Tag Archives: Startup Marketing

Narrowing Your Addressable Market Down To Your Target Market

Narrow Target Market with The Startup Garage

Narrowing Your Addressable Market Down To Your Target Market

Before we go over some tips for narrowing your addressable market into a concise target market, lets first define these terms.

Addressable Market

The addressable market is the group of people (or businesses) whom might be interested in what you are selling.  It is the broadest umbrella of potential customers that your target or service may be suited for.

Target Market

The target market are those people (or businesses) within your addressable market whom are most likely to buy from you.  Typically, they are the lowest hanging fruits and therefore the cheapest to acquire.

Narrowing Your Addressable Market Down to Your Target Market(s)

It is important to have both an addressable market and a target market when writing a business plan.  Your addressable market will give the reader (potentially investors) a good understanding of the potential market opportunity should this business take off.  However, do not stop here.  Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of only looking at the big picture when defining their market.  Investors know – and so should you – that a start-up cannot be everything to everyone.  Startsups have a lot going up against them: no market awareness, tight sales and marketing budgets, steep competition, etc.

As a result, you will want to target a strategic set of market segments within your addressable market.  The low hanging fruits – those most likely and able to buy – will probably want to be your initial focus as these will cost the least amount of money to acquire, thereby leaving sales and marketing dollars for other segments.

A Note on Core Competencies

When determining both your addressable and target markets, keep your core competencies in mind.  You may be able to make moderate tweaks to your product or service to make yourself attractive to a new segment.  This may or may not be in your best interest.  Just be sure to stay focused on what it is you do best and determine the audience that most needs your solution to their problem.
 

Whether you have a question about your Addressable vs Target Market, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Value Propositions vs. Positioning Statements

Position vs Value Proposition from The Startup Garage

Value Propositions vs. Positioning Statements

The main objective of a company’s marketing strategy is to define and reach the target customer demographic while differentiating itself from the competition.  Value propositions and positioning statements stem from this marketing strategy and help the company to accomplish its marketing goals.  Many people use these terms interchangeably when writing a business plan or discussing their marketing strategy, but there are some key distinctions.

Value Propositions

A company’s value proposition describes the key functional and emotional benefits of its products, services and brand. Typically, functional benefits refer to key product/service features and advantages.  Meanwhile, emotional benefits refer to the positive feelings and emotions that customers experience when engaging with the company’s product, service or brand.  Whether the benefit is functional or emotional, the key is to create value and to convince customers that they are getting value for their money.  With this in mind, the main idea of a value proposition is to convince the customer that your product or service creates “value for their money.”  In other words, the benefits of your product or service minus the cost of your product or service results in value that is greater than the cost of the service

Positioning Statements

Positioning statements flow from your value propositions and a single value proposition may contain several positioning statements.  They are more focused messages that form the basis of advertising campaigns.  Positioning statements describe why a set of customers should use one product over another.  The positioning statement includes the target audience, product name, category, benefit and competitive differentiation.

Similarities

Value propositions and positioning statements share the following similarities:

  • Directed to a specific target market
  • Focused on the customer
  • Identify unique points of differentiation
  • Declare key benefits

Key Differences

 

Whether you have a question about Value Propositions vs Positioning Statements, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

How to Write a Positioning Statement

How To Write a Positioning Statement from The Startup Garage

How to Write a Positioning Statement

Many first time entrepreneurs get tripped up on the positioning statement portion of their business plan and how it differentiates from their value proposition.  In this blog post, we will tell you just how to write a positioning statement.  Please refer to the following links for instructions on how to write a value proposition and the difference between a value proposition and positioning statement.

What is a Positioning Statement?

Let’s start by making sure we all understand what a positioning statement actually is.   A positioning statement is a one or two sentence statement that articulates your product or service’s unique value to your customers in relation to your direct competition.  It explains why your customers should purchase your product or service over that of your competitors.

How to Write a Value Proposition?

