Need tips for better strategic planning and marketing plan for your start-up or entrepreneurial venture? We’ve got your back! In this article “How to launch a business strategically so that it doesn’t fail”, you will find answers to some niggling thoughts and questions and arrive at a definite clarity in your thought process.
Business & Marketing are constantly changing and is continually evolving, sometimes due to the changing preference of the customers the way they use certain products or services or the way they consume information, and sometimes due to technology aiding the marketers to deliver information in easier, effective, and economic ways.
With the pandemic induced consumption driving the sales of nutrient-healthy and protein-rich foods including fruits, veggies, eggs, and dietary supplements, we see that the marketing spends of food & beverages, and in general, the FMCG category of products such as soaps, disinfectants, sanitiser, etc. has not reduced and it has actually gone higher than the pre-pandemic times. Big brands have been equally focused on the print medium as well as on TV and the Internet.
More time is spent indoors has resulted in brands giving TV a priority while deciding on their advertising and marketing plan. The same is the case with digital advertising with smartphone usage going high.
More number of start-up firms has been set up and the focus has been to leverage technology to deliver quality services and products promptly to the consumer’s doorstep. Internet usage and e-commerce both have seen a massive uptick. It clearly sends a message that customers are becoming more and more aware of what has been served before them. They are willing to pay higher for better quality and better-packaged products or services if the perceived value they are getting is better.
It’s been a good time for start-ups and they have indeed mushroomed in the last year with a focus on home delivery services related not just to food and groceries, but also to other areas such as personal care, hygiene and sanitation, landscaping, and finally also into ease of searching and selecting credible vendors for these services. Noteworthy to mention here, mobile apps providing stock broking, mutual fund investments, insurance products, cryptocurrency investments, and other crypto and block-chain related applications development, have taken off and are on a high growth path.
Are you also looking to create a new business venture with no prior entrepreneurial experience? The good thing is that you are not alone today. Due to existing business and employment situations in many countries, and especially in some business segments that are adversely affected with long term negative impact, thousands have lost their jobs. But there is nothing to worry about if you have a bright and brilliant idea in your mind, and also possess the determination and confidence to go all out on your own. You shall be doing a service to humanity by generating employment. But do keep in mind that it won’t be an easy life for some months or years as you would be slogging out over time to build the concrete around the brick and mortar. And you might not have all the support or resources easily available on-demand as you are still an unknown figure.
While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to start a business from scratch and successfully run it, it’s not too difficult too if certain basics of business are adhered to.
The question here that I wish to address is how consumption, marketing and the process of customer acquisition will change or has it already been changing. Are you ready for it? For firms having a tight budget, when a start-up is boot-strapped, it’s really a chicken & egg situation they have to cope up with until they see a clear return coming out of the smaller yet focused marketing, advertising and promotion initiatives.
But the larger and bigger challenge, do you have it in you to become an entrepreneur? If yes, but really do not know how to plan or where to start off, this article might help you a bit.
Your task as an entrepreneur will be much easier if you have a full conviction on your ideas & concept underlying the business plan because then you will exactly know who is your target audience and why will they use your product or service. The next task is to figure out how effectively you can reach out to them and how easily and effectively you can communicate with them.
Here are some ideas and fundamentals to follow right from the day an entrepreneur decides to launch a new business, to ensure one doesn’t get off-track and go haywire amid so much chaos-
- WHY ARE YOU IN BUSINESS – Have you researched enough to arrive at the product or service you wish to launch? If you have got all the satisfactory answers to the questions such as-
- Is the product or service a solution to an existing problem, and is the solution similar to an existing solution?
- If the answer to the above is a Yes, why will a consumer choose you over others?
- Is the problem or the need/want and also the solution a regular one, let’s say toothpaste for brushing teeth or a mop to clean your home, a consumable commodity?
- Do you have patented technology, expensive and not easily imitable, used in your offering?
- Is your solution making users’ lives easier through saving time and effort, maybe an online booking of events? If yes, is it sustainable and scalable?
- Is there enough year-on-year growing market for your product or service?
- Is your product or service so innovative enough that it disrupts the existing ways of consuming that particular product or service and also eases and simplifies the whole process, let’s say an Uber or Swiggy or Food Panda or a payment wallet kind of product?
- Is your product or service based on software & IT platforms that make decision making easier and trustworthy, such as choosing the best insurance scheme or choosing the best car, and other related services?
- Have you carefully studied the policy regulations affecting and influencing your business?
2. KEY MANAGEMENT TEAM – How quickly you can form a team of the right people at the top to lead the main functions of the firm, viz. technology & platform architecture, finance, maintenance, operations, resource management, marketing & sales?
- VISION – Have you drawn a roadmap for the first 3 to 5 years, factoring in as to how you and your team foresee the growth of your company, employee count, cash flow, current and anticipated policy changes by the government, change in market dynamics, competitive scenario, liabilities, and so on, and how these factors could impact your firm’s operations and financial performance?
- Have you tied up the finances for the first 3 years to meet any contingencies?
- If you are pretty sure of the above factors being sufficiently thought of, deliberated, debated, and taken care of, you are good to go!
- MISSION & OBJECTIVE – Now, your team needs to draw the marketing and sales plan, and to clearly define the customer acquisition strategy. A clear well laid out process to acquire customers has to be in place before you start the on-field acquisition.
- BUSINESS GOALS – Set some realistic business goals that are easy to define, measurable, and mirror your true performance on the critical success factors.
- IMPLEMENT YOUR MARKETING & SALES PLAN – Once the goals are agreed upon by the team members, the most crucial aspect of any business comes, that is to effectively implement marketing plans and execute the sales & customer acquisition strategy.
- MARKETING, ADVERTISING & BRANDING – While the organization goes on defining, formulating, and implementing the strategic plan, the efforts need to be supported with optimum marketing initiatives to create awareness about your firm, and its product & service.
- Prioritize while you reach out to your market audience keeping a balance between highly fruitful and moderately fruitful segments, as one might give more profit while the other better top-line.
- Depending upon the category of product or service you fall in, you can devise a product/service awareness campaign through the appropriate media, social as well as print or television. Stage out the implementation to distribute and optimize the overall cost.
- CONTENT MARKETING – Consult your marketing expert on what kind of content needs to be created and distributed, and through all platforms, to maximize effectiveness and penetration. Most online and social media marketing including influencer marketing today revolves around good storytelling to attract customer attention and build loyalty.
- OUTSOURCE – Everything cannot be and need not be done in-house. Outsource what you can and must. But do keep track of the quality of deliverables. Some of the areas that should always be outsourced are market research, brand activation, roadshows, events, and feedback gathering.
- FEEDBACK & REVIEW PROCESS – Having a rearview mirror is essential. Set a process in place to review performance. DO not shy away to get the feedback of each employee, partner, associate, and most importantly of the actual customers.
- FLEXIBILITY – Be flexible to unlearn and change what is not desirable, and be open to learn the new environment, and adapt quickly.
- COMMUNICATE – Be in constant communication with the team in person, and with the customers either directly or through various digital media feasible. It builds positivity and confidence around.
- OBSERVE & ANALYZE – A good and successful entrepreneur is one who has strong observation and analytical skills, and someone who possesses the skill to understand human behaviour.
If the homework is done honestly, and the execution diligently, there is no way a business cannot succeed.