We all go into business to be successful. We imagine that we’ll start humbly, then as word gets out about what a great product or service we have, then we’ll have lots of customers. Then, often with the help of government business grants, we’ll expand and maybe even franchise our wildly popular business. Even for the most practical and pragmatic entrepreneurs, it’s easy to let these daydreams take shape. It’s natural because we know we’re offering an excellent product or service, so how can the world resist?
That’s a common misconception that unfortunately can lead to the early demise of your entrepreneurial dreams. You may have heard the saying, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” A useful product or great innovation can attract a lot of buyers, but only if they know it exists. In fact, a lot of superior technologies have been eclipsed by inferior competitors because the competitors were just better at marketing their product and getting the word out that theirs was the one to buy (remember Beta versus VHS?).
There are several ways that you can start getting the word out about your business. First, there often are government business grants for the purpose of advertising. In the case of innovative technology, there are also government business grants for stages of development such as research, developing a prototype, getting the technology to market. Then if you have a viable overseas market, there are even government business grants for exporting or attending trade shows and business conferences.
If you need in-house marketing or sales to get the word out about what you’re selling, then you’ll want to check into the government business grants for hiring and training. Entrepreneurs often try to do it all, but you may find that you don’t have enough time to adequately market your product and still take care of everything else. Marketing is critical so others will know about you, so that’s why there are government business grants for this purpose. A small business can fail just from inadequate marketing.
There are other ways to get the word out too. Create connections with others and talk openly about your business. This doesn’t mean being pushy or overbearing. Just be proud of what you’re doing, and people will want to know about your business. Share your goals, ask for advice, and ask happy customers for their testimonials.
Establish new circles and contacts that are beyond your present comfort level. You can ask friends and colleagues you already know to introduce you to influential people and organizations. Spreading the word about your business whenever you can may at first seem not to yield great results. But remember, the effect eventually will be exponential as you gain momentum. Someone you talked to a week ago will mention you to a couple of people. One of them might then recommend you, and so on. The trade shows and business conferences I previously mentioned (which you may receive a government business grant to attend) are mother lodes of contacts, potential customers, and influential people, so attend all that you can that are related to your business, and don’t be shy about mentioning your company.
If your employees believe in your business, they’ll be ambassadors for you as well. This favorable word-of-mouth, plus using government business grants to expand your marketing will get the word out, and since you’re offering a really great product or service, you’re doing people a favor by making sure that they know about it.