Do you have a marketing plan? You don't? Thenyou'd better get one.
If you don't have a road map for targeting the right product tothe right people in the right way, keep your website on MySpace and start buying truckloadsof lottery tickets.
Consumers really want to know one thing – howwill using your product or service benefit them? Will it solve a problem they have? Willit make their lives better? For example, most cars today are comfortable, reliable, andget great gas mileage.
But if you want something that will also make you look cool, you'renot going to be shopping for a SmartCar.
When you get an idea for a product or service,the first hard questions you should ask yourself are "Who is my target market and what do theywant?" Not everybody is going to want or need what you have to sell.
That's why findingthis out is essential.
So how do you find out who your customersmight be and what they want? Interrogate them while holding battery cables? Uh, no.
Youdo market research.
That's what the Big Boys and Girls do.
They know their customers andprospects inside and out – their income, ethnicities, gender, age range, where they live, even theirbowling averages.
Learn everything you can about them because that's what your competitorsdo.
Use Google, Amazon and other sites to do research.
The Big Boys and Girls do that,too.
You've also got to know who, what and whereyour competitors are and what they're doing successfully.
Find that out, then do it better.
This way, you'll know the answers before you're asked questions like:- How is your product or service better than what I'm already using or what the guy downthe street is selling out of his trunk? – Is the price of your product or servicecompetitive or should I wait for your "Going out of business" sale?- Will you support your product with great customer service or will I have to go on Googleto see how to fix what you sold me? Another reason you need to do market research- applying for a loan.
Lenders want to feel confident you know what you're doing and thatyou won't use their money to buy out all the seats at the Super Bowl.
Want to know what the biggest red flags are for lenders? Entrepreneurs who say they haveno competition, they beat everyone else's price or have the highest-quality productout there.
Be ready to prove any claims you make.
A few minutes on the computer can eithersupport your statements.
or show that you probably shouldn't be out in public withoutadult supervision.
You'll also need to get the word out aboutyour product or service.
Even if you have a store, a website is mandatory.
Websitesare business cards, brochures, branding, retail stores, information resources, catalogues,and advertising all combined.
Truth is, if you don't have a website, you're really notin business.
It's like you don't even exist.
Whether you sell globally or locally, to survivein this constantly changing entrepreneurial environment you need a marketing plan.
Onceyour initial marketing research is done, stay on top of it.
If you adapt to the variouschanges you'll encounter along the way, you'll greatly increase your chances for success.
Oh, and one last thing: when you need help, we're here for you!.