Start with the end in mind! Growing a start-up business is different to existing businesses for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that you have to start from scratch. That’s right, you have to do everything and if you don’t know, you will have to learn. One of the fundamental first stages of any start-up business is to sit down and create a vision and the roadmap to achieve your vision. Creating structure and a step by step process for achieving your goals is imperative. When you first start a business, everything can seem like a priority and you can find yourself filling your time with menial tasks.

So now that you have decided on your vision and are on track to start making your millions but you need to factor in one thing.

Customers don’t buy products they buy experiences so your brand needs to connect on an emotional level with your customers and create an experience. So what does this mean? This means you need to decide how the brand is going to look & feel and how it will speak. Say what? You need a create a personality for your company with which your customers can connect. Will you be a fun light hearted brand that embraces humour or a more sophisticated brand with a polished approach? Both personalities are different and require a unique approach. Right so now we have a great product and we know how we want to look… what next? We now need to start marketing both the business and the products or services. However, one constraint most start-ups face is lack of money, time and resources so you end up picking up the role of CEO, Manager, Executives and the tea person. It is important here to prioritise IGT (Income Generating Tasks) and KRA (Key Resulting Actions). There will be a lot going on in the business so you need to remain focussed on what is going to generate revenue and what key actions need to be taken. We are almost ready to start marketing but hold on to your hat. We need to make sure the foundations are right before we go out to market and ruin our corporate identity before we even get started.

The last thing you need to do before going to market is become Scooby Doo and do a little research. Start off with your competitor analysis to understand what they do and how you differentiate from them. Then see how much they are spending on marketing online, offline and social media. Now analyse your target audience and work out how much money they really have to spend. Once you have done all this research you will be in a good position to fine tune your value proposition –and your differentiators. So now that you know you are different how do you tell the world. There are so many marketing tools available that I won’t go into detail about all of them so I will choose the website and SEO for starters as it is an effective and relatively cost-effective way to get noticed.

First, create a website! This can be done quickly and easily by several companies. While your website is being developed, you will need to make sure that it has SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) capability so that people can find you on the World Wide Web as well as Google Analytics (GA). SEO is a non-paid discipline aimed at organically optimises your website and can be linked to blogs, social media and GA tracks and monitors what your customers do on your website…. And its FREE!

Now that you have all of this in place you need to future proof the business and think about how you will be able to scale up at a later stage. The best way to achieve this is to document what you are currently doing so that when you employ your first few employees they know exactly what needs to be done and the customer service (Brand promise) level doesn’t get diluted.

The purpose of this blog is to show that there is a lot of work that goes into positioning a business before it starts spending money on marketing. If you need any help or know someone who is, please feel free to get in touch and I will be more than happy to offer any guidance or assistance.

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