The Challenges Facing Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

One of the keys to success in creating a new business is to stand out in the marketplace. Doing so means careful planning and disciplined implementation. A well thought out IMC program is an essential tool in the pursuit of success.

All small businesses and new ventures are not the same. In fact, the range of types is quite large. Here are a few common types:

1. A small family-owned business, such as a dry cleaner, a restaurant, a specialty shop – – e.g. photo studio – – or a one stop convenience store that is designed to provide the family with income.

2. A business start-up with growth in mind, either through increased product sales, multiple locations or franchise agreements.

3. Corporate start-ups of entrepreneurial ventures such as Genuity.com and wireless phone and Internet access services offered by long-distance companies.

4. Groups of physicians, dentists or other professionals who go into practice together.

Typically, entrepreneurship means a company is being formed with the express goal of becoming larger through an aggressive growth agenda. Intrepreneurship is a corporate spin-off or start up. A small business is a family-owned company or consortium of professionals that is formed with specific objectives in mind. In most cases, aggressive growth is not as important as providing adequate income for the owners.

The common denominator of all forms to start-up and new businesses is that they are unknown in the marketplace. This is the major challenge to any new business. For example, the launch MLife at a recent Super Bowl created a substantial amount of confusion as to what exactly was being offered. While the company’s website was flooded with inquiries (so much so that it crashed), most people did not bother to find out and the take-off was slow.

Many consumers are cautious about trying new goods, services or companies. Purchases are often based on known brand names and familiar purchasing patterns. It is much easier for customers to purchase the same brand they have always purchased or another brand name they recognize or have used. To be considered, a new business must move the brand into a person or business’s evoked set of brands.

This dilemma is heightened by the massive amount of marketing clutter that all companies face. Overcoming clutter is especially difficult for new firms with limited budgets for marketing and promotion. Traditional methods of advertising and consumer promotions may not be enough to get recognized.

Company leader’s must be sure to deliver on promises and provide a high quality experience especially on the customer’s first purchase. On bad encounter will often lead to a negative word of mouth. A new business will probably not get a second chance if the customer has a bad experience.

To overcome these problems, a new company must develop a unique selling point and find a way to inform consumers about that advantage. Everything from the brand name to the logo to company advertisement must capture the interest and attention of the consumer. It is important to remember that customers are interested in benefits as opposed to product or service features, or as one writer put it, – what is in it for me? – the new company must be able to clearly answer this question in order to survive and grow.