Now that you have learnt how to successfully structure and run your business, as well as hearing some horror and success stories of business partnerships, you should be in a place where you are ready to get your business out there.
Let’s try a little mental exercise:
Today is “Launch Day” – you have opened for business today, but no one out there knows you exist. So what are you going to do to let them know? What you can do probably depends on what your business is, but will be a “cocktail” of the list below:
- Word of mouth
- Launch party
- Press release
- Promotional offer
- Trade show/exhibition
- Business cards
- Traditional networking
- Social networking – e.g. LinkedIn
- Promotional gift or gadget
- Direct marketing (mail, e-mail, telephone)
Networking is so important it will have its own section shortly.
And a few words on websites: Five years ago I would have said that a website was a “nice to have” on launch day, as opposed to a “need to have”. Things have moved on and if you are going to be taken seriously you really need one, however minimalist.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, if you launch your business and don’t have a website you run the risk that your potential clients will question your seriousness. Secondly, increasingly it is becoming the icebreaker conversation if you are meeting somebody new. If I meet somebody at a networking event, and we agree to meet up at a later date, the opening conversation at the subsequent meeting often relates to the website. If you don’t have one you take away the icebreaker conversation.
Routes to Market
- You should have more than one of these. The obvious route to market is people who will buy direct from you, or direct marketing.
- The second route to market is people who will refer prospects to you, in the expectation that you will do the same for them, also known as reciprocal indirect marketing.
- The third route is people who would be prepared to sell on your behalf, i.e. they would introduce clients to you but they would expect to be paid in some way. This is what we call fee-based indirect marketing.
- The fourth route is people who do something that is either similar to you or complementary to you, with the result that you can sell alongside them and the two of you can win business together that you could not win on your own. You each help the other.
- And finally, the fifth route is networks that you could join with the specific purpose of building relationships and promoting your business. This would be the biggest change for most people, but it could also well be your biggest source of business.
Which takes us on to networking…something we will cover in the next article! Until then you can always contact me with any queries you have on routes to market and launch days.