Starting your own business is an art as well as a science. It requires the creative thinking to design and implement marketing strategies and scientific study of market and competitors. It also needs the hard work and passion to sustain the business even when it is unprofitable in the short run. An entrepreneur should always have a long term vision, but the reason why most of the startups fail is the lack of a proper marketing method and lack of funds for its marketing. Following cost effective market Methods for startups should be used to overcome failure:
1) Identify the market and competitors: Identify what the market is and where it exists? What are the key marketing strategies being used by your competitors and the price tag and level of quality they are providing? Do the SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on the basis of these questions.
2) Never undervalue your product or service: Lowering the cost does not always increase the demand of a product or service .It depends on factors like the household incomes of the customers, their buying interests, quality of the product and the competitor’s pricing of substitute product. Under pricing may reduce the credibility and overpricing at the start is unacceptable. So, optimum pricing should be adopted.
3) Decide whether to give a Grand Opening or a Secret Opening :If you want to publicize your business at the launch and aim to make it big someday then go for a grand opening else go for a secret opening focusing more on your strengths of business rather than the number of years of its operation. Avoid giving false statistics as it may put you up into a legal action.
4) Use of social Media:Different sources like facebook, google+, orkut, linkedin, blogger, myspace, flipkart, ebay etc could be used. Also, use a personal website for the web presence of your business at an affordable cost .Online marketing, sales and customer support opens a new branch of marketing called “e-Marketing”.We have moved towards a virtual world and even a comment by a certified buyer over some social networking site like flipkart could make or break your sales figures.
5) Improve customer service: If you suffer from a poor customer service even an increase of customers through proper marketing strategies will not be retained and they would like to switch to your competitor for better services. Look if you could provide free home delivery, cash on delivery, bulk purchase discount etc.
6) Make strategic partnerships: Identify the key businesses and vendors relevant to your business and make strategic partnerships like if you are starting a small event management business then you could provide brand visibility for the media which could help you manage the costs of advertising and increase in popularity of the event.
7) Adopt a proper marketing strategy: There are three types of marketing strategies: Directional advertising, Creative Advertising and CTA (Call to Action) Advertising. Directional Advertising is directing your customers to buy your product or service. Creative Advertising is advertising through banners, sponsors, stickers etc. Call to Action Advertising is intended to urge the customer to directly buy your offered products and services .It is best suited to seasonal products.
8) Have a proper opening and closing strategy:
Opening Strategy: For correspondence with your customers adopt a opening strategy by adopting a mail of introduction to your product and services in such a way that it gives you an edge over your competitor like for the introduction of a new software you could introduce as:”Our product is based on the latest XYZ technology which increases its efficiency by 35% but also make a nominal increase in cost of 5% due to high labor and input costs incurred.”(This would give a justification to the stand of your product’s pricing and quality).
Closing Strategy: Send a confirmation mail after delivery of a product or service and ask your customer for a genuine feedback on a survey form using online and offline modes. Ensure him to include some of the customer’s suggestion in the future sales.
9) Avoid Over-expansion Expand your business as per your increase in sales and your ability to control its growing operations. Don’t just expand to extend.
Shivpratap Singh, MBA – BITS Pilani
- Hoxie, Mark. 90 Days to Success: Marketing and Advertising Your Small Business.