This is a guest post by Karen.
Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @boyarskykareni.
Starting a Business? Overlooked Advertising Methods to Start Right
Starting your own business can be an exciting time in your life. From having a boss to being the boss it’s a big change but a step in the right direction. You will be in control of every decision that must be made in order to start and run your business smoothly. Most importantly you will be responsible for the decisions associated with advertising your new business. You can’t make money if nobody knows you are there.
In the business world today there are several outlets for advertising, both online and offline. Those who adapt to today’s technology and consumer trends will be successful. Those who don’t will find it difficult to create impact now and in future. There are the obvious methods of advertising such as billboards, flyers, TV and radio commercials, and ads in the newspapers and magazines. However, there are other methods that are often overlooked. When you are mapping your marketing strategy, take these overlooked methods of advertising into consideration.
Advertising on cars used to be seen mostly in the custom car industry. Now you can see cars advertising everything from tax services to websites. For your business a low cost car wrap can be a rolling billboard. You can fit it with your brand, logo, contact information, and even products. The space on a car or van is vast enough to get all the information you want to market in a single wrap.
Social media may not be overlooked by many larger companies, but many smaller businesses don’t want to invest the time and effort into properly utilizing the various social networks. This is a huge mistake as the following of social networks is in millions. By creating a company Facebook page, Twitter account and Google Plus account, you can spread your message, services and products globally and for free. Out of all the companies worldwide, only 21,655 companies utilizing Facebook, a few more on LinkedIn. That means there is plenty of room for competition.
When you see a blue shirt with a yellow name tag, you think about Best Buy. When you see the brown shirts with the brown shorts, you know its UPS. Employee uniforms are a great way to get the public thinking about your business.
With the average commute time in the US being between 25-35 minutes, your brand can be seen coming and going from work. Employee uniforms can be seen during lunch breaks, running errands before and after work, and throughout your business. This is a low cost method of advertising with a one-time cost. You can order your uniform shirts online with your brand, like those offered over here.
If you have never heard of street team you may be an innovator in your area. Many larger cities have teams of promoters that hit the streets to spread the word about their businesses. These upbeat cheerleaders draw crowds, engage the public, and get you message across. You can choose to pay per sale, per signup, per lead, or a base salary. Their overall intention is to get your local public to think about what you have to offer face to face. Creating a street team is as simple as hiring people or an established street team. ProMotion outlined 20 tips for planning a street team promotion. Though many street teams promote clubs and social events, every business can benefit from promoters getting the word out.
It seems every industry has a convention. Yours will be no different. Participating in conventions and industry gatherings is a great way to promote your brand. Research your industry and sign up where yearly conventions are held. Creating a booth to showcase your products or services to the public is a great way to generate leads. Exhibit USA offers tips on attending and budgeting for your first convention. As with anything else, it is all about location. Signing up early for a convention in your industry may give you the optimal booth space for converting the passer-by into a lead.
Everyone loves getting something for free. Swag is a small branded gift you hand out to generate leads. The most common include everything from pens, to refrigerator magnets, to USB flash drives. They are inexpensive, useful, and keep your potential customers thinking about your company whenever they use or see it. Swag is a necessity if you decide to attend a convention or event. Simply explaining your company will leave room for forgetting. You can order swag for a fair price depending on what type you choose and the overall effectiveness in marketing makes up for the cost.
Starting your own business doesn’t have to leave you in the dark. You know what you want to sell, the brand you want to create, and with research, effort and a little startup cost, you can know how to market it. Consider alternative methods of marketing your brand, products and services as you utilize the more obvious to have a well-rounded marketing strategy.
Coming up with a good business idea is not all that difficult. The challenge lies in determining whether that idea is the right fit for you. There is no one size fits all rule here but just some pointers to help you figure out whether this idea you are toying with or committed to is the right thing for you. 4 parameters I think every business owner can use are:
1. You Can use Your Skills
Any business you establish should ideally let you use your skills; these may or may not be your academic qualifications. For instance you write well and can use your writing skills to work as a writer from home. You can draw and paint so turning graphic designer or illustrator is a good idea.
Nothing stops a banker from turning author so what are you waiting for? Sit down and list your skills to create a repository of business ideas that might be the right ones for you.
