It’s tougher than ever to start a small business these days. It seems like everybody has their own business these days, whether it’s an individual cutting lawns during the summer season or a group of friends that build an innovative technology company from the ground up. One of the hardest things about starting any business can be competing in a fully saturated market. Statistics everywhere are telling us that approximately 80% of new businesses fail within the first year or two. So where does one even start?
Sell a Refrigerator to an Eskimo
I’m sure just about every sales person in the world has heard this pitch, in some way or another. This isn’t in any way making fun of any group of people; it’s simply a phrase to make you think outside the box.
Why would anyone in such a cold climate need a refrigeration device? Know your selling strengths. Build and perfect those strengths to the point that when you pitch your product or service, your potential customer is instantly captivated and drawn to a state where they go from not wanting the product, to wanting the product, and finally, to needing the product.
Getting to this point in your career, however, does not happen overnight. For some people it takes years of hard work, stressful days, and sleepless nights, but like anything you put time and energy into, the end result is definitely worth the effort.
Getting the Lead on the Competition
Do your homework. Whatever your business is, you will have competitors. Find out where and how they are advertising. Discover their points of interest and build on them, making your product or service better than theirs, but also come up with some of your own. Look at pricing. As a small, one person business, can your prices compete with a large national or global entrepreneur? If you can undercut the competitor’s prices, make sure it cost effective. Don’t undercut so much that you run yourself into debt or out of business.
Getting the Word Out
Your competition may be local or global, but be creative and unique in how you advertise. No one wants to see the same advertisement for different companies, whether it is a commercial on the TV or radio, or a web page on the internet. It is human nature for people to see an ad for ABC Inc., and then see an ad with the same layout and structure for XYZ, LLC and completely ignore it. If I am looking for a specific service online and I come across a webpage that has the same layout as one I just saw, I don’t even let the page fully load; I just close it out and move on. Think outside of the box and come up with a fresh perspective for your advertisement. Use the tools that you know work.
More companies are shying away from traditional sources like the want ads in the newspaper, and are moving more towards online sources and social media when hiring.Social media is a great place to start advertising your business, whether you are a small business or even starting out large. Create a Facebook page and request people to ‘like’ it.
Twitter, LinkedIn, and Craigslist are also good places to list your goods or services, but never forget, ‘word of mouth’ is the most effective advertisement available to you. Someone can see what they feel is the greatest advertisement in the world and be dead set on buying from that company, but if a friend tells them good things about another company that offers the same goods or services, most of the time they will take their friends advice and go with the alternative company.
Alice Jenkins writes about social media, small business branding and fashion design for PensXpress.com. She is an avid pen collector who also enjoys throwing darts on the weekends. Image courtesy FaceMePLS