This installment of the BE Study Guide Series tackles marketing, finance, and press, with tips gleaned from the BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Summit panel, “How to Use Technology to Protect and Grow Your Business,” sponsored by Nationwide.
From left to right: Everette Taylor, VP of Marketing, Skurt; Sequoia Blodgett, technology editor at BLACK ENTERPRISE; LaShonda Johnson, CEO and co-founder of The Houston Housewives Finance Official, Inc.; Claire Sulmers, journalist and founder of Fashion Bomb Daily. (Source: Twitter/Claire Sulmers)
Watch the Entire Session Here:
- Make sure you establish product-market fit. In other words, make sure you have a product that people actually want and that you have an audience to target, before looking to acquire additional users.
- Create an ideal customer profile. Realize who your target audience is; where they live in the digital and physical space; and what type of marketing will work in order to best determine how to acquire these users.
- Establish a structured growth process, which needs to be repetitious and constantly tested.
- Create a hypothesis for every marketing idea that you come up with, have trackable key performance indicators (KPIs), then decide which marketing idea you want to go with.
- Use the I.C.E. method to measure:
- Impact—On a scale of one to 1o, ask yourself how impactful your product or service could be for the company or the brand.
- Confidence—Ask yourself how confident you are in your idea.
- Ease—Consider how easy or how hard your idea will be to implement.
- If you are a business owner, make sure you have a great Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an attorney, and a financial professional on speed dial.
- When starting out as a small business owner, you are the business. So, your personal finances need to be on point, as well.
- A bank wants you to have a life insurance policy where they are the beneficiary. In case you die, they still want to get paid.
- DO NOT co-mingle funds. You must have a business account to take care of business transactions and a separate account for your personal funds.
- If you are going into business for yourself, you also need to have reserves, so that you can function. There is nothing worse than to try to operate a business when you’re “case poor.”
- Do market research to find out which magazines or other publications speak to your audience.
- Hire a publicist who can pitch your business to different people.
- If you can’t place a story, invest in advertising.
- Don’t discount the power of in-person contact. Talking face-to-face increases the possibility of being featured in any publication.
Click here for the next part of our series, which will recap the Entrepreneurs Summit session, “Spotting Trends and Opportunities in Tech,” featuring Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder and president of COSIGN; James Andrews, CEO of SMASHD Ventures; and Tunisha Walker, senior vice president of Capalino & Company.