Many people are starting their own businesses, and you may be thinking about it too. The lure of controlling how you spend your time, money, and energy is motivating more of us to become entrepreneurs. And the range of businesses is very broad – from home based jewelry and craft businesses, to restaurants, skin care, computer/technology and law offices.
Seven years ago, we created DKS Consulting Group to provide career coaching and small business consulting to individuals in transition. Although we each had 20 plus years experience in our respective fields of psychology, management consulting and law, we had much to learn about promoting and marketing a small business. Here are three things we learned about moving a small business forward:
1. Is it vitamins or aspirin? Ask yourself, is the product or service I am providing something people want, like vitamins, or something people really need, like aspirin? (When you have a headache, you really need an aspirin). This question is really important. When the economy is flush, people spend a lot of money on things they want. But, when times are tough, people tend to pull back and spend mainly on things they need. The bottom line is that during a recession, it is easier to sell a product or service that people really need. You can still create a business based on something people want – just understand that you will have to invest extra time, energy, and money to market it.
2. You may have a great idea, but does anyone know about it? You may have a brilliant concept, a unique service, or a gorgeous product, but if no one knows about it, they are not going to buy it. There are many great ways to market your business that don’t cost a lot of money. A simple but professional looking website is the place to start. Creating a Facebook group, writing a blog, and sending email newsletters and promotions are easy and effective ways to get the word out.
3. Is it What you know, or Who you know? Answer: What you know is important, but it’s Who you know that will catapult your business from great idea to profitable enterprise. And, we believe that it’s important to network with anyone who will meet with you. Over time, we have learned that people who you least expect to be helpful for your business, turn out to be just the ones who help you move it forward. Ask the mom who volunteers with you in the classroom to have coffee and learn that she has a friend who owns a store and is dying to have your product. Networking is essential to getting your product or service promoted.
Network with us on our blog and share the lessons you have learned about promoting your business!