All business owners approach starting a business in different ways. Some talk about their ideas for years and eventually start, while others will just start trading with barely a word. The work of getting your business known falls under the umbrella of marketing. Marketing your business is just as important as building the product, and should be something you’re working on from the get-go. Unfortunately, for many people new to the business world, marketing is the thing you think of as an after-thought. And we understand why too, you have 10,000 things on your to-do list, and no time to do them.
What are 5 things you can do to promote your business straight away?
Many of these ideas will be dependent upon your business and your target audience. None of them will replace working with a marketing expert to identify your target audience and developing appropriate messaging for each target market, but they’re a kick-start.
1. Develop your Capability Statement
A capability statement is a useful tool for all businesses that are working in a B2B space – you will definitely need one to apply for tenders. Developing a capability statement gives you an opportunity to really think about your business, services, and what you’re literally ‘capable of’.
As your business grows and develops, your capability statement will need to be changed and updated as well.
2. Establish your social media outposts
As much as I’m an advocate, I do know that not all businesses NEED to be on social media – or at least not on EVERY platform.
If your target market is CEOs of major Tier 1 businesses, then whether your little business has a Facebook page or not isn’t going to make a lot of difference to your business. But having a presence across the key social media platforms is one way to generate brand awareness (the extent to which consumers are familiar with your goods and services) and it’s great for SEO!
Claim your business name before someone else does!
I also firmly believe that claiming your spaces so that twitter.com/yourbusinessname is owned by you and not someone else is important.
Make sure that the information on these sites is consistent and that they all point back to your own website!
3. Join your local business chambers and networks
Buy a jacket, get your business cards and head to the local business chamber and business networking events for a night of party pies and handshaking.
Are you tired and don’t feel like going? Yes, we understand, but get yourself to these events. Every month!
Attending business events gives you practice speaking about your business. It’s not enough to just to talk to your family and friends about your business, you need to talk to other people. You’ll also get to practice your elevator pitch, AND you’ll get practice introducing yourself as a business owner. You’ll meet other people who may be able to help your business potential partners, suppliers or customers.
Some business network events will host breakfasts while others will be evening events.
4. Research your local government services – Find out what’s free!
Not strictly a promotional opportunity, but definitely a learning opportunity is finding out what events are offered by your local council and state government.
Governments want to support small business because they recognise that small business is one of the biggest employers of Australians.
In Brisbane where we are located, our Lord Mayor hosts regular small business sessions that have a guest speaker and Q&A. They’re an opportunity to learn as well as meet people from a wide range of industries. The Queensland State Government also has online business resources as well as well as other small business networking opportunities throughout the year.
Find out what resources are available in your region and/or state.
5. What’s your special interest?
Do you fall into a ‘special interest’ area? Maybe you’re a farmer and can attend events and join networks specifically to support farmers.
I’ve been invited to attend events as an Indigenous business owner, as well as a woman. I fit into both of these special interest areas. What’s yours?
Does your business have a special interest network you can tap into? Not sure? Check out this A-Z of business interests groups as a guide.
Are you ready to get your business out there?
These are five promotional ideas for getting your business known, and I haven’t event touched on logos or promotional products yet (let’s save that one for another post).
Being able to speak about your business takes practice. Governments at all levels provide opportunities for your to do this and a lot of it’s free.
Networking is about building relationships, and small business (like all other areas of life and work) is about relationships. We’re more likely to do business with other businesses when we know, like and trust them. Networking is one of the strongest promotional tools you can use in growing your business.
If you are starting out in business, you might also like to read our post: Starting a business? You don’t need permission.
Best of luck with your small business and if there’s anything we can do to help you, don’t hesitate to contact the Iscariot Media team.