Question: I’m middle aged and intend to retire, voluntarily, from the civil service in about seven months time, with an aim to establish a Day-care Centre and Dress Shop (for ages 0 – 6), under one business name. I already have a comprehensive business plan, and have worked out all other related issues, apart from being sure of how to make people know about this new outfit. I was just informed that you’re the guru who can help with vital tips, to help me fill this essential gap. May God bless you for the anticipated assistance. – Mrs. Bisi O.
On the guru aspect, you’re now the second subscriber expressing such. However, while the glory remains with God Almighty, thank you for the compliment as I receive the blessing with ‘both hands’. I commend your decision to retire, voluntarily, and establish your own business while you’re still quite able. This is coming at a time when many of your contemporaries in the civil service are known to ‘fine-tune’ their curriculum vitae in order to stay longer in the system, due to desires to cling to spoils of office and fear of the unknown.
With a comprehensive business plan, why are you uncertain about making your intended outfit known? I suspect a professional, with strong inclination towards the naira and kobo elements (I hesitate to provide a tag here), must have produced the plan. Nevertheless, combine whatever is available with the much space here affords.
I realize the uphill task involved in setting up a new business. No matter what you may have put together by way of plans, model, intended staffing, and leadership drive, a significant aspect of being successful in it lies in getting the rest of the world to know about it (promotion). This aspect of awareness lies in your creating its brand and other nitty-gritty of making people know about your offering. Without expounding on what branding is all about or hints on suitable business names, I hope the intended outfit already has a name that significantly ties its two arms (day-care centre and dress shop) to its essence – The ages 0 to 6. This easily facilitates brand identity.
Your brand, being a first step to being better known, depicts how you will be distinguished amongst your competitors, and throughout your industry. Remember that your company name, logo, symbol, design and other forms of graphic identity are all hinged to application of branding. For emphasis, branding is not just an expression or concept (fall out of the word, Brand), it will comprise the sum total of your new outfit’s identity – From its graphic identity, as stated above, to every encounter the yet-to-be customers have with it. So, from the unset of your new venture, you must get its branding right.
To also make the new outfit known, it is essential you consider these:-
- Plan How to Proceed: Define who your best prospects are, and the best way to reach them. Knowing who your customers are remains paramount in this effort, as every company should have its targeted market ‘in mind’ before commencement of business. It helps a great deal if you could get into ‘the mind’ of your targeted market. Try to make out what those who comprise this group need, want and why they would like to patronize your business. Knowing these makes for your understanding of what drives those in this group to become steady customers, and then affords you an alignment of your marketing efforts (inclusive of being known) appropriately.
- Your business card, stationery, letter head, envelope, brochure, etc (reflecting your logo) ‘tell’ prospective customers so much about your new business – What it does and how it can help them. Graphic forms of company’s identification conveyed through these items obviously create instant awareness about your outfit.
- Publicize something unusual about your company (e.g. its formal commissioning, donation to a Motherless-Babies Home by you, presumably its CEO, etc). You can achieve lots of publicity through well-written press (or news) releases sent to the local media, whose readership or audience may likely be interested in what you offer. If you can, write related articles for newspapers, magazines, industry publications, websites, to convey your expertise in your area of endeavour (e.g. Parenting, clothing for babies & toddlers). When your firm is publicized elsewhere, promote this further through creating sales literature from such (e.g. sales letter, brochure, and flyer).
- Have a web site for your new business, as soon as it takes off. These days of the World Wide Web (www), the benefits of owning a company’s web site as a vital tool of making it known are quite many. To facilitate your enlightenment on benefits derivable from owning a web site, feel free to request for my earlier piece on the subject, titled “Web site as tool of government promotion”.
- Become active in two or more professional groups; and cash-in on available vendors whose services your company would patronize for any reason (e.g. dress-makers, decorators, suppliers, etc) to make known your firm. What about belonging to women’s’ groups, especially these days of preferences or quotas set aside for women-owned enterprises?
- To spread the word about your venture further, inform your friends, relatives, and also network effectively with even those engaged in similar ventures (Let them realise you won’t steal their show, and will even be available to handle any ‘extras’ from their outfits). Ask for leads that may require your services.
- In the same vein, consider these summaries of other means of making your outfit known: Offer to be a speaker (e.g. at industry conferences, seminars, local business meetings with benefits derived from name recognition, contacts and publicity); participate in related government programmes (these can offer free consulting and provide linkups to other parties who can patronize you). Lastly, make “cold calls” (e.g. using the telephone) – To contact directly those who may likely patronize your business, for appointments to provide details about what you offer.
Enjoyed the post? Kindly use the sharing buttons on the left hand side to share the post on your favorite social networks. To make sure you stay up to date with our articles, enter your email to subscribe.