Ladies … Start Your Engines
Have you ever watched the Indy 500? Billed as the “greatest spectacle in racing,” it is one of the most famous motor-sport events in the world. The beginning is always dramatic. The audience cheers when it hears, “Gentlemen . . . start your engines!” These four words announce the start of something big.
Putting together a promotion plan is the start of something big, too. Essentially, it means putting down on paper a well-thought-out sequence of events leading to a desired outcome for your business, product, or service. When done right, a promotion plan helps you focus on your market, streamline your advertising activities, and ensure that you portray a consistent, high quality image in the business world.
When done wrong, a promotion plan will keep you awake at night, not net you the results you expect, and drain you of human and financial resources.
If a promotion plan can do so much, why aren’t more women-owned businesses, especially small ones, taking the time to write one?
Top 5 Reasons Women Business Owners Put Off Writing Promotion Plans
1. They aren’t comfortable promoting.
Women think there is something wrong with promoting their businesses. They see promoting the products and services of their business as promoting themselves. And they consider promoting themselves as outstandingly poor form.
2. They don’t know who their market is.
Women don’t often take the time to really know who their niche market is. Identifying and knowing how to reach the kind of people who would be most interested in their products or services, however, is critical to their business success.
3. They’re in too much of a rush to get out there and make money.
Thinking they will get around to it later, when they’re not so busy, many women business owners simply don’t take the time to come up with a clear and compelling vision for their business. This makes it difficult to put together an effective promotion plan.
4. They don’t know what they can do to promote themselves.
With so many possibilities to consider, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused about what’s best and where to start. This is why it’s important that women not rush to get a product or service out there. This will give them the time they need to thoughtfully consider the best ways to promote their businesses.
5. They don’t have much money to spend.
Starting up a business and growing it takes money. Many women business owners either don’t have much money to spend on promotion or don’t understand the value in allocating resources to do so.
If you have been putting off doing your promotion plan, here are some ideas to get you started.
7 Affordable Things You Can Do to Jump-start Your Promotion Plan
1. In 25 words or less, identify and describe the number one thing you want your prospects to know about what you do and how it will be of benefit to them.
2. Come up with a unique sales proposition that is clear, concise and compelling.
3. Call or e-mail everyone you know and bring them up-to-date on what you are doing! Leave no family member, friend, colleague, or customer in the dark.
4. Put together an inventory of 5 to 10 well-written articles, reports, or tips sheets, authored by you, each of which addresses a specific solution to your target market’s challenge. Aim to inform and educate, rather than sell.
5. Build your 30-mile sphere of influence list. Record the name, contact person, address, email, phone number, and website of every business, organization, and media outlet that would be beneficial to your promotion plan.
6. Join a professional business networking organization, and go to the meetings.
7. My favorite: Have lots of one-on-one breakfasts throughout the year. As Jim McCraigh says, “Breakfast means business.”
One of the most significant things you can do for your business success is develop a promotion plan. A promotion plan covers all phases of communication between you and your potential customers. It is especially useful when you are rolling out a new product, establishing or changing your company image, or want to promote special services or events. A promotion plan can do many things for you, including positioning you as an expert and leader in your industry, cultivating new markets, and enhancing your reputation.
So, what are you waiting for? Ladies . . . start your engines!
Note: If you noticed, there’s not much about social media in this article. Sometimes you need to go back to the ABC’s of business promotion.
Susan L Reid is a successful Small Business Start Up Coach, Consultant, & Author who takes the fear out of starting up businesses by providing value, inspiration, and direction to entrepreneurial women transforming lives and making a difference in the world. Accidental Pren-her™ Blog is where entrepreneurial women come to embrace their Inner Samurai.