A good positioning statement includes five primary components:

  1. Your target customer – a clear description of the core group to whom you want to appeal
  2. The frame of reference – the category in which you compete
  3. The key benefit – often the feature that differentiates you from the competition
  4. The reason to believe – your ability to deliver on your promise.

For (target customer) that seek (frame of reference of product category), (product or service name) offers (key benefit) that/because (reason to ).

For example: “For entrepreneurs that seek a professional business plan writer, The Startup Garage offers customized, investor-ready packages because our consultative approach, business experience and industry knowledge allow us to identify your goals and put together a plan to accomplish them.”

 

Whether you have a question about your positioning statement, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

 

How to Write a Value Proposition

How to Write a Value Proposition from the Startup Garage

How to Write a Value Proposition

When writing a business plan, many entrepreneurs get confused about value propositions and positioning statements. In this blog post, we will tell you just how to write a value proposition.
Please refer to the following links for instructions on how to write a positioning statement and the difference between a value proposition and positioning statement.

What is a Value Proposition?

Let’s start by making sure we all understand what a value proposition really is. A value proposition is focused directly on your target market.  It tells them exactly what your product or service is and why they should purchase it. Value propositions reflect your brand promise along with all the primary benefits offered and value received.  This helps differentiate yourself from your competition while spreading word-of-mouth.

How to Write a Value Proposition?

Now that you know what a value proposition is, let’s look at a few ways to write a value proposition. Any strong value proposition contains the following key elements:

  • The target customer
  • The statement of need
  • The frame of reference or product category
  • The key benefit
  • The major competitor(s)
  • The key differentiator(s)
  • The price

Now that you have they key elements to your value proposition, try plugging them into the following template:

For (target customer) who (statement of need), our (product/service name) is (frame of reference of product category) that (key benefit) because unlike (major competitor) our (product/service name) offers (key differentiator) at a price (less than, equal to or higher than competitor).

 

Whether you have a question about your Value Proposition, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Funding for Social Media Monitoring All Dried Up

Funding Social Media Monitoring from The Startup Garage

Funding for Social Media Monitoring All Dried Up

Decline in Funding for Social Media Monitoring

The Statistics Don’t Lie

Late-stage financing for social media monitoring and analytics companies has all but dried up.  With exits sagging, clearly this fad has reached its conclusion.  Over the past year, $128M has been invested in such companies across 25 deals.  This represents a decline of both funding and deal flow by 39.9% and 28.6% respectively as demonstrated in the graph below:

Late-stage financing for social media monitoring and analytics companies has all but dried up. TSG Enterprise. The Startup Garage

Late-stage financing for social media monitoring and analytics companies has all but dried up. TSG Enterprise. The Startup Garage

Of Those That Have Exited

The majority of exits have consisted of small, early stage companies who never achieved critical mass and who were acquired by larger, household companies primarily for talent or technology.  The most notable exit came from Radian6 which was acquired by Salesforce in 2011 for $326M, which was nearly 3X larger than all 25 exits in the past year.

Big Picture

If you are a social media monitoring or analytics company, get out while you can.  If you are thinking of launching or investing in one, think twice and definitely rethink your exit strategy.

Graph thanks to CB Insights.


 

Whether you have a question about Social Media Monitoring, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

What Is Your Core Competency?

What Is Your Core Competency? From The Startup Garage

What Is Your Core Competency?

Too many entrepreneurs and startups get caught up trying to be everything for everyone. You can always add features or sub-products down the road, but don’t lost sight of your mission and your core competencies.  Focus on one problem that your target customers have and solve it.

Get Focused

Once you start throwing in every decent idea that can be added to your product and service offering, you will find yourself with a disjointed solution that only partially solves your customers problems.  As a startup, you need to determine your core competencies and stick to what’s truly essential.

Exercise: Trimming the Fat

No matter how refined you think your product or service is, cut it in half.  Pare down the features until you are left with the most essential ones, and then do it again.  By doing this process, you’ll avoid over-engineering, you’ll be much more efficient, you’ll spend far less on product development and employee costs and you’ll wind up with a much more narrowed target market to focus your limited sales and marketing budget on.  Furthermore, you’ll end up with a product/service that truly solves your customer’s core problem.
 

