If you’re thinking about starting a business, one of the first things you need to decide is if your proposed business would fulfil an existing need within your target market. Unfortunately, this question doesn’t always have a simple answer. For example, if you’re planning to open a vintage clothing business in your town, but there is already another vintage clothing shop located within a ten-mile radius, you’ll have to figure out what to do to shield yourself from competitors and learn to thrive without fear of being overtaken.
One of the best ways to do this is by developing a marketing plan. This is a way for you to make a detailed plan of how to make sure that your target market is not only aware that your business exists, but that they feel compelled to come and give you their patronage. If you do not have any previous experience in marketing, it’s a good idea to recruit the help of colleagues who may have advice to offer, or start educating yourself through industry books on the subject.
Your marketing plan should discuss strategies for increasing your customer base. Ideally, you should try to focus on methods that are not very dependent on economic conditions, but in some cases, you can use an economic downturn to your advantage. For example, think about offering coupons or loyalty programs to people who have already proven to be frequent visitors to your business.
In closing, remember that no marketing tactics can substitute for excellent customer service. If customers feel that they are truly valued, they will not only be more likely to do business with you again, but also spread the word to their friends.