Advice to First-Time Business Owners

As a marketing consultant, I receive a lot of email from first-time business owners and entrepreneurs who are trying to get established in marketing their businesses. Because I make my email address public, it’s pretty easy to get to me.

However, by the time I hear from people, they are either confused about marketing, don’t know where to begin, been scammed by low hanging fruit, and/or frustrated by bad advice. They can’t afford any consultation or maybe even coaching, and they are fully convinced that they have a killer-service or product idea. “If only people knew about my offering,” they plead.The biggest problem is that most people just don’t know where to begin marketing their business.

So as a first time business owner or entrepreneur, what do you do? Here’s what I recommend:

1. Define Your Purpose.

Marketing must have a purpose, a goal. You must have a reason for marketing your business.

To better define this ask yourself, “What exactly is the outcome you really want from your marketing?

Or even better What is the primary reason you’re marketing?”

Are you trying to:

  • increase sales revenue.
  • increase brand awareness.
  • increase sales conversion rates.
  • develop new products and services.
  • increase product units sold.
  • increase share of market.
  • increase share of customer’s business.
  • increase number of new accounts
  • increase number of new relationships.
  • increase public relations placements.

“You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” – Zig Ziglar

Learn More: SMART Goals For Marketing Your Business

 2. Identify Your Ideal Target Customer

Who, precisely, are you trying to reach?

What channel—online or offline— has this persons permission?

Today with more media and things grabbing for our attention—Facebook, TV channels, radio stations, YouTube, Twitter, Pintrest, email,  podcast, etc.—you don’t have a prayer at mass marketing (attention is scattered) but you do have a chance if you have a clearly defined and understood ideal target customer.

Learn More: What Are Psychographics? (And How to Use Them in Your Business)

“Successful marketing is almost always specific, not general. And that “almost” is close to absolute because you can no longer run an ad that reaches everyone. Now, instead of interrupting the masses, the marketer, business owner, or enterprise has no choice but to choose their ideal customer.” – Patrick McFadden

Learn More: 12 New Questions That Define Your Best Prospect And Help Create Better Marketing Strategies

3. Choose a Profitable Niche

Marketing has changed, in terms of it becoming smaller and tighter rather than massive and bigger. This means, “trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one.”

This is often the danger of small business planning and execution, trying to be everything to everybody.

The secret to cultivating a niche is that the more time you spend in the trenches (commenting on blogs, speaking at events, writing articles for media outlets, creating educational content, etc.), the more expert you become, the more you expand your territory and the more people you can expose to your expertise.

“If you want to soar with the big birds, you have to find your piece of the sky.”

Learn More: How to Choose a Profitable Niche in 20 Minutes And Dominate Without Apology

Finally, don’t lose your vision. This is probably the most important thing I can say to you. Yes, you will be rejected. This notion that on the first day everyone has to come is unrealistic. What’s going to happen is a few people are going to interact with you, enough that they understand the value, they trust you to deliver the value and they pay you for it.

Like many things in life that are worthwhile, it doesn’t comes easily. But if you stick with the plan, the strategy, the journey, you will eventually succeed.

Question: What advice do you have for first-time business owners and entrepreneurs?