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Starting a business is becoming a career path, almost a necessity in today’s economic environment where corporate strategy is following a lean is mean strategy and effectively shutting out a lot of career opportunities for a vast number of college graduates. What is available is a lot of contract or freelance opportunities where young professionals can hone their skills while meeting others who can provide networks that will lead to opportunities down the road.
If and when you do come up with an idea for an enterprise that somebody will actually pay money to patronize, you will need a team of skilled people to get it up and running. There is no such thing as an entrepreneur who wears many hats in this day and age. There are just not enough hours in the day for one or a few dedicated individuals to handle all the details that must be done to build a successful enterprise. An old adage is still true; “Jack of all trades, Master of none”.
What we have seen over the years is that the most ignored skill, at least the most discounted skill, is marketing. Most people confuse marketing with advertising or sales but, when you are launching a new business marketing is all about research and analysis. It’s about identifying potential customers, whether or not they care about your offering, how much they are willing to pay, etc. Too often we see in the marketing section of business plans estimates of sales that have no relationship to reality. Often they are based on a percentage of a population or some other broad demographic characteristic. No strategy is included most often that section of the business plan is all about tactics.
Finding a marketing partner for you startup team is essential and will reduce your cost to market immensely.
It seems to me that small businesses can take utilize customer intelligence more efficiently that their larger competitors if they would use the cloud to gather it….
Think of your sales and marketing process as a old analog clock with your Blog at twelve. That is where your sales and marketing starts with content that establishes your expertise and is of use to those who would do business with you if only they knew…
Next comes your social marketing activity which engages you with the communities with which you would do business and helps develop trust and leads people to your website where they can do business.
Next comes your email newsletters and digital personalized marketing campaigns which keeps in touch with existing customers and nurtures prospects.
If you have a retail business your next tick is mobile marketing where location based tools are used to pull in consumers who are in your neighborhood.
And finally before its blog time, again, it is time to analyze your results so you have reach big data; customer insights, sales reports, CRM, etc.
That is your cycle, keep it running and the revenue stream will keep flowing.