Your great ideas and passion are only half the battle in running a successful business. The ability to provide adequate start-up capital is not always the only key to success either. In fact, even with large sums of cash injected into a new venture, a huge number of new startups will still fail within their first year. Why is that? Often times it from failure to plan a procedure and budget for proper advertising.
The first year of a business is known as the “spin up” phase. This is where a fledgling business attempts to ramp up, create attention and accumulate a strong and loyal customer base quickly. This first year is a time critical period for new ventures. The best way for an entrepreneur’s success is to make a systematic advertising plan and implement it.
- Decide on a budget
The first thing that needs to be done is determine what your advertising budget will be. It can be a flat amount or a better way is to budget a percent of sales will be spent to market and promote your concept. Most franchises require start-up franchisees to spend between 2-5% of sales on advertising. This is not done for arbitrary reasons. They do this because they know the best chance of a franchisee’s success is with a guaranteed method of promotion.
For many small businesses, where start-up capital is very limited, the business owner is left to try and promote their business on their own. Luckily, today with resources like the internet, online marketing can be affordable and extremely successful if done right. One great resource on the web to help you with marketing articles, content writing and business planning and budgeting is www.edubirdie.com
- The Internet
Today, the internet helps us solve almost every problem imaginable. Most people feel they cannot live life without it. For business owners, this serves as a great tool for business promotion.
You need to have a website: It is common knowledge that your company’s website is the face of your business and you need to have one. The more attractive and user friendly the site is, the better it will be for your business. Of course if you know nothing about web development and SEO (search engine optimization), a good route might be to entrust your site build to professionals. If you think you want to try to build one yourself, with some of the easy web builder programs today, check out www.Shopify.com, www.Godaddy.com & www.Wordpress.com for great options.
If your budget is very tight, and you cannot afford a website, start with a Facebook page for your business. Social networks can be highly beneficial to entrepreneurs and very affordable advertising plans can be purchased there (eg: $50 a week). You can also target very specific customers by gender, location, income range, etc. Do not underestimate the possibilities of social networks. And if you absolutely do not have time to learn or manage a campaign, you can hire people to do that for you very inexpensively.
- Leaflets and business cards
Another great way to advertise affordably is still the old fashioned way; with great looking business cards and leaflets. These leaflets should contain the address and the phone number of the company, your tag line and any promotion you are running. Distribute your advertising pieces everywhere your target audience is. At the mall, schools, parties, door to door, business cork boards, at coffee shops, etc. You get my drift.
The main thing to remember is that as a new business you need to get yourself noticed. If you have marketing dollars, that is wonderful and they can and should be spent with a great looking website, newsletter, mailing list and social media campaigns. If you do not have the funds, you must go old school and distribute your business cards and promotional leaflets any way you can. Talk to everyone, let them know you are there, make them a deal they cannot refuse and get them talking about you and promoting your new business for you.