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The Blueprint for How to Start Any Business

With the recession still looming and jobs still scarce more and more people are becoming compelled to start a business. One great question still remains “How do I go about it” most people haven’t the foggiest idea where to begin. Is my product/service a B2B (Business-to-business marketing is businesses sell goods or services to other businesses.) or B2C (Business to Consumer marketing is business sell goods or services to consumers).Complied below is a list of must do’s before a business can have even a punchers chance of succeeding. The first order of business is market research.

Market Research - What is market research and why is it important?

Market research consists of testing the marketplace to determine whether or not you have an economically viable product or service, especially amongst different demographics. (In other words it’s a way of finding out whether anyone will want to pay money for what you have to offer.) The demographics refer to variables like population, age, gender, location, income level, and purchasing habits etc. Market research allows companies to learn more about past, current and potential customers, including their specific likes and dislikes. Another form of marketing research involves the collection of customer lists, which give the names and addresses of actual consumers who are likely to be interested in a given product. These names and addresses are gathered from a variety of sources, including telephone surveys, supermarket checkout counters, and credit card applications. Virtually any demographic information that customers send to a company—even a filled-out warranty card—can be added to a list and shared with other companies or marketing firms; in fact, it is customary for companies to sell such lists to each other. Customer lists give companies a way to market directly to a target audience. Some stores offer listed customers "loyalty cards," which provide repeat customers with discounts on future purchases. Other companies use the lists to design custom catalogs, which are then sent to specific customers.

Your findings here will clearly determine whether you and your idea need to head back to the drawing board, this is the most crucial step if things look promising proceed to the next phase.

Target Audience – How do I determine my target audience?

Now you completed your market research and gathered lots of information, now its time to distill and purify this data so you can tailor it to your business venture. (Who am I specifically going to sell or market my business to?) Based on market research findings, businesses will develop a "target audience." Now what is a target audience you might ask? It is a specific group of customers that has a distinct need or desire for a product or service. By analyzing market research information, companies and service providers learn where to focus their advertising resources most effectively, so that they reach only the people who specifically buy their widgets or services. (Example Scenario: let’s say you design high end custom Watches with price points ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 your placement and target audience won’t be at Wal-Mart, because the people who shop there don’t have the income level or disposable income to make those sorts of purchases Your ideal audience would be in places like Nordstrom, Macys.)

Pricing -- How much you will charge?

By now you should know what type of goods or services you are selling (is it high mid or low end?) You need to determine the price, and one way to do that is look at several factors like Market share (Market share is the portion or percentage of sales of a particular product or service in a given region that are controlled by a company. If, for example, there are 100 widgets sold in a country and company A sells 48 of them, then company A has a 48% market share), Competition (who are they, how much market share do they have, what price points are they using), Material costs (how much does it cost to produce, the cost of the raw materials that go into a product. The material cost of a product excludes any indirect costs, for example, overheads or wages, associated with producing the item), Product identity (Product identity creation means a complex combination of: fonts and graphics Inventing and marinating individual style, that helps your organization and stability trust and favor of customers, competitor) The business may increase or decrease the price of product if other stores have the same product.

Distribution – How do I make the product available?

You new company will have to decide where to sell its new product via Mass merchandising, Direct to consumer (LL Bean, J Crew), Upscale dept stores and or on the Internet at the company's Web site and how to get it to their customers quickly. You must determine or position your business as a B2B or B2C because knowing that status can help you choose the right channels of distribution. (Example if you’re selling line of T-shirt – and you want to sell Direct to consumer – the distribution breakdown would be B2C versus if you were selling to upscale dept store who then sells it to consumers, that would be B2B.)

Once potential customers aware of your product, the next step is to make that product available. Most consumer products follow a path from producer to consumer—a path maintained by wholesalers and distributors. National, regional, or local wholesalers buy goods in large quantities from manufacturers, and then sell the goods to retailers and large institutions.

Mass Communication- How to Communicate to the market?

The Internet and e-commerce has changed and is changing the way business is conducted everyday, with advent of web 2.0 came the social media revolution, and the impact of this new channel is still being studied. Media in general is used to communicate with a market focus on the creation and execution of printed marketing collateral. A synergy of branding, advertising, and marketing must be put into place to ensure consistency of message delivery throughout an organization campaign - the same "look & feel". Businesses hire brand developers to stay relevant by incorporating trends in business and culture. These trends must be reflected at every point a consumer comes into contact with your business; (for example: the transition from customer service to customer relations and the transition from human resources to website interaction and e-tailing). Touch Points i.e. all these elements aforementioned help make your business a strong name brand in the eyes of consumers.

Advertising & Promotion

Advertising being a major component of marketing has continued to evolve as a critical component of selling strategies. With the arrival of e-commerce and cable television advertising channels, this industry is developing imaginative approaches to targeting, swaying, and selling new products to consumers

Perhaps the most revolutionary change in marketing and distribution involves the Internet and e-commerce. Companies can quickly and easily reach any consumer who has a computer and an Internet connection—whether that consumer is across town or on the other side of the world. Advertising through Web sites and e-mail saves time and money by reducing the need for such expenses as postage and long-distance phone calls. The Internet virtually eliminates the borders between countries and even continents, allowing for a truly global marketplace.

Examples of Direct-Mai Advertising Catalogues, flyers, letters, and postcards are just a few of the direct-mail advertising options. Direct-mail advertising has several advantages, including detail of information, personalization, selectivity, and speed. But while direct mail has advantages, it carries an expensive per-head price, is dependent on the appropriateness of the mailing list.

Comparative Advertising Comparative advertising compares one brand directly or indirectly with one or more competing brands.

Cooperative Advertising Cooperative advertising is a system that allows two parties to share advertising costs. Manufacturers and distributors, because of their shared interest in selling the product, usually use this cooperative advertising technique

Informational Advertising In informational advertising, which is used when a new product is first being introduced, the emphasis is on promoting the product name, benefits, and possible uses.

Institutional Advertising Institutional advertising takes a much broader approach, concentrating on the benefits, concept, idea, or philosophy of a particular industry. Companies often use it to promote image-building activities, such an environmentally friendly business practices or new community-based programs that it sponsors.

Point-of-Purchase Advertising Point-of-purchase advertising uses displays or other promotional items near the product that is being sold. The primary motivation is to attract customers to the display so that they will purchase the product. Stores are more likely to use point-of-purchase displays if they have help from the manufacturer in setting them up or if the manufacturer provides easy instructions on how to use the displays.

Specialty Advertising Specialty advertising is a form of sales promotion designed to increase public recognition of a company’s name. A company can have its name put on a variety of items, such as caps, glassware, gym bags, jackets, key chains, and pens.

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About the Author

Lauris Renner, L.A.R Consulting & Design Group
Democracy Blvd
Bethesda, MD 20817

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