Ask the expert: All about investing in PR & Marketing
Peter Searle is a business advisor and has been working with Izzy PR for around a year, guiding us through a huge growth phase. Every so often, we ask an expert to share their experience with us – here’s Peter’s view on early investment in PR & marketing.
- What challenges do start-ups face?
The early days of a new business are tough. In fact, 30% fail in the first two years and 50% in the first five. Common causes are that the original idea is just not sound or the owner simply runs out of cash.
The two main challenges are often:
1.Honing your product or service:
After the expense of setting up in the first place, businesses need to generate sales as quickly as possible to recover their initial investment and for their own survival. The difficulty is that this is very much a period of ‘finding your feet’ – how great is the demand for your product or service? What do your customers like about it? Why do some choose not to buy from you?
A successful founder will modify their offering according to the answers to those questions. This research process is invaluable. It gives a business a greater understanding of its market and USP, and helps prove it can work.
2.Setting the right price:
Even the most innovative new product can easily bomb if the price doesn’t suit the market. For an established business with relatively constant costs, this can be straightforward. A start-up, however, faces a tricky dilemma: sell high to cover start-up costs which could potentially deter customers, or go low to attract custom but generate little profit for growth?
- How can a government start-up loan help?
These loans are specifically designed to help get small businesses through this fledgling period. The repayment rate is very low, so the cost of the loan can be accommodated in your pricing, without making you noncompetitive.
- What’s the best way to spend the loan to get those all-important sales?
I always advise clients that good branding and marketing is essential from the early stages of their business. A striking logo, well-designed website, beautifully presented brochures, business cards and signage are vital for creating a professional image.
Who would you trust more – a well-presented business or one that looks a bit scruffy?
If your business looks good, it’ll make you feel good and more confident. It will also give your clients confidence in you.
Similarly, consider investing in some PR. Use (or set up) your social media channels and perhaps a well-targeted press release to tell the world – or at least your local area – about your amazing new business ad story. Always publish your news on your own website too – be your own broadcaster! If you don’t announce your arrival, how will anyone know your business exists? And keep the communication flowing through creative, informative and interesting social media posts.
- But PR and marketing are luxuries…aren’t they?
Too often, businesses put off spending in these areas until they’re generating a large profit. But fail to invest in PR and marketing and you might not get to that point in the first place! Professional presentation and communication are crucial for creating a service or product your customers will want to buy. Nothing shouts ‘poor quality’ more than premises with outdated signage, business cards amended with pen, a basic or clunky website and neglected social media.
- How much should businesses borrow?
Just a small loan of around £2,500 should be enough to get you off the ground and make you look professional from the start. If you can prove that there is a demand for your business idea, and are ready to start marketing in earnest, then a start-up loan could be for you.
Find out more about start-up loans with Peter at https://transmitstartups.co.uk/ref/smc/
For more advice from Peter Searle on start-ups or business growth, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.ba4cs.co.uk/