How to market your business as a first-time entrepreneur
Welcome to the fifth season of my blog. In the past seasons, I have talked about marketing strategies that businesses can use. This season, however, will be a little different. I’m going to take a break from what I usually do and talk about my personal story as an entrepreneur and then a marketer. I’ll be sharing the learning from my entrepreneurship journey in the hope that it helps you understand how to market your business.
To begin, I come from an Army background. If you know what it's like, you'll know that every two or three years, I've had to move. I have lived in different parts of India, literally all corners of India, and have had a variety of friends, schools, and studied in different educational systems. It was actually quite fascinating to do so, to live a different life every two or three years. And as a result, I'm always on the lookout for new experiences. Of course, as I get older, I'm not as excited about change, and I'm not searching for a change every two or three years. But yes, I'm not afraid of change and in fact, that's how I became an entrepreneur.
Becoming a digital marketing strategist
I started my profession as an automotive engineer. I earned my master's degree in automotive engineering in Germany and subsequently spent ten years in the industry, including eight years with Ford Australia. Engineering is a fantastic field to work in. It teaches you a variety of abilities that you will need in life, such as how to be extremely organised and follow a process. How do you build a process and make it repeatable to save time if you don't already have one? So that's what I really took away from engineering: how to be highly organised and deliver something, how to take a large piece of work and break it down into small, achievable steps so that you can deliver it in time.
I decided to shift my sector and start something new after working in engineering for roughly ten years. There was a lot going on in the world. Entrepreneurship had been there for a long time. But there was so many spotlights on it in 2015 that I really wanted to start my own business and acquire new skills, like how to operate a business, a little bit about finance, how to manage a team, and so on.
So I teamed up with my husband and we launched 'Neev Magazine,' an online children's magazine, in November 2015, which was the first foray into entrepreneurship for both of us. My husband works in technology and education, and I was an automobile engineer. Therefore our start-up had nothing to do with our previous exposure. But, we started this new journey, and it was a lot of fun. There were so many things we had to learn, including how to operate with a team of 50 people, all of whom were working remotely.
We had to build processes. We had to have very clear policies about how our content was being given to us. What were the guidelines for the content and how was to be submitted to us on the right time? What were the tools we were using and how to pay? And what were the other things about the business that we had to do? And if you're an entrepreneur, I know that you've gone through all of this because when you start out, you're literally the only person doing everything. That's exactly how we felt.
But you will agree with me when I say that the biggest challenge that we faced is actually marketing and selling. How do you reach out to people? How do you tell them that you have a great product and then how do you convince them to buy? Even if you have the experience of running a business but if have never been in marketing before, it’s a skill that is acquired. You start learning slowly. You start seeing what clicks with your customer. What are they looking for? How can you tailor your page so that they understand that this product is absolutely right for them? As a first time entrepreneur though, what we did not realize was that no matter how great your product is, not every customer is going to see it in the same way as you. So you really do have to make an effort to sell it, and you really have to make an effort to customize what you say to every customer.
Henry Ford said that any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black. And I'm sure this was totally relevant in the early 1900. But can you imagine it being relevant now? Can you imagine walking up to a customer and saying, "This car is only available in black. You're not going to get any options.” It just doesn't work like that, right?
Common marketing mistakes
The biggest learning that came out of my own experience was that I learnt how to market. I learnt how to pitch my product. I learnt how to talk to people and tell them that this really is the product for you. And through the last one year, I've actually realized that everyone goes through the same cycle. Every first time entrepreneur goes through the exact same challenges that I faced five years ago. And that's kind of nice, right? Because it makes you feel like you're a part of a larger community.
So that's what this season is going to be about. I'm going to talk to you about the few marketing challenges that I faced, that may be you are facing too. My experience may actually help you to resolve them, or at least to feel that there is a solution that exists out there. Come by next week, and we will go through each of those challenges one by one throughout this season.
I'm very excited to be trying something new on this podcast. Please let me know if you like this concept. You can contact me on Email, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook. See you next week!
Want to brainstorm a marketing strategy to grow your business? Book a free consultation with me here.