It’s a big world of opportunity for the small business entrepreneur: plenty of chances to learn, grow and earn, especially when you realize that there are 27 million entrepreneurs in the U.S. and the number of people starting their own business increased by 150,000 in 2017, the fourth consecutive annual increase, with more than three-quarters of these new business owners over 40 years of age. It’s also a competitive world in terms of money, talent and training:
- About half of all small businesses fail within the first four years.
- Incompetence, not cash flow, accounts for nearly half of all business failures.
- More than 80% of entrepreneurial start-up money comes from the owner, their family or friends.
- More than a quarter of all start-ups failed to get the funding they sought after starting their business.
With so much professional and personal investment on the line, the new entrepreneur needs a solid marketing base to present themselves and their business to prospective clients, providing the best start the day the doors open. Here are five marketing basics every entrepreneur needs to embrace before their new career begins:
Learn how to market yourself
Few entrepreneurs understand the art of placing themselves in front of clients, conquering their fears and selling their skills as the best. Fearless Entrepreneurship is a program designed to teach new business owners how to function and thrive as a business, with rules for managing the financial, personal and business aspects of life as an entrepreneur while rethinking potential roadblocks and challenges as opportunities, turning a client’s “No” into “Where do I sign the contract?”.
Understand and embrace social media
You know Facebook and Twitter, but can you use them to market your business? There’s a significant difference between posting photos from your weekend beer-and-football bash and showcasing your business achievements on their separate small business channels. And there are many other websites, some industry, and business-specific, that an entrepreneur needs to master. Social media also includes a company app for clients who want to work on projects, speak privately with your staff, make payments and upload contract and other documents. It’s time-consuming to keep up with different sites; set aside a specific time each day to post or update your website, or consider outsourcing the work to a freelancer with social media experience.
Conferences, professional memberships, and meetings
These outside the office events are an investment of time and money, and worth both: at these events, you meet other entrepreneurs just starting out or further along in the process, and you share stories, relive mistakes and feed off each other’s energy and enthusiasm. You network and connect at these events, exchange emails and business cards and later on, when you’re scouting new clients, raising more capital or in need of a reference, you have a digital (or real) Rolodex© of contacts. These gatherings build your social capital, creating the groundwork for negotiating when a favor is needed or it’s time to thank someone for their assistance.
Public speaking and professional writing
It’s difficult to communicate your company’s abilities and skills if you cannot speak and write clear business English. First-year college-level course in both spoken and written English are a small price to invest when you consider the consequences possible in misunderstood verbal communication and the reaction to misspellings in letters, emails and legal documents. When clients hear and see perfection in the basic stages of discussion and negotiation, they gain confidence in your ability to handle their business.
Paper still plays a role: the professional handouts
In a digital world, it’s all about exchanging texts, emails and phone contacts via smartphone, employing less paper. This method saves money, time and trees, but there is still a need for professionally printed marketing materials. At a seminar, conference, class, lecture, dinner, sporting event or community gathering, the opportunity to introduce yourself and your business to people unfamiliar with either will arise. Business cards and promotional material gives visual credence to your company; it’s a concrete introduction that says “I am here to work with you and my talents and skills are what you need.”
I am an entrepreneur, Certified Professional Speaker, business creator, and philanthropist, and I am driven to help you succeed in business. My successes date from my teenage years, and while my business interests have changed, my desire to grow and improve and help my clients do the same has not changed. Contact me to find out how my experience can help you exceed your expectations.