Whether you run your own business, or are working your way up the ladder within your company, marketing your company’s brand or your skill sets has become more important than ever before. Both facets of marketing (entrepreneurial and individual in business), have specific nuances and challenges that can derail you if you don’t have a solid strategy in place.
Marketing Tips for the Entrepreneur
Starting your own business is one of the most challenging undertakings, yet millions of people take that exhilarating leap each year. In an entrepreneurial setting, taking ideas and visions from concept to consumer comes with the potential for great success and huge risk. Some key points to remember as an entrepreneur:
Do your research. You want to ensure there is a need for your product or service before you invest precious time, energy, and capital into a venture.
Create a solid business plan. Your business plan will be the roadmap for your organization’s journey to success and profitability. Your business plan is also what investors will review to determine whether or not your idea is worth the potential invested capital. Your plan needs to be detailed, clear, and realistic.
Spend extra time and care on creating a strong marketing plan. Unless you’re buying a franchise with the power of a well-recognized name already in play, you will need to generate a consumer base and capture market share from existing competitors.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many professionals who can help you build concrete business and marketing plans; trust me, this can be money well spent.
The ability to determine your company’s strengths and opportunities within the industry, while at the same time discovering any weaknesses or threats to your success, is a crucial first step in the marketing process. If you’re a small operation in an industry dominated by larger, more established companies, finding a niche market or an advantage that sets your business apart from the rest is critical. As an entrepreneur, a realistic amount of capital dedicated to your marketing plan and a strategy for successful implementation will ensure the most “bang for your buck.” Determine your target audience and the marketing medium that is likely to make the greatest impact.
Marketing Tips for the Individual
When trying to climb the ladder of success, many of us fail to realize how marketing our strengths and skill sets can be just as effective as a company marketing their product or service. The days of being “tapped” or a “shoe in” for a promotion have all but dwindled away. With more skilled, educated, and experienced people looking for work, many resumes look the same on the surface, with everyone having the same credentials. Your goal is to stand out from the crowd and marketing yourself well can help you achieve that necessary differentiation. Some tips to remember:
Be confident and proud of your accomplishments, but not arrogant.
Keep your resume up to date, being sure to add any relevant information; such as certifications, volunteer experience, and organization memberships.
Volunteer for projects at work that are outside of your current scope or responsibility.
Learn the art of neutrality. You may work with someone with whom your personality clashes; make every effort to leave personal emotions out of the workplace. Your ability to “get along” with everyone and your even temperament will be seen as an asset.
Send a weekly or monthly email to your supervisor recapping your accomplishments for that time period.
Never forget, you should be your most fervent cheerleader, always prepared to talk about several accomplishments achieved in the past year. This is helpful if your company practices self-appraisals as part of their annual review process, or if you happen to be seated next to an executive of the company during an event.
Lastly, one of the most important things you can do to help boost your small business or career is networking. While some say this practice is disingenuous and cliché, networking (when orchestrated correctly) can give you the marketing boost you need, and at the same time provide connections that may prove to be beneficial in the future.