Over the past few months I have been laying the foundation of my start-up business. Research, business coaches and advisors, incubator-type of groups etc. I have learned about my target market and what they actually need. Most of this came from a) asking my target market personally, or b) asking bankers – who I perceive as one of my sources for client referrals. I’ve learned doing business plans around what you think you should sell and what your perspective clients will pay for might be completely different – therefore you ask. I’ve used a tool – the Business Model Canvas to help organize my thoughts. Strategyzer.com has this tool – and is highly recommended by myself and the wonderful group of entrepreneurial women I meet with regularly.
Through this process and with the help of other free tools recommended by the Small Business Development Center, I feel my service is solid, my target market is underserved, and I’m at the right point of my own career to do this thing. As an accounting professional I have the finance part of the whole plan figured. I have different scenarios to keep business slow – or to attract more as needed. Part of attracting perspective clients is of course marketing.
I met with four separate marketing firms. I had positive experiences with three and pricing took my options down to two choices. Both were local firms with great reputations. The difference was one wanted to re-brand me. No – not now I thought, maybe I did do things out-of-order a bit and lucked out when FinanSynergy.com was completely available along with the FB page, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. I chose my brand colors purple and orange for a reason. Purple has always been my favorite color. My birthstone is Amethyst and I’m a MN Vikings fan. Skol! Orange was just a nice accent color to the purple. I love sunsets – both colors can be seen in breath-taking sunsets. The pyramid for my logo stems from a leadership class I took early in my career that used psycho-geometrics to help identify personality traits. I am a triangle. The class taught us how to identify and collaborate with the different personality types in our work groups. Very useful – and years later I find a very strong identity with that triangle.
I have now met a couple of times with the marketing firm I have selected. They have begun work on my webpage and I am thoroughly excited! I’m confident my website finansynergy.com will be launched by the end of August. In the mean time I paid to be a sponsor for a fall conference on September 15th. Another solid deadline for me (I need deadlines – otherwise I will just drag my feet). So I think about the conference – ok, what do I need. I need a banner and some handouts perhaps. Hmmmm. That requires a designer. So circle back with my marketing firm – yup ok. Conference call. This call was full of terms that were foreign to me – things I definitely did not learn with my degrees in accounting or management – or my masters in public administration. So they emailed me what they needed. I have to call printers and ask for their banner templates and requirements for bleeds for the edge of the banners/handouts.
I have learned a lot. However, I have also confirmed – there are experts at what they do and to use them. I spent a decent chunk of money to be a sponsor – I do not want to be embarrassed. I know my marketing team with take my content – make it flow with my website and everything they put together. They are on my side – they want me to succeed, not bleed.