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Do you want to start your own business but still need a full-time job to pay the bills? Is that even possible? Yes! We created the “16 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time” ebook for people just like you. It offer concrete actions to achieving your dreams while maintaining a full-time job.

In steps one, two and three, you learned how to select a business, create a business plan and establish goals.

In step four, you will learn how to create a marketing strategy.

Marketing will help you showcase your brand and gain an audience. Techniques range from the traditional marketing methods, such as business cards, print advertising and direct mail, to online advertising and social media. Don’t forget the importance of word-of-mouth. Suggestions from family and friends can often be more convincing than any print ad.

What’s Your Mission?

So how does a busy startup entrepreneur approach the huge task of marketing? First, develop your mission statement--this quickly explains your business’ purpose, target audience and what makes you stand out from competitors. Let’s say you’re starting a dog treat bakery next to your local grocery store. Your mission statement could be “Our mission is to make your four-legged family members delicious desserts you can buy while getting groceries for the rest of your family.”

Develop a Brand Identity

Now that you know your mission statement and what makes your company special, you can develop a consistent brand identity. What does that mean? This is your company’s “personality.” How do you want people to remember you? You’re probably more fun-loving than a veterinarian’s office, so your brand identity should reflect that. Think of visual elements: colors, logo and website design. What about the package design? Will you use bright colors, soft pastels or maybe black and white graphics?

Choose Your Marketing Methods

What is the best way to market your company? Answer these questions to help:

  • Who are your target customers? Be specific. Think about gender, income, geography and other demographics.
  • What media do they use? Are they online? If so, do they like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? What TV shows do they like? Do they read print newspapers or magazines?
  • Where do they buy the products or services you are selling? Are they available online? In stores? What kind of stores?
  • How will you sell your product? Will you own a store? Will you sell wholesale to stores? Or will you sell online?

For our example of the dog treat bakery, your target audience is dog owners who live near the local grocery store. You can market to nearby veterinarian offices, animal shelters, dog parks and maybe dog owner groups online. Your customers probably can’t find such specialty products at many places; pet store chains don’t make personalized dog treats. Your plan is to sell through your own store, but do you think you might sell online also?

Your answers above, along with time and budget, will help you determine the best marketing plan. Some basic marketing materials you will need include a logo, business cards, letterhead, website, brochures, fliers, sales letters and product packaging.

This is a lot of information to grasp, so break down each task into smaller steps. You don’t need to create a marketing plan overnight.

Read the remaining steps to entrepreneurship in the “16 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time” guide. Becoming an entrepreneur can be a long, difficult journey, but you don’t have to do it alone. Connect with a free business mentor at SCORE. Good luck, and remember to take it one step at a time.

marketing