Business Development - How to Start Your Small Business

Marketing

You've got a great idea for a small business, but more many the question is how to start your small business? Even if already have a small business running and you want to make it more efficient; proper business development is the core to getting started, either to making new businesses run or to improve existing ones.

Business development, especially small business development (where the neo-entrepreneur may not know his way around very well) is a daunting task, but not impossible.  It incorporates any number of elements, from business plans to customer follow-ups, ad copy to profit/loss sheets.  However, any business development strategy basically boils down to three ideas.  These can be expressed as three basic questions, and these questions you ask yourself every day: 

First, who are you selling to?  Identifying your clientele for your small business is the best way to focus on profitability-what is their average age group, their ethnicity, their annual salaries, their preferred places of residence, their work places, or the places they hang out, relax and enjoy themselves?  What are their relationships prone to, and what are they looking for to get, or maintain, a successful relationship?  All of these are selling points-the idea is that your product, whatever it is, will improve their lives in one or more of these areas. 

Once you know that your basic audience is in their 20s, upper mobility, average salary 70K or more, computer experts, you know the basic "well-to-do computer-centered" products they'll be looking for.  Did you find your basic customer has a different set of demographics than these?  Emphasize different aspects of the product, or create whole new products for your targeted audience.

Next, where are the right "channels" to sell?  It used to be that small businesses paid big money for huge newspaper ads, posters and billboards (they still use billboards some, but they're electronic now).  And if they wanted to saturate the market, they sent people to the mall.  But most people aren't buying in the malls, shopping centers and small shops anymore-they're buying, as well as relaxing and reading, online.  But where are they exactly, online?   There are a number of websites on the ‘net that will show you the current research on your clientele—where they're surfing, when and how long.  Armed with this information, next time they log on, you’ll hopefully be there.

Finally, what's the right "message" to send?   What do you need to offer-special promotions, sales, package deals, one product for one price-and why will it sell what you have?  What about the product itself-what are the features, benefits, results and ultimate outcomes to using it?  From clearing up acne to relieving depression, guaranteeing a good night's sleep, a smooth ride, a gentle birth, a great meal-why should the customer buy?   And what wording-copy, ads, promotions, Google ad words, etc.-will be the magic formula to selling?

It's time to admit, nobody has that magic selling formula, for every product, all the time.  But you will go a long way towards achieving the magic of successful business development if you answer, every day and in every working minute, those three questions.