There are more people than ever before choosing to start up in business on their own. Thanks to the technology we now all have at our fingertips, it is cheaper and easier than in previous years to take an idea or your existing skill set and build a business based on it. This combined with the troubled employment markets around the world has led to a culture in which being an entrepreneur is an attractive option for lots of working age people,
Many of these modern entrepreneurs start out with a lot of the skills they need to deliver a product or service, but are at something of a loss when it comes to the auxiliary skills that are needed to launch and run an enterprise. Some of these, like finance, they generally decide early on whether to learn to do or to outsource, and either route generally works pretty smoothly. However, an area of skill that is critical for any fledgling business, but which tends to scare new entrepreneurs far more, is marketing.
The Blend of Creative and Technical
One of the main reasons marketing daunts business owners is that it is not a purely technical field like finance which you can learn from a manual. To be successful you not only need to know the underlying principles and techniques that go into a good marketing strategy, but also need to apply some business sense and creativity. People whose business is marketing can do this, but given it is a complex thing that is part art and part science, it is not something you can easily pick up and do well just by doing some online research.
Another reason why marketing is intimidating is that the stakes are very high. If you fail at marketing, either nobody knows about your business or you gain a negative reputation. This means that you can’t really wing it or do the minimum and hope for the best. A business in its infancy is so reliant on marketing that no new entrepreneur wants to risk doing it badly.
There are really two solutions for business owners who don’t want to try and DIY their marketing strategies without the confidence or skills. They can either hire a company or individual who offers marketing strategy consulting and work alongside them to develop things that work, or they can dedicate a lot of time to formally studying marketing alongside other key business skills, for example by doing an MBA. In general, the outsourcing option is best, because while having marketing skills is always good as a business owner, if it isn’t the focus of the business it shouldn’t be taking up too much of your time. Business owners who try and do everything themselves tend to be spread too thin to make the best of the skills and ideas they founded the business on in the first place.
Marketing can seem like a dark art for business owners, so can be a very good area to work in as a consultant.