Getting started can be scary, overwhelming, and cause you to procrastinate. Here’s my advice on how to just dive in!
Lately, I’ve been reengaged with brand new start-ups again. I used to work with early-stage small businesses a lot back in 2015-2017. And in 2021, I’ve created relationships with some PA organizations that offer consultations to this group so it’s been fun to have these kinds of conversations again. Though, they are some of the most challenging. They either haven’t started marketing yet or if already operating a business they haven’t tracked enough data to make evidence-based marketing or business decisions. Or they don’t have any funds to test marketing on who they think is their ideal target buyers. I don’t mean to sound like Debby Downer but it’s a common conversation of not sure where to start or where to go, heavied with uncertainty and lack of clarity.
My biggest advice. Make calculated low-adverse to risk decisions, execute short-time frames, and test it. For example: If you’re not sure who your ideal buyer is, test it. Make a list of who you think they are (get my marketing plan workbook from the webinar for the persona worksheets) and aggressively seek them out and ask A LOT of questions.
In 2013 I made this video when I curated the national accountability group for independent creative business owners called the Designers Roundtable, and the topic that was always coming up was “how to niche” your business. Oddly enough, in 2021, this is still the heavy conversation not only in my group that is now under new ownership and called the Creatives Roundtable, but in many other business development resources such as 2X, Ugurus, CMO Moves, and small business development coaches and events.
The point is, take some time to work on:
- why you started your business
- who your business is made to serve
- test the market (buyers)
- collect their feedback
- make adjustments
- review the outcomes
You have to take into account the supply and demand of who you are trying to reach and the revenue you are trying to achieve. The bottom line, you have to know your audience as much as possible so that you can speak directly to them to make the greatest impact. You will have failures. That’s part of human nature. I wish I could wave a magic wand and offer you free and quick solutions that will give you the answers you crave – but it takes time, great investments, and depths of research to provide you the answers you need right now to make money right now. That’s market research, feasibility surveys, secret shoppers, focus groups, etc.
Small businesses and start-ups don’t have those kinds of reserves, however, they can take advantage of universities and colleges and their hives of research students who can do market research as part of their education. But this also comes at a price – the price of making sure you’re providing the best framework and guidance for them to fill in the best research that will help your business. If you don’t know that skeleton, then the data and research will not be as impactful.
All of these challenges are pointing to one thing. GET CLEAR. Even if you are unsure, you have to just start somewhere. Set a clear goal, niche your focus but don’t turn away other leads. Just because you have a niche doesn’t mean you say no to revenue buyers coming in. It just means that your marketing and business efforts are prioritized around focusing on specific targets.
Once the buyer types are tested and trusted. Marketing is almost fully charged with direction.
As always, if you need help digging in, just snag an Engage60 consultation with me.
Engage60 is a heavily packed 60-minute working engagement where we can dig in! The consultation will be an engaging conversation about your business, target audience, growth goals, and how to get there. In the high-energy consultation, we will create a list of marketing ideas inspired by the goals that will deliver you results. Clients love these meetings because it is a one-on-one consultation solely based on creating ideas that will help you reach your business’ goals and providing you with the resources and action steps you need to get it done. Learn more.