Things You Should Know Before You Market Your Startup

Marketing a new small business is hard, especially if you have a small team (or a small business of one).

Photo: Dana Sellers, Founder of Gray Capital Solutions; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Dana Sellers, Founder of Gray Capital Solutions; Source: Courtesy Photo

Marketing a new small business is hard, especially if you have a small team (or a small business of one). If you are still early in your entrepreneurship journey, you probably have some basic parameters to guide your marketing decisions.

But before you jump in, take a look at these tips to maximize your efforts. Here’s a look at common themes I’ve observed from recent clients, activities and ideas that will prevent wasted time and effort.


Your first clients come one at a time.

It is important to get in the trenches with your clients by reaching out and engaging with each one personally. Put in the work to find, understand, win and keep them, one by one. This part is not scalable. However, every company, no matter how big or successful, started this way. This process is slow, but purposeful work.


Research and development will help you hit your target.

Of course, you want to speak to your target market in a way that resonates with them. However, in almost every market, there are so many ways to communicate with people, they might not think the information is aimed at them, so they keep looking to find something that is. Therefore, you also need to focus on who your target market isn’t. You want to avoid attracting them. Then, make sure your communications are aimed at that too.


Don’t try to recreate the wheel.

Achieving small business success is hard. Don’t make it harder by starting from scratch. Your marketing doesn’t have to be revolutionary to be groundbreaking. Some of the best businesses come from slight changes to existing solutions. I’m not saying you should steal other people’s ideas. However, when you find something interesting, save it. Then, when you need to create your own version of it later, you can use it as a reference. Take inspiration from different sources and create something new of your own.


Focus your marketing channels.

In 2015, there are so many marketing channels available that it can be quite overwhelming. If you try to do everything at once, you won’t make a dent in any of them. So, focus on a one (or a few). Companies like Groupon and Hubspot have had great success this way. Find out where you are getting the most traction and focus your efforts there. How do you know which channels to focus on? Let’s talk.


Automation is no good without systems.

Don’t worry about marketing automation software just yet. As a new small business, you need to focus on having a marketing system in place first. The most successful businesses aren’t successful because of their tools. They are successful because they built a system that worked. Tools make out lives easier but only once you’ve built a system to base if from.


The ‘right time’ is elusive and never comes.

Lastly, there s never going to be a “right time”. Start anyway. Don’t wait. Start now.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Dana Sellers is a business development consultant and the founder of Gray Capital Solutions, a full-service consulting firm that focuses on the growth and development of startups and small businesses. Connect with @graycapsolns on Twitter.


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