Business Start-Up Success Plan

By Chris Wadsworth

Published in The Source – issue 27

Launching a new business is a time consuming and expensive endeavour, with no guarantees that you’ll be rewarded by success. In fact, more than half of new businesses in New Zealand fail within 5 years of starting up.

Once legal, accounting, operational and IT requirements are implemented, the start-up budget is often spent. Add to this premises, and stock if you’re in retail, and there’s usually nothing left in the bank account, unless you have an angel investor.

Winning business from day one

To recoup your investment, the business needs to start earning income as soon as possible. So how do you get your new business noticed and win clients off the established competition? The answer is branding and marketing.

Of all the things you invest in, it is branding and marketing that will bring in new business. Everything else is a cost that’s required to run the business. The quicker you can attract clients to your business, the faster you can pay down debt and start reinvesting in the business to secure its success.

When you launch a new business, you need to put your best foot forward from day one. To be noticed, you need to have well defined values and a unique point of difference that reflects a need in the marketplace. You need to look like a professional and competent business if you are to open up opportunities and get prospects to trust in what you can offer.

Consistent and distinctive branding across your communications and marketing materials can make all the difference when you are trying to get noticed and attract clients. Once you have your prospect’s attention, a professionally presented brand will help convey your vision and build trust in your business.

How do you get professional branding on a limited budget?

If your budget is limited, but you want to enter the market looking professional, you should stage your requirements. Rather than design and produce everything on a budget ready for the first month of business, you should work on getting the brand right and producing a few key communications and marketing items. You can then expand your marketing materials as you attract new business over the first year.

However, if you want to make an impact when you launch the business and grow fast, it is worth considering a loan or investment for branding and marketing to get a strong start to your business.

Plan your marketing

All businesses should have a marketing plan that takes them through the following 12 months, for new businesses this is even more important. A simple activity and budget plan will help you decide where it is best to spend your marketing budget. This will also help you to avoid having your marketing activities sidelined by the day to day running of the business.

Marketing is often moved down the to-do list as time become scarce. If this happens you should consider the services of a marketing consultant who can work with you for a few hours a week to keep your marketing actively growing sales.

Unique products and services

If you are launching a new product or service that’s unique to the market it can give you an instant advantage. But if people don’t hear about you, or don’t realise how your offer is better than what already exists it will be hard for you to get traction for the growth you need. This makes branding and marketing an even more important investment if you want to succeed.

Beware established businesses

As a start-up, it’s daunting when you think about the advantages established businesses have in the marketplace. They have had years to invest in their brand and marketing plus they already have an established client base. But don’t let that put you off.

Over the years we have been approached by many established businesses that have seen their market share eaten into by well presented, marketing savvy new businesses. It has usually been years before they act and, by then, the clever start-up has quickly become an established player and a serious competitor.

While a warning for existing businesses not to become complacent it also shows how a start-up business can be a success if you get things right from the start.

Posted 7 February 2016

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