Do you have a marketing plan? You don’t? Then
you’d better get one. If you don’t have a road map for targeting the right product to
the right people in the right way, keep your website on MySpace and start buying truckloads
of lottery tickets. Consumers really want to know one thing – how
will using your product or service benefit them? Will it solve a problem they have? Will
it make their lives better? For example, most cars today are comfortable, reliable, and
get great gas mileage. But if you want something that will also make you look cool, you’re
not going to be shopping for a SmartCar. When you get an idea for a product or service,
the first hard questions you should ask yourself are “Who is my target market and what do they
want?” Not everybody is going to want or need what you have to sell. That’s why finding
this out is essential. So how do you find out who your customers
might be and what they want? Interrogate them while holding battery cables? Uh, no. You
do market research. That’s what the Big Boys and Girls do. They know their customers and
prospects inside and out – their income, ethnicities, gender, age range, where they live, even their
bowling averages. Learn everything you can about them because that’s what your competitors
do. Use Google, Amazon and other sites to do research. The Big Boys and Girls do that,
too. You’ve also got to know who, what and where
your competitors are and what they’re doing successfully. Find that out, then do it better.
This way, you’ll know the answers before you’re asked questions like:
– How is your product or service better than what I’m already using or what the guy down
the street is selling out of his trunk? – Is the price of your product or service
competitive or should I wait for your “Going out of business” sale?
– Will you support your product with great customer service or will I have to go on Google
to see how to fix what you sold me? Another reason you need to do market research
– applying for a loan. Lenders want to feel confident you know what you’re doing and that
you won’t use their money to buy out all the seats at the Super Bowl.
Want to know what the biggest red flags are for lenders? Entrepreneurs who say they have
no competition, they beat everyone else’s price or have the highest-quality product
out there. Be ready to prove any claims you make. A few minutes on the computer can either
support your statements… or show that you probably shouldn’t be out in public without
adult supervision. . You’ll also need to get the word out about
your product or service. Even if you have a store, a website is mandatory. Websites
are business cards, brochures, branding, retail stores, information resources, catalogues,
and advertising all combined. Truth is, if you don’t have a website, you’re really not
in business. It’s like you don’t even exist. Whether you sell globally or locally, to survive
in this constantly changing entrepreneurial environment you need a marketing plan. Once
your initial marketing research is done, stay on top of it. If you adapt to the various
changes you’ll encounter along the way, you’ll greatly increase your chances for success.
Oh, and one last thing: when you need help, we’re here for you!