2. You Enjoy Doing It
Making money is the goal of all businesses but a sustainable business idea is one which you enjoy doing day in and day out. If you love cooking then a mobile food business or a restaurant is the right business for you. In case you love baking then churning out designer cupcakes probably is the thing to do.
Begin by asking yourself whether you will enjoy doing what you think is a good business idea. If the answer is yes then go for it. If it is no then ask yourself what you will enjoy doing from a business point of view.
3. You See Yourself Doing This Long Term
I learnt this lesson a long time ago, I was stuck in a job where I sat behind a desk, worked on reports, printed them out, faxed details and frankly I hated the three months I did it. I knew then that I did not see myself doing it long term. That I believe should be the guiding principle when you choose to do business as well. Are you going to do this for the next six months? A year? More?
If the answer is yes then it indicates your comfort level with the idea and there is a good chance that you will excel at the business should you choose to do it.
4. It’s Doable For You With or Without
Most small businesses start out with just one person at the helm of affairs. Sometimes 2-3 like minded folks come together to launch a startup. Knowing whether you can do a certain business means evaluating whether it’s doable for you with or without: a partner, a co-founder, a loan, and other people believing in your idea.
What I’m saying here is evaluate whether you are committed to doing what you set out to do independently if you have to. Will you be alright on your own? That is the key.
Choosing a business idea is not only about determining resources required it is about matching the founder and the idea. Once they fit the rest will fall in place.
Today I’m breaking away from my usual style of writing; I want to write something different yet related to doing business. I think movies are inspired by life and life inspires movies. The relationship works both ways. Books are inspired by life and sometimes books are turned in to movies.
Bestselling author Chetan Bhagat’s book the 3 mistakes of my life was recently adapted to create a Bollywood film called “Kai Po Che” which in Gujarati means to cut or break away. As I watched the film I couldn’t help but think just how many business lessons were hidden in this film. Here are 8 business lessons from Kai Po Che
Finding a Profitable Niche
The film is about three friends who set out to run a sports shop and an academy in the precincts’ of a temple in a small town set in India. The film opens with one of them trying to get another’s father to invest in their business. When he asks him why he thinks the shop is a good idea, he says because when people come to the temple they usually bring their kids along. What better draw than a sports shop?
Simple logic used to find a profitable niche. Find a gap in the market, look around whether there’s adequate potential and meet that need with a product or service.
Having a Good Team in Place
The trio in this film is a good team simply because they are good friends to begin with but they are also fully aware of each other’s weaknesses. Their respective strengths make them what they are a good core team. One is a star cricketer and chief coach of the academy, the other is well connected politically and the third takes care of the cash while acting as a mediator and the sounding board during troubled times.
The importance of teamwork in business can never be underestimated. Capitalizing on each one’s strengths while dealing with weaknesses gently but firmly is necessary.
The Balancing Act
The film has several events that call for a balancing act. Sometimes when things reach boiling point between the core team other times when team members seem to think on different lines. It’s all about striking the right balance instead of running away.
Taking a Risk
When the trio chooses to set up a sports shop in a small town it is a risk. But choosing sports as a business opportunity is the correct decision albeit a risky one for all three of them. They take it despite the odds.
When opting for a business opportunities take the road less travelled. It might be risky but its will be worth the effort.
Knowing Which Connections to Use
A few occasions in the film require the protagonists to tap their connections, convince people and get their work done. While one of the friends has a politically connected uncle who steps in when they are looking for space and finance, I’m not suggesting using politicians to get work done is the way out but finding the person who can help you is critical.
Retaining Your Identity
The pitfalls of taking help from a political figure are also experienced by the trio. In this case they try to iron out differences and get their work done without direct confrontations. They know it is a risk but keeping their identity is something they strive to do.
Knowing Your Worth
Knowing your worth as far as quality you deliver and the price you demand in return for it is important. People will not value your work if you don’t value it yourself. That’s the lesson that shines out when they make a presentation about coaching and talent grooming at a school. The school tries to get their services for cheap but they refuse to comply. In the end they get the contract by simply knowing their own worth and refusing to accept anything less.
Refusing to Compromise
All through the film there are instances where one protagonist or the other refuses to compromise on his ethics, beliefs and values. This indicates the importance of no compromise on critical issues. If you don’t feel it’s right, just don’t do it. Listen to your own voice.