If your banker is not requesting a business plan to support your funding, then let me be the one to tell you, YOU NEED A BUSINESS PLAN! Within that plan, I’d like to share my specific recommendation for some key tactics that I feel belong in your marketing plan.
A new start up company needs creditability and proof that they have a viable business. In today’s marketplace, a website carries a lot of weight in telling people what your business is and why it is different from other like businesses. A great website is more than just an expanded business card or brochure, its a store front that allows customers, potential buyers, investors, friends, family and other important people to look into your “store.” By that, I don’t mean necessarily that you must have a store that sells retail items, but it certainly could be.
The information I share comes from first hand experience from three businesses that my family owns. I’d like to save you not just a lot of time, but some money by pursuing the rights steps initially. Specifically, you need an early presence on the internet, whether its a landing page or a full website design. Before you begin that process, its imperative that your logo, color scheme, etc. fits and is tailored to your target audience.
Key Marketing Tactics to incorporate are as follows:
1. Nail down your branding by developing a great logo, color scheme, etc. that fits your target customer and the type of people you want coming to your web site. Starting your website design without this planning is a waste of time and money so focus on your brand first.
2. Interview website design companies. You want a creative design team that can support your branding, website design, and social media marketing needs. Its important that you like the people and that you all share the same values and business acument.
3. Develop a strong social media marketing plan that includes blogging, Linkedin, and Facebook at a minimum. This is the key to getting your website found on the internet based upon Google algorithms. If you don’t have time, find someone that does as this is most important.
4. In the final stages, don’t get caught up in perfection. You will need to make ongoing improvements and changes. I’ve seen people work for a year fine-tuning their website and in the meantime they have lost potential customers and a ton of productivity.
If I were just starting a business today, (and I’ve started two) at the top of the list for sales and marketing would be a terrific website. The internet carries so much weight today and quite frankly, if you don’t have a quality website, you really are missing a key ingredient within your business plan. A start up must allocate a reasonable amount of funds for a well thought out web site. It doesn’t have to be perfect out of the chute, but you need a designer that can help you get the foundation correct, then you can make changes over time. The first step though is to ensure your branding is on target.
Whether its investors, future customers, or family and friends, people talk and you want them spreading the word about your business product and/or services and what your website is telling them. Your site should be responsive and compliment the personality and values you want your company to convey. As a first step, while you are still putting your thoughts on paper, I would ask my team to develop a landing page. This is not a full blown home page for a website but its a great way to start capturing potential clients and letting them know you are coming. It’s like putting a sign up on the fence while your store is under construction, educating passers by.
Good Luck and good selling!
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