Succeed as a Start Up with These 5 Questions

According to a study in the Telegraph this year, nearly 70 new businesses are registered every hour in the UK, but only 40% will make it in to year 4 with 20% going under in the first 12 months.

Marketing is critical to the success of any start-up, 71% business owners will try and do their own marketing, but it’s hard to be a master of all aspects of your business, especially marketing. You’re an expert in your product or service, but how do you know where to focus your attention with regards to marketing, how to get your name out there and how to make the most of a small budget?

Ask yourself these 5 key questions and you’ll have a much better idea of where to focus your marketing activity and most importantly, how to turn this into a success.

Q1 : Who are my ideal customers?

In the past I’ve had clients give a long list of who might want their product or reply with ‘Well actually I think it would appeal to a number of people’. The tighter you can make your audience, the more chance you will have of gaining their attention. For example you can tailor specific product features to that audience. You can also tailor the way you talk to them, the imagery, the tone and the key messages. This will all help to make you heard among this group of people.


Q2 : What is the most important thing I need to tell a potential customer?

I’ve even fallen into this trap myself. You think of all the ways your product or service could help that customer and you start reeling them off. It’s so easy to do especially if this is your own business, after all you know it inside out. You may think you’re looking super helpful and really capable. The reality is that the customer can’t hear anything. You’ve given them too much to focus on.

Think about the elevator pitch. What’s the one thing you want them to remember? Focus on this. If you stay consistent and keep repeating this, your customers will hear this .


Q3 : Do I have a plan of what I am communicating for the next 6 months?

I’ve chosen 6 months, but this could equally be 1 month or 1 year. The key point here is make sure you have a plan. A plan of who you are going to talk to, about what and how.

Why? Because it will keep your marketing consistent and will keep you from getting distracted with all the other things your business demands of you. We all know how hard it is to run a business and how many plates you need to spin. A simple plan will help keep your marketing on track

Q4 : How should I allocate my marketing budget?

Whether you’ve got a marketing budget in terms of money or your just thinking of it in terms of your time, think about how you can spend it wisely. Whilst marketing is all about testing and learning, if you spread yourself too thin and try to do too much you won’t be able to see what is working and what is not. What’s worse, you may not be spending enough in any area to make a difference.

Focus on one or two activities at a time and make sure you can get as much synergy from them. For example, if you have some good content e.g. a customer review, think about how many places you could use this.

Question 5 : How much do you spend on your existing customers?

This isn’t a trick question. It’s an area that often gets overlooked, but did you know acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer and the success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.

So it makes sense to not forget these customers and see what else they may need from you.

They’re also one of your greatest free marketing resources. How many time have you looked at reviews before you’ve purchased something or checked out a hotel on Trip Advisor? What could your customers be saying to potential customers about your business? How could they help promote your business?


If you’d more help with how to implement these marketing ideas, or you’d like to master more of the basics of marketing for start-ups, I am running two interactive online sessions in January. Packed full of advice, with a chance to put the theory into practice in your business, they are a great next step.

Or email me directly to find out more about how marketing can help your business.