Whether you’re a rookie business owner or a veteran executive just getting started with your own firm, being an entrepreneur can distort your perspective and get in the way of clear decision making. Don’t let these five common entrepreneurial mistakes keep you from reaching your sales and marketing goals:
1) Skimping on Spend
To scale your business and achieve the business growth you desire, it will be essential to overcome your fear of marketing spend and invest in a program that allows you to broaden your business reach and get your message out to your prospects creatively and with impact. It’s that simple. So loosen your purse springs a bit, even if it’s your personal finances that are driving the business. How much should you budget for marketing? Before you can even get to a budget you need to first define your target market and your business model. Factor in the best ways to reach that market and map out a communication strategy with a monthly plan that allows you to carry out a consistent program throughout the year. Of course, every business differs – marketing spend may be higher in some months than others if seasonal changes impact your sales.
2) Going for Broke
In direct contrast to those who skimp too much, there will always be those entrepreneurs who want to invest way too much in marketing out the gate – the wrong kind of marketing. From broad-based TV, print and other types of national advertising that miss the mark on targeting your best prospects, to hiring a big-time agency, these over-the-top approaches are often overkill for most businesses, let alone entrepreneurs. As a startup, using your marketing dollars wisely is a must as you prepare for the unplanned – such as slow months, unexpected expenses and more.
Recommended for You Webcast: The Art of Growth Hacking: Gaining Early Traction by Doing Things that Don't Scale Savvy entrepreneurs focus on targeting their efforts at those who have a direct interest in buying their product or service. Developing a marketing program that reaches them, not only with frequency and accuracy, but also with a message that addresses their needs, is your top marketing priority. In fact, email marketing, while not necessarily glamorous, may be the most effective marketing channel out there – outperforming social media in terms of conversion rates by a whopping 40X, according to a recent report by McKinsey and Company.
3) Not Crushing It on Co-Branding
Aligning with synergistic partners is an effective way to jumpstart your business well past your competitors. Teaming up with more established companies that might give you valuable attention through co-branding can not only maximize your market exposure, but also provide credibility. Move carefully into co-branding, however, and make sure your company is getting a fair trade in the deal.
4) DIY Delusions
Falling into the do-it-yourself (DIY) marketing trap is a common mistake for entrepreneurs. If you’re spending hours of time online attempting to dig up prospects’ names, or even worse, designing your own logo or licking thousands of envelopes to get your direct mail campaign out the door, there’s no doubt you have DIY problems.
To make the best first impression and get the job done right, you’re better off hiring professional web designers, writers, marketing consultants and even virtual assistants. And, for finding new customers, skip the time-consuming online searches that take you nowhere, revealing nothing but outdated and unreliable information. Verified business contacts can be acquired through reputable data brokers, with rates of well under $100 for getting a campaign off the ground, targeting customers located in any geographic region and any business segment you may be pursuing. The important thing is to focus on what you do best, and leave specialized tasks to those who can take care of them for you efficiently, professionally and cost effectively.
5) Forgetting Your Goals
When you’re balancing so many activities as an entrepreneur – from sales to operations, regulatory compliance and more – it’s easy to lose sight of your goals. As a consequence, what can happen is that you become too tactical, when instead your focus should be on the big picture. Your objective this year may be to increase business growth by 40%, or achieve partnerships with two leading players in your market. Whatever you’ve set your sights on, make it measurable, and make sure the marketing strategies you use will help you get there.
If you’ve recently started your own business, how has it changed your perspective on marketing spend?