the days/months/weeks listed at the top. Now beside each task colour in the amount to time required to complete the task. When finished, jump down to the next task. Is it something that can be done as the previous tasks are being done or is it dependant on a previous task being completed first?

    As you proceed down the task list, the right edge of your graph will grown. Once filling in all the task timelines you will have the timeframe required to complete your marketing plan.

    Your graph also gives you the deadlines of task completion to keep the whole project on time.

Got a Plan to Market Your Business Now?

If you have followed along the whole procedures above, you should now know how you are going to market your business.

Take the information you collected and the marketing plan you created and put it in place. Your plan doesn’t have to be huge long project. It can be a short term project to meet a specific goal this time around.

Don’t forget to include your marketing plan in with your business plan. You will need this to borrow money, get a line of credti and generally keep yourself on track.

About

With over 30 years of experience running businesses for others and my own I want to share my experiences with those just starting out. Many have the dream of owning their own business but don't take the time to learn how to run a business properly. By reading this blog, I hope I stear you in the right direction to become successful and fullfill your dream.

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