Search This Blog

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Starting a business? Marketing tools for the successful SME

Starting a business is no mean fit. You will probably be spending sleepless nights crafting the idea for your business and trying to make sense of all of the information and advise you receive from friends and families. Research has shown that upto 70% of business startups do not carry forward to the next year. Most businesses close down within the first year and many more in their second and third years. This is no motivation for anyone wishing to join self employment. When you imagine the comfort and perks that come with a salary, one then realizes it is better to stay put. Many other people in business will try the balancing act of working for their employers whilst running a business on the side. This is totally understandable when the person is the bread winner or requires capital for the business.

Nontheless, I am here to provide solutions not add to your problems. Now that you have gone through the onerous task of registering your business, you will then have to get clients for your products and/or services. Let's assume you operate a wholesale store (selling products is always easier than selling services because people like to see immediately what it is they are buying). You will most definitely get walk-in clients, especially if you are situated in a prime location. Your marketing strategy will probably consist of the traditional tools and techniques: Distribution of brochures, posters and/or pamphlets, advertising in the newspaper(s), giving offers for the first 50 or so clients. But what happens when you are in a crowded market, where your organization's products and services are not specialized? You have to work smarter than your competitor to clinch that ever elusive deal. Great customer service would work to your advantage as all clients like to feel that they are appreciated and they will spend their money where they are treated like a king. What happens when you are selling services? Selling services requires loads of patience. Consultancy services require years of experience, which the start-up may not have. Therefore, the business owner will rely heavily on the expertise of lecturers, friends and business partners to get business. This will boost the business' credibility in the eyes of the clients. However, the start-up consultant has at his/her disposal knowledge acquired from the classroom and this, combined with a good presentation, can be sufficient in getting business. In this digital edge, the start-up consutant enjoys the advantages that come with the Internet and the wide pool of online clientele. With a little experience, the consultant can create a online niche which he/she can market to using: email marketing -using a database of emails from friends and families or have a sign-up form on the website that clients can register for e-newsletters; Internet Marketing-using free advertising sites such as to advertise services or products; Mobile Marketing-starting with friends and families who can give referrals; Content Marketing-contributing to newspaper, magazine articles that serve the cause of the company or blogging.

To the start-up SME, the choices are in abundance and the sky is the only limit.