It’s your first year of business and your passion and positivity are at a high. Perhaps you started with a highly developed business plan, or you’re an entrepreneur working day and night to bring a concept to life. Maybe, having been liberated from the daily grind of working for someone else, you now want to trust in the universe to provide? Well, having witnessed each approach, they all have one thing in common; it’s impossible to predict where your main source of business is going to come from.
Every entrepreneur and small business owner knows that Marketing is vital, for most, it also sits somewhat uncomfortably outside of their wheel-house… a necessary evil. Should your leads not come to fruition in the short term, it’s natural to seek guidance or start making small additions to your marketing approach. But much like driving to the beach on the hottest day of the year, you soon realize that you weren’t the only one with that bright idea; small business marketing can be over-saturated and underwhelming.
But the realization that there is no ‘right’ answer to business development is the first step to an approach that will pay back – The unknown is about the only thing you can bank on.
Take a moment and think about what that actually means.
Perhaps some of the following came up for you:
I may already have a key business lead within my network
That follow-up phone call could be the one that gets through
Business could be anywhere
A big lead will come when I least expect it
The right place at the right time could be here and now
Embracing the unknown fuels you to get out into the world and create opportunity. Opportunities only you have access to… the people YOU know, experience and inspiration that only YOU have been privy to. It leads to a way of marketing your business as only YOU can. And it begins when you open yourself up to being curious.
What more can you learn about your target market?
You want to relate to your audience beyond a surface level, so seek out opportunities to get a clearer picture of how your business can meet their needs. What are their hopes and dreams? What challenges and insecurities do they have? Use research, surveys, and trial to receive valuable feedback. Every interaction you have is an opportunity to grow awareness, to connect and to learn.
Can you leverage your new community?
Your new community is going to be your first point of call for inspiration, and networking is an opportunity to open conversation and build rapport with like-minds. Networking events are not sales channels. I repeat, do not attend a networking event to get customers. Instead, look out for interest groups and engage in follow-up coffee meetings for bonding and sharing rather than selling opportunities.
What does the future of your industry look like?
Whether or not you want to be a thought-leader, the future of your industry is how you stay relevant. Tap into digital groups, training resources and conferences to spark new ideas and stay at the top of your game. Look out for and learn from the competition so that you are prepared to fine-tune your offering where appropriate. Speak to industry leaders with a curiosity that leaves a lasting impression.
In short, when it comes to marketing your new business, relying on ‘norms’ might feel like a safe option, but often leads to unrealistic expectations and unnecessary pressure. Instead, a ‘constantly curious’ approach to business development is open-minded and fueling, it engages contacts in thought-provoking conversations that lead to new opportunities, an enhanced offering and a deeper level of engagement that only YOU can create.
So, if you’re wondering whether your approach to Marketing is right, think about how you can keep channels of communication open rather than looking to 'close'. Stay curious and breathe new life into your marketing plan with every new interaction. Not only will it keep the passion you have for your business alive, it will increase the chance of eventually basking in your own unique spot in the sun as you turn your potential audience into advocates.