Brower: So you want to market your business? Plan it first.
August 8, 2018
As more and more tourists pour into Grand County during this busy summer of 2018 it's clear that all local businesses need to work hard at standing out in the crowd.
That is in the crowd of local businesses and in the crowd of needy tourists.
With that in mind, it pays to remember that it doesn't do a small business any good to have the greatest product and service in the world if nobody knows about it.
That seems self-evident, doesn't it?
But the truth is that many people in the business world — both people starting up and existing businesses — don't really appreciate all the real-life implications of letting "the world" know about their businesses.
Even I myself in the course of my work helping people start or expand businesses in Grand County need to be reminded of the critical importance of "letting the world know."
It's impossible to tell the world about a business effectively if a person can't simply and succinctly explain what it is they do or sell. Even better, it helps to explain it in a way that uniquely defines the business so it stands out in the minds of all those people out there in the world.
As a person plans his or her business this is a critical consideration. In writing a business plan the very first section is something called the executive summary. This part of a plan should contain a simple, clear and unique description of what the business sells or offers. This is extremely important because the executive summary is the "selling" part of a business plan. It's the part that makes a potential lender, investor or other interested party to read on and take an interest in the business.
The description is also critical because it must be merged with the marketing plan section of the overall business plan. It incorporates the business description and unique position into every single aspect of the marketing. This includes the concept of the business, its name and the way it is marketed.
When I say the way it is marketed I mean every aspect of messaging. Advertising, tweeting and social media chatting has to incorporate the business's purpose and how it is unique in the market place. This messaging must be consistent and distinctive. By consistent I mean the name of the business and its brand must incorporate the key business message. Any web page must have the key message phrases built into keywords and hidden text, in headlines, body copy and in photo or graphic captions. Any blogging on the site must incorporate the unique message that simply and clearly states what the business does that makes it unique.
Any advertising — whether it's print in a newspaper, TV, radio, flyers, graffiti, bumper stickers or sky writing — has to include the key messaging, all the time. Any person-to-person interaction (word of mouth) that involves mention of the business has to include this concise business description.
So the name of a business and its key message is of critical importance.
In my opinion, any good marketer will take a lot of time right of the bat helping a business understand what it is they sell or do and how to make that service or product stand out as unique. But first that requires some careful soul searching so that the owner or entrepreneur can really drill down on what his or her business is all about.
Some people may balk at paying for time with a marketer that seems to be nothing more than an initial encounter and brainstorming. But if a marketer knows what he or she is doing, they are getting down to the essence of the business and coming up with a brand, image and key phrase that clearly and succinctly expresses what that business is about. This is not easy to do but it is of critical importance. This then evolves toward logo development and hiring of staff that reflects the vision behind the basic business mission.
People will get caught up in all the different types of marketing and advertising there are out there. But it all must be driven by one key question: What is your business and what makes it unique?
The answer to that question should inspire any business plan and the business itself.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.