Entrepreneurial marketing is like guerrilla warfare. First you find a protected enclave from which you can launch your first small attacks without worrying about being over-run by far larger competition. Then you build, looking for chinks in Goliath’s armor.
Like guerrilla leaders, you are frequently distracted from the strategic questions because you are amassing an army at the same time. And you may not have many talented lieutenants, or even sergeants, to help you.
That’s why when you ask any veteran entrepreneur what marketing advice he’d offer to another businessperson starting his own company, he’ll generally tell you what he overlooked or underestimated–and then what he learned from his mistakes.
Specifically, here’s are nine things you would hear:
1. Make small bets. Your resources are limited and starting anything new is risky. You don’t want to compound those risks by betting everything on one role of the dice.
2. Make those small bets quickly. No, you don’t want to lose money. But, since you are not risking much, you can afford to fail. Get out in the marketplace fast and let potential customers tell you if you are onto something.
3. Where do you place those small bets? (I) Obviously, in areas where competitors don’t exist, or are weak. Not so obviously, in places where you feel strong. That confidence will help you overcome the inevitable hurdles you will face.
4. Where do you place those small bets? (II) No customer wants to be entirely dependent on just one supplier, no matter who it is. Ask yourself, what your competitor’s customers want. Better yet, ask them.
5. It is far easier to build off an existing idea. Yes, it would be great to come up with something that has never existed before in any shape or form. But if you do, you are going to spend an awful lot of time educating your market about what you have.
6. Let the market define you. People will tell you what they like, and what they don’t, about your product. Incorporate their ideas with yours. Making the world’s best videocassette recorder does you no good, if what people really want are DVRs.
7. One step at a time. Be satisfied with making one significant improvement in a product or service. You’re bound to make mistakes just attempting one thing–many more if you try to do too much.
8. Keeping looking for the those limited markets…where you have a genuine competitive edge. That’s where profitability and security lie. Tempting as it may be, don’t try to buy you way into markets where you offer the same product at a lower price. That’s where you’ll be vulnerable.
9. Constantly ask yourself… What could go wrong. (And take steps to avoid the potential problems.)
(article by P.B.Brown)