Help! I’m Starting a Business – Where Do I Start?
Once you’ve decided to start your own business (or take over an existing one), you are catapulted into a world of excitement and stress. Don’t get me wrong – it’s awesome being a business owner. All the good outweighs the stress you’ll have (at least that’s what I tell myself 🙂 ).
However, you have to start somewhere. And that somewhere is usually with your marketing and branding.
When you start your branding & marketing, you need to establish three important things:
- Who you are.
- Who your target market is.
- What your goal is.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these…
Who you are.
Just who is your company? You need to find your brand’s personality. Is it edgy? down-home maybe? Your brand’s personality will set the tone for all of your marketing and how you present yourself. Once you decide that, it’s time to start work on the visual components – your logo and website.
There are a few things to consider –
- The overall design. You need to establish brand guidelines and apply them at every touchpoint – business cards, social media, advertisements, etc. It needs to be consistent across the board.
- Content. What are you going to say? 79% of web users scan webpages so you need to have a clear call to action and message. This also translates to anything you do in print. The most successful businesses are always listening to their audience and tailor content to them.
- Exposure. How are you going to be found? 80% of web traffic comes from search engines. Make sure your website it optimized and is functional and mobile-friendly.
Who your target market is.
Despite what some other people say, not every person is your target market. And to piggyback that, you don’t have an audience on every social media platform.
When you started your business, you probably already knew who you wanted to reach. For some, it may not have come that easily. Take my business for example, yes, my target market is business owners, but what kind of business owners? What industry types? Do they own large or small businesses? Are they corporate or mom-and-pop?
My business isn’t like a retail shop, where it’s obvious. In a business like mine or those who could serve many different markets, pick one to start with. For me, it was local small-to-medium-sized businesses. That narrowed it down a lot and made it less stressful when it came to the actual marketing. You can do research all day, but go with what market you want to work with. Trust me, there are businesses you don’t want to work it because of beliefs or personal preferences. It’s okay to be picky.
What your goal is.
Okay, here’s where you can go in many different directions. Goals are not always dollar-based. Of course in owning a business, the goal is to always make money, but that’s a given. Do you want to become the go-to for your local area or region? Do you want to win recognition and awards? Do you want to become the leader in your field? Aside from your financial goals, what is your overall goal for your business? For ME Marketing, my overall goal is/was to be the regional go-to for social media/digital marketing – the leader, the authority businesses look to for their questions to be answered. I feel like after 5 years, I’m getting there. Your goal won’t be met overnight. To be frank and honest, it could take many, many years. But I feel everyone needs to have something to work towards. Yes profits are nice. Really nice. But they are not everything. What is the goal you can achieve that puts you to bed with a smile on your face at night? That’s what your real goal is.
Once you’ve established your goal, you can now start on your marketing plan – you’ve established who you are and who your target market is as well. Everything you do from here forward needs to be you reaching out to that market to make that goal. In fact, everything you do period needs to circle back to that overall goal.
Easy enough, right?