This week Shooting Star attended the Love Lincolnshire Wolds business conference and met with inspiring local businesses that are driving tourism to the area. One of the key challenges many businesses seem to face is knowing what simple steps to take to effectively promote their business. This blog post addresses the challenges businesses can face and some simple tips to consider for growing your business.
The value of PR and marketing is often underestimated, and many businesses repeatedly prioritise other areas before considering their PR and marketing strategy. The marketing budget is usually the first to go but it should be viewed as part of your business development strategy, which will help your business to grow sustainably.
Earlier this year, a joint study by the Kauffman Foundation and Inc. found roughly two-thirds of the fastest-growing start-ups had failed. In many cases, companies take on too much too quickly (new clients, new products, new premises, new employees) and can fail to keep up with demand. Ultimately, the final nail in the coffin can be that the company’s internal and external messages become fragmented and confusing.
Make sure you lay strong foundations before building your house – and the same principle can be applied to your business. When starting a new business, it is important to consider your visual and written identity. Your company messages and branding must be clear and consistent from the get-go and integrated into your business strategy. For established businesses, knowing when to expand can often be a chicken and egg dilemma.
Consider these key pointers to help grow your business and achieve success:
- Do the research
- Know your business
- Targeted approach
- Don’t forget your employees
Starting your business is an exciting time and you have a great idea, but you need to do some research to understand your capabilities and find out the needs of your customers. For companies looking to move to the next level, research is equally important. Listen to others, gain feedback and don’t be afraid to ask advice of other companies, accountants, lawyers etc – and don’t forget to research your competitors! Market research should form part of your ongoing business strategy; as your business develops so should your PR and marketing strategy.
“The possession of a perfect knowledge of your business is an absolute necessity
in order to ensure success.” ― PT Barnum, American showman and businessman remembered for sensational promotion and publicity tactics.
It is essential to find out who your audiences are and understand their behaviour. What are your key company messages (try to stick to three consistent messages) and what are your key channels of communication? Make sure you establish key branding elements, both written and visual styles, and ensure that they remain clear and consistent throughout your communications.
There are many tools you can implement to get your messages across. However, business owners often find time is an enemy, so it is important to be strategic in the delivery of your communications.
Create a plan to help shape your ideas but keep it fluid! As your business develops you will find your strategy often takes a different direction; you might find that your product appeals to a market you hadn’t considered before or that your business is offering an additional product or service sooner than you anticipated. If your business isn’t online yet it should be! Having an attractive website and active social media channels should be in place at the very least, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. If your business is online, consider what else you can do to make yourself seen – for example, post regular content, use SEO or pay for online advertising.
Word of mouth is often the greatest power of persuasion and utilising your employees as brand ambassadors is a great way to promote your business. Value your staff, listen to their feedback and ignite their passion for your business with clear, consistent messages – you need to make sure they are delivering the correct messages. People listen to people and having your employees promote your products and services increases credibility in your business. Your employees also have a great reach to extended friends and family and an online social network that can be tapped into.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs.
Innovation does not have to mean a ground-breaking discovery. Try to think of smart and simple, unique ideas to promote your business. For example, the widely recognised #icebucketchallenge was created to raise awareness of ALS or motor neurone disease. The challenge went viral and saw donations increase from $2.8 million to more than $100 million.
Kick start your business with these simple pointers: know your business, keep it targeted, keep it simple. If you do need guidance on promoting your business, contact our team today on 01522 528540 or email.