A Guide on Starting MSME in India - Part VII
While achieving growth is one thing, sustaining it is a completely different ballgame. Growth requires planning, stability and maturity to be able to handle it. You should expand your business only when you are successful enough to do so. Plan carefully. Expanding at the wrong time will only put a strain on your finances and could leave you in financial ruin.
Deviate from the norms in your industry by adopting bolder approaches of doing business. Direct your attention to some aspect of your business that you think you can excel at uniquely. Here are some examples of benefits and values you can offer your customers: better service, greater availability of products, better quality, superior performance, better durability, superior technology, lower price, faster delivery, better customer service, guaranteed satisfaction, better image, and higher prestige. Developing your small business and continuing to have a competitive advantage is an ongoing process. The business environment is constantly changing. It is important to adapt to it and think of innovative ways to stay ahead.
Here are some steps to grow your small business:
- Create and sustain a breakthrough value proposition. Three ways: create an entirely new market for the products and services, redefine an existing market, or underpricing the competition.
- Exploit a high-growth market.
- Focus relentlessly on cash flow. Blueprint companies tend to be profitable from a very early stage. As a result they are able to finance their own growth at less cost than competitors.
- Leverage big-brother alliances. In their early days, most Blueprint companies found a major corporate partner whose high profile and reputation opened doors to new markets.
- Pack your board with industry experts. Stack you board with successful CEOs and market experts who offer deep experience and help bring in business.
- Use marquee customers to build credibility. The best customers become an extension of your sales force.
- Build an inside-outside leadership team. Dynamic duos are the stuff of corporate legend: In most such partnerships, one leader concentrates on internal operations while the other leader represents the company for clients and investors.
All of these ways of growing your business have been successfully used by other businesses and, with some planning and investment, will work for you.
- Penetrate your existing market.
- Ask for referrals.
- Innovate your product or service.
- Extend your market reach.
- Participate in trade shows.
- Conquer a niche market.
- Contain your costs.
- Diversify your products or services.
Publicity and communications
Public Relations involves a variety of programs designed to maintain or enhance a company's image and the products and services it offers. Successful implementation of an effective public relations strategy can be a critical component to a marketing plan.
A public relations (PR) strategy may play a key role in an organization's promotional strategy. A planned approach to leveraging public relations opportunities can be just as important as advertising and sales promotions. Public relations is one of the most effective methods to communicate and relate to the market. It is powerful and, once things are in motion, it is the most cost effective of all promotional activities. In some cases, it is free. Good public relations can make a business. Sadly, few small businesses project themselves as well as their larger counterparts.
PR is really about communications. You have a choice of communications tactics -- Face-to-face meetings, emailings, feature article interviews, facility tours, press releases, speeches, open houses, consumer briefings, brochures, letters-to-the-editor and on and on.
One of the best small business publicity marketing tools available to you is through your local media - television, radio, and newspaper.
The media is always looking for newsworthy events to include in their paper or in their daily broadcast. So, why don’t you give them something they’ll happily include in tomorrow’s edition? Once you put your thinking cap on, you’ll easily come up with hundreds of ideas for press releases.
Many newspapers have a business section. Write a press release introducing the opening, or expansion, of your business or announce an award received by your business or employee or do something unique. If you’re a pizza business, for instance, have a pizza eating contest. You can do something for kids, if your business lends itself to such an activity. Participate in a community service project. Donate goods or services to a local homeless shelter, for example Do you have some ideas or tips to offer people? You can write a small weekly column, or do a 15-second spot on the local radio or television stations offering tips on how to care for fine clothing.
Editors will generally rewrite press releases, or develop more in-depth stories based on an interesting story idea presented in a press release. So, writing a good press release won’t require a tremendous amount of journalistic skills. However, there are just a few simple tips to follow:
For the entrepreneur willing to take the time and apply the effort, the Internet can be considered their “free publicity” oyster. The process is quite simple, but rather time-consuming. Every business needs a website. You can find free or inexpensive website hosting at sites like GoDaddy, Yahoo, etc. In addition, they offer tools to help you set up your own website, for free.
Join forums. Chat with other surfers, giving advice on your area of expertise. Be sure to link your website every time you make a comment. Post short informational articles featuring specific, Search Engine Optimized (SEO) keywords related to your business on your website. If you’re a carpet cleaner and a surfer types in “tips for removing coffee stains from carpet”, for example, it’s possible that they will be offered a link to your website.
Getting free publicity marketing is not easy, but it can be done. If you own a small business, publicity marketing is an essential part of your marketing arsenal.
Building successful companies and brands isn’t just about selling. It’s about building
trust and understanding through open, interactive and information-rich relationships.
That’s the domain of public relations – and that’s the challenge and opportunity for
the small business.