As most entrepreneurs know, running a successful business requires a healthy dose of passion and strength. Having passion for and believing in what you do is imperative. However, there are fundamental steps you can take to ensure your recipe for success works.

Before discussing these steps, it would be remiss of me not to offer one piece of advice that is vital in the initial stages of your company’s life and that is: pay attention!

PAY ATTENTION

When I say “pay attention”, I mean pay enough attention to adapt to change if you need to. Starting out, most of us have (or should have!) a clear strategy of where we see our companies going and what our dream goals are. However, you must always be prepared for change! There is nothing wrong with changing your way of thinking when it comes to how your company is run.

For example, when I started Create-A-Stir my dream was to take over the world! Alright, more sensibly it was to build a large marketing agency that employed the best staff and could comfortably offer my clients all they needed. After a short while, I realised that this strategy was not actually part of my dream.

Instead, I have a built a boutique agency that offers my clients any service they need, but through partnership relationships. Surrounding yourself with the most talented people is a sure-fire way to succeed. Employing the best is not always possible when starting out. Instead, I looked for partnerships that worked for both companies. By doing this, I have kept my overheads down and increased my network. The point here is that I recognised the need for change and understood that there is nothing wrong with adapting to a new plan or direction. So go on, pay attention!

MARKETING STRATEGY

When marketing your company there is a list of fundamentals to consider. By taking note and implementing these, you will have the necessary foundation on which to successfully develop – irrespective of the company’s business sector.

Having a strategy is imperative. But what exactly is the point and what do you put in it? The point of having a strategy is to ensure you have a plan for where you want to head to and a clear understanding of what you need to do to reach your goals. Thinking about the future of your company brings up many possibilities and putting these into a strategy enables you to focus on what is needed to make these possibilities a reality. Let’s consider some other points to include in your strategy:

By truly understanding what your firm believes in and stands for, and then by assessing your ideal target market, you are already developing a strong foundation that will ensure the future success of your firm.

FUNDAMENTALS

YOUR VISION AND MISSION

The first step to consider is your vision and your mission. Your vision is where you see yourself not today, tomorrow or even after the first year, but rather in the distant future. It is the long-term dream you have for yourself and your company. Your mission, on the other hand, describes the steps needed to take you there.

Your mission statement reflects your company’s beliefs and outlines why you are doing what you are doing. Having each member of your company believe in and understand your mission statement ensures the daily running of your company will be kept in line with your fundamental core beliefs. If you are in the early stages of your business, involve all key members in creating your mission statement. That way, everyone has clarity on what you are trying to achieve. Make it simple but apt, easy to remember and easy to live by.

YOUR VALUES

Making my clients understand the importance of creating inner company values is often difficult, as (like marketing per se) values are intangible and many do not see them as a vital consideration. However, to me it is as important as any other aspect of your marketing plan. What are your values? Values affect a company internally as they reflect the essence of your firm and your belief in the way you do business. By creating great firm inner values, you create an internal belief that is reflected in the service your clients receive from you and your employees. It also helps your staff understand what is expected of them and the way they deal with your clients.

TARGET MARKET

Who is your ideal customer or client? Establish what your dream client would represent to you. Don’t only focus on money! While, of course, you are in business to make money, there are many clients that offer you value over and above that. For example, an ideal client might be one that not only always pays your invoices on time but also enthusiastically passes on referrals.

Generally, there are two categories to consider when identifying your target market, and your ideal client could fall into either or both. One is by psychographic categories such as trends, lifestyles and behaviour, and the other is more factual, such as age, location, income group and gender. The more you know about your target market, the easier it will be to understand them and their buying habits and you will, therefore, be able to offer a service or product that both resonates with them and encourages them to do business with you.

About the author:
Rachelle Bricout is the founding member of Create-A-Stir, a marketing boutique offering assistance in all areas of marketing, public relations, design and media. Create-A-Stir also offers an on-line newsletter, theChatter, focusing on entrepreneurs and small businesses. To receive this newsletter, please go to www.create-a-stir.co.za to sign up. If you have any particular marketing questions that you would like answered in future editions, please send them to info@create-a-stir.co.za.

The views expressed in this column are solely Create-A-Stir’s and we take full responsibility for them!

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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