Build A Better mousetrap and customers will beat a path to your door, right? Wrong--unless you advertise, says Richard F. Gerson, owner and president of Gerson-Goodson Inc., a marketing, management and consulting service in Clearwater, Florida, and author of Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses (The Crisp Small Business and Entrepreneur Series, $20. To order, call 813-726-7619; mention this article for free shipping and handling).
"You must promote that mousetrap," Gerson says. "To do that, you must first know your unique selling position. What is different or special about your product or service that will make the customer want to buy it? Then, determine your unique marketing position--such as being the friendliest florist in town, or the most service-oriented or the lowest-price provider. After you have defined your niche, then define your customer base."
Brian Senjem, Minnesota's 1996 Young Entrepreneur of the Year and co-founder of Senjem Enterprises, a Mankato, Minnesota, accounting and computer-consulting business, says, "It's important to give high priority to marketing and advertising when you draw up your business plan. You should have marketing goals and know your target market (including its demographics), your industry, and the economy. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Small Business Administration (SBA) offices nationwide will provide materials and resources. Know the psychology of your target market. Brainstorm with marketing professors and graduate students."