Sole proprietors and entrepreneurs usually go into business because they offer a unique skill set, product or service that is not being addressed in the marketplace. However, having an exceptional skill, product or service is only good as the people who will invest, buy or utilize it. This is where a lot of workers residing in the entrepreneurial space often fall short; marketing themselves.
On the Backburner
Entrepreneurs often put marketing efforts aside and focus upon the task at hand: working on current contracts, projects or tweaking a product/service for a current client(s). But what happens when the project ends, or the clients no longer need your product or service? This is where marketing efforts can give an entrepreneur a fighting chance for ongoing income.
The first step is to change how marketing is viewed regarding their professional efforts. In other words, it should not be considered a “nice to have” but a “have to have”.
Overcome the 3 Reasons Not to Market
Poor marketing is one of the top 10 reasons a startup fails according to Small Business Trends. Workers or start-ups who fail to market often fall prey to the following 3 mindsets:
- Current contracts/jobs will sustain them indefinitely
- It is difficult to articulate what they “do”, offer, or provide
- There isn’t enough time or funds to sustain a marketing effort
The time to change these reasons for pushing marketing efforts aside is before, not after, the entrepreneur is left idle, looking for the next “gig”.
Prepare for the Worst
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is sage advice to live by, no matter the circumstance. It’s hard to admit it, but no client is a sure thing indefinitely. When it comes to providing a sustainable source of income, the world at large must know:
- The company exists
- What skills, services, or products you/company provide
- How they can contact you/company
In short, do not “put all your eggs in one basket”, position so potential clients know you exist via marketing.
Nail Down Your Elevator Speech
Word of mouth is still the most powerful way to market goods and services. In fact, recent studies have shown, 50% of Americans choose a product or service based upon word of mouth over traditional “push” advertising. When it comes to most entrepreneurs/sole proprietors providing a unique product or service, the ability to articulate their value propositions is sorely lacking.
As stated in a previous blog, one of the worst things budding entrepreneurs can do is freeze up when asked: “So, what do you do for a living?”. The solution: a succinct, practiced elevator speech. When you can articulate what you do for a living in terms the average person can understand, it goes a long way in setting up for a viable word of mouth advertising foundation.
Marketing is Doable
Now more than ever, sole proprietors/entrepreneurs have easy, cost-effective ways to market themselves. Online marketing channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, just to name a few, are there for the taking. There are even free tools to create a website, digital ad, video, etc. Don’t brush it off as “too time-consuming or hard”.
Establishing an online presence is easier than ever, don’t over think it, just do it. The key is to not overwhelm yourself, start out slow by:
- Establishing a one-page website to accomplish the who, what, where online presence
- Set up free social channels and post one to two times a week
- Create professional-looking advertising tools like business cards, brochures, digital images with free tools like Canva, Adobe Spark, just to name a few
When it comes to providing a future for yourself and/or your budding business, marketing provides the key. Don’t sell yourself short. After all, when the customers/clients dry up, people and/or organizations will only do business with you if they know you exist.
Set Up Your Word of Mouth Marketing Efforts by Coworking
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