City of Chicago created Small Business Centre to act as a one stop shop to provide extensive education and support to SMBs so that you spend less time in the city hall and more time with your business. Small businesses in the Windy city will certainly blow you away but there are some critical components that you need to think of as an entrepreneur to prevent setback to your marketing campaign.
Avoid making the following mistakes:
- Throwing Money Around Unnecessarily
Nowadays there are so many options for an entrepreneur to splurge their wealth at, but tangible results are obtained when you put money at the right places:
- Get registered. Procure a licenses, trademarks and copyrights. The monetary requirements may differ according to your business. Refer this link for business licenses in Chicago.
- Drive online/offline campaigns according to your business’ needs. Distribute pamphlets at subway stops such as Chicago (red), Racine and Cermak McCormick place.
- DO NOT tie hefty sums right in the beginning. Start slow and back your initial strategies with gradual investments. Test the performance of different platforms before infusing funds in them
- Invest in Brainstorming and come up with interesting and potentially productive ideas. Run stories about your business in popular media platforms such as Chicago tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Red-Eye etc.
Not Identifying the USP Before Investing
From a nerdy bar in Wicker Park to an art gallery for carpentry lovers in Pilsen, each have a Unique Selling Proposition. USP differentiates you from your competitors’ business. Remember, each brand is different and each one needs a different strategy for an efficient marketing:
- Know your product and its value by analyzing its quality and competition. For instance if you are starting a restaurant in Chicago’s north end employ competitive pricing to tackle similar eateries in the neighbourhood. As a tip, encourage bulk orders by offering discounts.
- Show your product to be unique. Don’t expect customers to choose you if they can’t see the difference and benefit to them right away. The most visible example is: “We deliver food in Chicagoland in 30 minutes or less”
Neglecting The Realistic Probability of Potential Buyers
Ultimately, buyers bloom a business. If you end up overestimating the buying capacity of your customer base, your business is doomed to fail. Though Chicago stands at #13 in terms of richest cities in United States, but your product’s USP must justify its price for consumer engagement.
For calculating the buying capacity you need to know:
- Range of products your customer need
- Elements your products satisfy
- Priority and buying cycle of your product
- Size, health and revenue of competitors
Generalize these factors according to your individual business and the likely amount customers are going to spend for your product.
Not Involving The Employees Into Marketing
Marketing is all about engagement. If you succeed in grabbing customer’s attention, by interesting content, catchy visuals or otherwise, your marketing is termed as successful. Marketing is supposed to impart your company’s values to its consumer base. And who other can accomplish this task than your workforce?
Give incentives to motivate your employees to blog. Infuse a sense of team spirit in them and throw occasional parties to ease off the pressure. Take your team for events in looking glass theatre or a lunch at Gene and Georgetti and post related pictures and stories to show the “fun” side of your business.
Not Doing an Assessment of Profit and Risk
When you run a business you HAVE TO assess the potential of involved profits and take risks accordingly. Infusing big funds without a proper analysis is like a gamble with very slim chances of winning.
- Understand the business models in Chicago by attending workshops and seminars by The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP).
- Visit the Small Business Centre and discuss various aspects of your business with able consultants ranging from your licensing needs to financial resources.
With its vibrant startup culture, Chicago is one of the best places in United States to start a business or expand an already existing firm. Make use of proper resources (like SBC) and avoid the above mentioned mistakes and sail onto a journey of creating yourself a business empire.