Small Business: Raising Your Business Profile

Written by Ben Botes

By Ben Botes

Whenever you communicate a message you are inevitably felling a story about your business. The media has an insatiable demand for stories; without them they would have very little to write about.

Public relations – can be a confusing term. But all businesses need and use PR, even if they don’t realise it. Businesses have to communicate with a wide audience of customers if they are to survive. It’s how well a company communicates that will determine its success levels.

The process of raising your business profile can be divided into four steps:

Step 1 Get clear on your marketing mix

You will often here someone onrepparttar website refer torepparttar 150898 marketing mix. This refers torepparttar 150899 five P's of marketing. Product, Place, Price, Promotion and People. Any business who combinesrepparttar 150900 5 P's effectively will be successful.

Who is Your Customer? In order to tailor your marketing and advertising strategies to appeal torepparttar 150901 tastes and interests of your market, you must first identify your customer. In order to do this, you it is necessary to conduct thorough research ofrepparttar 150902 consumer marketplace. Keep in mind,repparttar 150903 more information you have about your target market,repparttar 150904 better able you will be to develop a successful marketing plan.

A market profile typically uses primary and secondary sources to answer key questions about a potential market. A profile is a picture or an outline. Information that makes uprepparttar 150905 social profiles ofrepparttar 150906 people in your target market is called demographic information, and includes: age, usually given in a range (20-35 years) sex marriage/partner status location of household family size and description income, especially disposable income (money available to spend) education level, usually to last level completed occupation interests, purchasing profile (what are consumers known to want?) cultural, ethnic, racial background

A clothing manufacturer may consider a number of possible target markets--toddlers, athletes, grandparents (for grandchildren), teenagers, and tourists. A general profile of each of these possible markets will reveal which ones are more realistic, pose less risk, and which are more likely to show a profit. A test market survey ofrepparttar 150907 most likely market groups, or those who buy for them, such as parents for babies and toddlers, can help you separate real target markets from unlikely possibilities. The Right Product What are your customer's needs? What do they expect to get when they buy your product or use your service? The right product isrepparttar 150908 one that best fits their requirements. People who eat in restaurants want more than a good meal. They might expect quick service, a reasonable price, a vegetarian menu, a children's menu, entertainment, a drive through window, or to be identified with a trendy crowd. It becomes a difficult and probably an unprofitable venture trying to satisfy everyone's needs.

If you have identified your customer and listed their expectations, you can design your product or service around their requirements.

The more you fulfil your customer's expectations,repparttar 150909 betterrepparttar 150910 quality of your product. Think of your product or service as more than just whatrepparttar 150911 customers pays for. When you are planning your business consider howrepparttar 150912 whole transaction meetsrepparttar 150913 customer's needs.

It is important to note that developingrepparttar 150914 product or service COMES AFTER you have identifiedrepparttar 150915 customer and their need. If you have an idea you think might be worth pursuing, developrepparttar 150916 concept only when you have determined a genuine need and interest inrepparttar 150917 product.

Then letrepparttar 150918 market help you develop it and strengthen it. Most small businesses fail becauserepparttar 150919 market was not enthusiastic about their idea andrepparttar 150920 entrepreneur was too vested to listen torepparttar 150921 market early inrepparttar 150922 process. Positioning your Business Positioning refers torepparttar 150923 image customers have of your business. The goal is to create a business image that enables you to position your business in such a way that, in essence, it acts as a natural magnet for your intended customers. A number of factors that customers often look for include: price (i.e. cheapest price, fair price, price for quality, etc.) assortment parking service sales personnel quality fashion convenience location atmosphere

Your overall position should emphasize those areas that your customers value most, and those which make you different from your competition. Pricing Techniques The importance of pricing can not be underestimated as incorrect pricing can often result inrepparttar 150924 failure of a business. New businesses often makerepparttar 150925 mistake of either charging too little or too much for their product or service. So to help you avoid making one of these mistakes,repparttar 150926 following section will outline some ofrepparttar 150927 guiding principles of price determination. Price is a key part of marketing. Setting prices is called pricing.

Pricing torepparttar 150928 Market Compare prices with your competitors for similar products and services. Setrepparttar 150929 price range that customers will expect. You can use that market price range--what is acceptable torepparttar 150930 market--as a guide to set your prices. Businesses or people to whom you sell may also price torepparttar 150931 market by telling you what they will pay for your product or service. As you keep records of actual costs,repparttar 150932 cost approach to pricing will help you make sure all your costs are covered, which may not be true in a market approach to pricing.

NOTE: Be careful about under pricing in order to compete or make sales. Use competitor's prices to establishrepparttar 150933 price range for similar products or services but don't under price; if your true costs are higher, your final prices will have to be higher.

Cost Approach to Pricing Price must cover all costs of goods/services sold, including production costs of supplies, materials, fixed overhead, and time/labour, plus a profit. Costs should include costs of production, labour and non-labour, including overhead or fixed costs as well as supplies and materials. Use this simple formula in setting a price (per unit): Total Costs of Production Per Unit + Desired Dollar Profit Per Unit.

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