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Opening and marketing your business Business Consultation and training centre « Lat. Consul» “ Social entrepreneurship for social change”, Nordplus adult Project ID AD-2012_1 a-30159
Opening and Marketing Before you open for business, make sure that all the elements of your business are in place. In order to do this we have provided a "Before you start" checklist for you to review and supplement with appropriate items
Before you start Opening for Business “Before you start” checklist Marketing Pinpoint your customers Recruit the "good" employees Train your employees thoroughly in marketing skills Check list for hiring and training of your marketing team What and how to buy How to buy checklist Marketing tools E-commerce Promotion and advertising Mailing lists Most Common Mistakes Checklist to avoid pitfalls
Opening for Business First Things First An opening check list is a great place to start. Remember that airline pilots are required to use a checklist before they take off! Here are items you should have on your opening checklist. Add additional items that would be appropriate for your own business.
“Before you start” checklist Have I focused on a specific product or service? As a general rule, specialists outperform non-specialists. Think about this in any field: retailers, real estate and food (where did you buy your last takeout pizza or chicken)? For example, if you open a doughnut shop, it would not be a good idea to sell ice cream during summer months when the doughnut business slows down. If you do both, you will lose the identity of being the very best in either one of them.
Before you start checklist
Will further specialization or focus improve my prospects for success? The more specialized, the better. Will my business be home-based? On-line? Storefront? Franchise? Have I acknowledged my competition and limitations? It may be hard to compete with Big Wales? F. e. "category killer" discount chains have powerful buying power and efficiencies of scale. Does your marketing plan serve a special niche?
Before you start checklist Do I have a one-year-cash flow projection prepared to insure there will be ongoing liquidity? Do I have the necessary ecommerce tools in place? Are all insurance policies in force? If I plan to sell on credit terms, is my credit rating policy in place to avoid taking on customers with poor credit ratings? (The last thing you need is to have customers who don't pay on time, and good customers will respect you for this policy).
Have I budgeted adequately for prototypes, research, sampling and trials? Have I successfully test-marketed my product or service? Was the response positive? (If not, you need to re-design, rework and re-test. ) Have I focused on selling a great product at a fair price rather than a fair product at a great price? ("Great product" suggests a product or service with pricing power and "fair product" suggests a commoditytype business more susceptible to competition)
Do I have all the communication, computer and other business tools in place? Do I have the skills to use them? Have I taken the time to gain practical job experience and learn the basics of my business by first working in the business for someone else? (This is probably the best way to discover if you have made a choice that will be not only successful, but also satisfying to you. )
Has my accountant fully explained the difference between hiring independent contractors and employees and the importance of compliance with worklplace legislation rules? (While my landscaper may be an independent contractor, in most cases my sales staff will be employees and I must conform to reporting and withholding requirements. )
Are the following elements of my business structure in place: Is my accounting and bookkeeping system in place? Accountant selected? Are my premises ready? This includes including having a signed lease and my tenant improvements completed. Have all permits and licenses been secured? Has the business name been registered?
Are computers, telephones, cell phones, fax and utilities operating? Are graphics for advertising and promotional materials ready? Is the website name registered and website on line? Is infrastructure in place for e-business, if appropriate? Are all security systems in place including protection of premises, etc. security?
Have I selected and trained the number of employees I will need? Have I determined my personal work schedule? Have I included my requirements for managers, consultants, independent contractors, agents and sales representatives?
What it Takes to Promote Sales You can benefit from their experience by copying successful marketing plans, including selling methods, pricing and advertising. Make a list of the most successful businesses that fall within your field of interest and study them (and even go to work for them). Visit these businesses and be prepared to ask the questions that are most important to you.
What it Takes to Promote Sales Learn as much as you can about the needs of your customers and how to gain feedback from them. For example, if you open a restaurant, a displeased patron will probably not complain because it is not a pleasant experience. Instead he will not return. (So, you must take care to inspect the plates as they are returned to the kitchen. )
What it Takes to Promote Sales Will your customers be looking for convenience, pricing, quality and/or service? It will be difficult to make sound marketing and promotional decisions without being informed on their real wants and needs. If a specific geographical area defines your market, low cost demographic reports based on the census can be obtained that will furnish information on population by race, income and home ownership. For resources that provide this information, go to "demographic data" on the Internet.
Finding the good employee Most employers agree: the toughest part of being an employer is finding and keeping good employees. Begin your search for the good employee as soon as you decide that you are going to be an entrepreneur. Define what you need from an employee. List the characteristics you require. Network: get the word out that you are looking for help. Develop and maintain sources for building your workforce. Consider family members, retired workers and students.
Finding the good employee Your customers need to feel confident that they are dealing with people who are knowledgeable and helpful. Five characteristics customers like most when dealing with a sales or service person are: Product or service knowledge Presentable appearance Courtesy Honesty Sincerity
Marketing Tools Your business name will announce who you are and what you stand for. A memorable logo also adds to your marketability. It will establish your name and brand recognition. It will enhance the image you wish to create. Your logo can be used on all company materials including stationery, business cards, brochures, website, gift boxes and shipping containers.
A good name is: Easy to remember Simple to spell and pronounce Clearly says what you do Stirs customer interest Doesn't confuse you with a similar business Has a positive ring to it Evokes a visual image Doesn't limit you to a geographical location or to a product
Logo A memorable logo also adds to your marketability. It will establish your name and brand recognition and enhance the image you wish to create. Your logo should be used on all of your company's materials including brochures, stationery, business cards, website, shipping containers and documents.
Advertising Getting the Right Message to the Right Audience Via the Right Media Your advertising plan becomes your blueprint for marketing. It will include your objectives, budget, media plan and creative approach. A basic rule in promotion and advertising is, "Do what you do best, and hire for what you don't. "
Advertising Discuss your advertising plan with your vendors. They may provide you with coop money if you follow their rules and make proper application for the money. Even the smallest advertiser can get up to half of their advertising costs reimbursed.
Choose media There are many types of paid media to deliver your message. Learn from the previous mistakes of your competitors. Find out and follow how your most successful competitors advertise and promote their products or services.
Choose media A few of the most commonly used are: Print (newspapers, magazines and newsletters) Radio Television, including cable Internet - social media, networks, ecommerce Yellow Pages Direct mail Trade shows
Mailing Lists Now, before your start your business, is the right time to begin developing a database of future customers you wish to target. This list can be used for direct mail, invitations and newsletters. Your database could include specific individuals, companies and groups by location. Begin now to: Join the Chamber of Commerce. Collect business cards. Collect names or mailing lists from your church, school, organizations and community groups. Get involved in your industry and community affairs.
Most Common Mistakes Made in Opening A Business Haste Lack of focus: specialize, specialize Lack of on-the-job experience Inadequate research and testing: test market first Lack of a well thought-out business plan Lack of working capital Unprofessional decor, theme, logo, stationery, attire, packaging, ads and website
Most Common Mistakes Made in Opening A Business Not opening quietly to work out the shortcomings Poor signs: signs should be big, clear and readable - simple is good Untrained staff Poor relationship with vendors Unfocused marketing plan Not using the advertising media that works best for your specific business Skimping on insurance Ignoring possible problems Not recognizing your limitations