Don’t know where to start? Learn from Wayne Gretzky.

Being a Canadian girl who thinks there is something almost sacred about the sound of blades on the ice as well as having spent many hours as a child skating on the frozen pond behind her house… I like hockey.  So many years ago when I heard this quote from hockey great Wayne Gretzky it stuck with me.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Moving forward with your business and taking action can be terrifying.  The fear of failure may be looming.  But at some point you need to make decisions and get started.

If you don’t market or communicate about what you do – you are not going to find any customers.

Here are 7 steps to get moving.

#1 Do some planning.

What are you trying to achieve?   Decide on some goals.  Who is your target customer?  What steps do you need to make it happen?

Sorry that was a lot of questions…  start simple, your answer to the above might be…

I want to sell $1000 in homemade soaps this year.  Expected target customer is female 20s to 40s, lives in the area.  Steps needed – make soap, have an open house, participate in weekly community market.  As you think about these you can expand them further.  For example, call the market manager, decide on prices, purchase boxes to hold the soaps, print labels.

Maybe it’s something more involved…

Goals – Increase sales of vegetables at market by 50% + confirm 2 restaurants to purchase vegetables.  Target customer is market shoppers (estimated to be mostly female – moms w young children & 50+) and upscale restaurants with focus on local food.  Steps needed – grow more vegetables, find extra field help, start earlier and end later at market, approach 10 restaurants, have business cards ready, make list of available vegetables and expected pricing.

The important part here is to start thinking and writing down what you want to accomplish.  Start thinking of all the steps needed to make it happen.

#2  What marketing or promotional efforts are needed to support your goals.

Make a list of as many as possible.  Some may be completely unaffordable such as advertising on TV – strike these out.  Rate the remaining options on how well they will help you reach your goals and target market, the ease of doing them, time required to complete them and their expense.

#3  Check your top options against your budget.

Don’t undertake expensive marketing efforts that will exceed your financial comfort zone.  Don’t feel pressured to sign up for advertising campaigns because they are a special deal.

#4  Rough out a marketing plan.

Using your top options map out how you will do them.  If you will do an enewsletter – how often will you send it?  If you are going to have a website – when could it be ready?  What information will it provide?  Make a chart with one column for each month.  Note what marketing efforts will be completed each month.

#5  Get started!

You don’t have to do everything at once but pick something and start doing it!  For example, you might start with creating a one page flyer that could be posted at community bulletin boards about your gluten free cooking class.  Maybe it’s roughing out a call script for the restaurants you want to approach.

#6  Reflect & analyze.

Were you able to execute your promotional plans?  Did a weekly e-newsletter become impossible?  Did you decide to participate in a local food conference you hadn’t planned on?  Did your promotional efforts help you reach your goals?  Make notes.

#7  Adjust as necessary.

Maybe you stop what you are doing to do something completely different.  For example, maybe you stop advertising in the local newspaper and establish a Facebook page instead.

Maybe you change how you do something.  For example, you continue to do an e-newsletter, but aim for every 2 weeks instead of every week, or you shorten it to make it easier to prepare.

Maybe you add something completely new – such as attending a local networking group for mompreneurs.

The most important thing to do is to take action.
From these actions you will experience things and be able to learn and grow.
Wayne took the shots and became a hockey legend.  Now it’s your turn to take some shots!

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