Author: Aj Agrawal / Source: Entrepreneur Imagine you’re a first-time entrepreneur, excited about your product idea and optimistic about
Imagine you’re a first-time entrepreneur, excited about your product idea and optimistic about the state of the market for small businesses: Your product has been tested and is ready to go, and your launch date has been set, but you still have one tiny challenge ahead of you: your go-to-market plan.
Okay, maybe the challenge is not that tiny and not limited to just one thing. And maybe, regardless of your enthusiasm as a small business owner, you’ve actually got a mountain of challenges awaiting you in an overcrowded market.
Yet, while market saturation is often a deterrent for small business hopefuls, it doesn’t have to be. Yes, developing your go-to-market plan entails a ride down a a bumpy road that requires trial and error and a strain on your budget. But, you can succeed if you steer clear of several easily avoidable traps along the way:
1. Your plan doesn’t promote a unique value proposition.
Regardless of which niche you are trying to enter, there’s likely some existing competition waiting for you. Too many first-time entrepreneurs follow the leads of existing competitors and fail to differentiate their brands from the start.
They find it easier to follow a defined path set by other brands than to pave a new one. Yet, sticking to the status quo is a missed opportunity. After all, if you didn’t believe you had something unique to offer, you likely wouldn’t be launching a business in the first place.
You can’t expect to siphon market share away from existing competitors if customers don’t understand what makes your brand or product different. Determining your UVP from the onset is the key to developing a strong marketing plan. Just such a Unique Value Proposition is the way in which your brand will create a distinct value for potential customers. To create one, first answer three simple questions:
- What is the problem your product is fixing, or the gap in the market your brand will assume?
- What can customers expect from your product or service?
- Why should customers purchase your product or service over a competitor’s?
Once you have a firm grasp on the value your brand will bring to the market, you can create a solid marketing plan that will not only support your unique attributes but will also resonate with existing customers’ wants and needs.
2. You haven’t mapped your customers’ journey.
Once you’ve put into words what your product potential is, you can start to build a multi-channel marketing plan to promote that definition. Rarely does marketing success come as a result of winging it. Creating a comprehensive plan will help you set realistic timelines and budgets and will also keep you accountable.
The first area your plan needs to address is your customer base; because you’ve already developed a unique value proposition, you should have a good idea as to who your customers are. But, have you thought about what your customers’ journey will look like? Clearly define each step along the customer sales path,…