1. The Product: Satisfy an Immediate Need for a Fair Price
Determine if the product fills a real current need that customers have right now. A new product or service must solve a problem for the customer or make the life or work of the customer better in a cost-effective way. Be very clear, from the beginning, about exactly what your product or service does to improve the quality of the life or work of your customer.
The product must provide good quality for a fair price. To be effective in the market, find your Unique Selling Proposition–one or more features or benefits that make it unique, different and superior to any competitive product or service.
2. Money and Cash Management
Successful companies use good budgeting, accurate bookkeeping, and accounting systems right from the very beginning. All successful entrepreneurs install careful financial controls and monitor them every day. They carefully consider every expenditure. The basic rule for entrepreneurial success is this: only spend money to earn money.
3. Maximize Your Marketing
An emphasis on marketing should permeate the entire organization. Everybody must think about selling and satisfying customers all day long.
Marketing as a whole includes the Product, Pricing, Marketing Communications & Distribution. In most organizations, the marketing function is focused on Marketing Communications.
For a successful Integrated Marketing Communications program, you must establish goals and indicate metrics for all tactics whether offline or online.
- Understand the market size, market share, and competitors
- Understand your existing customers and target market
- Establish goals for revenue, or reach. Goals may be based on revenue or communicating a message. Establish anticipated conversion rates and reach required. The funnel for a customer and the communications to use at each stage of customer acquisition are Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
- Be aware of your brand and Unique Value Proposition
- Create messages that have either emotional (lifestyle or relationship) or rational (money or time saving) appeals.
- Develop tactics and reach goals for each part of the integrated marketing communications plan. Print, Events, Public Relations, Direct Mail, SEO, SEM, Email, Display Advertising, Social Media.
4. Selling Is the Core Skill of a Successful Business
One of the most important single skills you must develop for succeeding in your own business is the ability to sell yourself and your product to your customers. You must like the product so much that you can hardly wait to talk to other people about it. Understand the core principals of an effective sales process.
- Product Knowledge: Know everything about your solution and competitors.
- Target Marketing: Understand who has the money and authority and the need in the target customer company.
- The Approach: Warm leads and referrals from satisfied customers are the best forms of introduction.
- Needs Analysis: Understand your customer’s needs first before the presentation. Listening is more important than speaking during an initial sales call.
- Presentation: Present the solution based on your customer’s specific needs or problem they are trying to solve.
- Close: Be prepared to overcome objections and ask for the sale.
- Follow up and Customer Service