What Every Entrepreneur Should Know about Marketing

“Maybe I’ll be the next Mark Zuckerberg!”

It’s a thought that runs through the minds of all too many entrepreneurs. The notion is that having a great idea by itself will propel them into fame. If only it were that easy!

The truth is that it takes far more than simply an idea to achieve the success of Silicon Valley’s folk heroes. In addition to a great concept, a successful founder must carefully consider the execution and implementation. After considering the following points, you will be far closer to achieving your dreams:

1. Avoid prematurely marketing your idea

“What will our name be? What website domain should we buy? Our twitter handle is taken – how will we go on?”

These are all considerations for after you have a prototype or at least once you’ve put considerable thought into your strategic objectives. Marketing is the art of communicating a value proposition; so trying to inform others of a vague idea is a waste of your time – and, more importantly, theirs.

2. Before you develop, talk to your customer

Now that you understand the utility in building something before marketing your project, you must identify your market and hear directly from the customer.

One of the greatest takeaways from Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup is that building a product for customers you know nothing about is essentially putting the cart before the horse. Instead, he instructs you to go straight to the source and talk to your potential customer. Meet with a focus group; have a conversation; ask for input!

3. Few people will try to steal your idea

“Why on Earth would I ask for feedback before I’ve built anything? Won’t they steal my idea?”

This is a common concern of aspiring entrepreneurs, but it is not well grounded. Since it takes so long to develop an idea into a business, very few people would have the time or willingness to drop everything and begin putting time into your cause. In fact, the odds of someone stealing your idea are roughly the same as you succeeding by not telling anybody.

4. Simplicity is the next big thing

After speaking to customers, be sure to narrow down their feedback and focus on doing a few things really well.

When developing your product or service, less is certainly more. Customers are always willing to wait for further functionality, as long as the original version does what it was intended to do relatively well. The surest way to lose a potential customer is to overwhelm them with bells and whistles that were made in haste.

5. Communicate your value proposition

“I’ve built a simple, desirable product – now what?”

If you heeded all of the above lessons, then you just may have a useful solution to the customer’s problems. You have built a working product that customers actually will want to buy: Congratulations, you are in the perfect marketing situation!

At this point, your task is simply to communicate your value through any means you can find: social media, personal contacts, the press, etc. All right, now is the appropriate time to find that perfect name to brand your project!

by: Matt Minafo

www.linkedin.com/in/minafo

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