Whether you have a question about Core Competency, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

3 Games To Help You Generate Business Ideas

3 Games To Help You Generate Business Ideas from The Startup Garage

3 Games To Help You Generate Business Ideas

Generating a business idea takes creativity.  Fortunately, we can exercise our creativity like a muscle.  And it can even be fun.  Try these three games to inspire new ideas.  Who knows, it might lead to the next million-dollar startup!

1. Mix and Match

What two products could be brought together for the first time to create a new one?  For example, take license plates and dry erase boards.  People can custom their very own license plate!  While this couldn’t work from a legal standpoint, you get the idea.  Try some of your own.

2. Solve It

Begin by questioning everything around you and constantly asking yourself, how could things be better?  Listen to complaints from friends and families and determine how you could fix these problems.

  3. What If?

Let your mind wander and dream.  What do you really wish were possible?  What if you could snowboard uphill?  What if you could monitor growth among children?

For more information on these simple brain games use to help exercise the creative model, click here. If you have your idea it’s time to learn how to write a business plan.

 

Whether you have a question about Games to Generate Business Ideas, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

5 Secrets to Sales

5 Secrets to Sales from The Startup Garage

5 Secrets to Sales

As a new startup, you will find yourself doing some form of sales around the clock.  Selling investors or bank officers, selling potential strategic partners or key employees, selling customers and clients.  Sales is king in the new economy.  You success will be determined by your ability to generate revenue and sell, not just your products and services, but also yourself.

Here are five signs you’re well positioned to succeed at the art of selling:

1. Remember, you are in the people business.

Don’t make the mistake of getting so caught up in what you are selling that you forget to make meaningful connections.

2. Focus on the results, not the effort.

Don’t confuse results with efforts.  Your success in selling is all about getting results.  Therefore, you should evaluate your results and not your efforts.  You don’t try to get an appointment, you either get it or you don’t.

3. Do the uncomfortable thing.

Don’t shy from the tough customers or the tough sales.  You can’t bring the big deals home without getting into the deep waters where the big fish swim.

4. Wow the customer.

Sales is all about emotion.  Constantly look for ways to inspire a customer’s emotional involvement and create the urgency to take ownership.

5.  Ask for the sale

This may seem very simple, but most salespeople never ask for the sale.  If you don’t ask, you will only sell to those who are going to buy regardless.

More details about these 5 tricks can be found here.
 

Whether you have a question about Sales Secrets, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Behavioral Targeting and What it Means to You

Behavioral Targeting and What it Means to You from The Startup Garage

Behavioral Targeting and What it Means to You

The internet is a constantly evolving mass of information that has only been around for a few decades, but is making a deeper and wider impact on global society each and every day. The concept of behavioral targeting is relatively new and is making an impact on each individual who uses the internet.

What is behavioral targeting you ask? Well, it all begins when targeting companies reach agreements with publishers and they put a specific piece of code into their website. As you browse the web, this site places a “cookie” on your browser. Now that the cookie is attached to your browser, the targeting is already under way. Data points are constantly being gathered as you navigate the world wide web taking note of the sites you are on, what you buy, as well as what you search for. As time goes on this data amasses itself and not only puts you in demographic categories but also takes note of your interests, preferences and hobbies.

The ability to gather this information on every individual using the internet allows companies to target specific segments of the population and thereby achieve a higher rate of interaction when marketing online. This may seem like a very costly way to advertise on the surface but the rate of interaction that you get from this method may prove to be extremely cost effective in the long run.

There are overreaching effects outside of the obvious marketing and advertising impacts that this technology can have for start-up companies trying to reach new customers. A whole new level of personalization is on the horizon. Jeff Hirsch, president and CEO of AudienceScience says that “10 years from now we will all look back and laugh that we ever had to type something into Google to find what we were looking for.” The algorithms that are being developed for this level of personalization are extremely complex and are now able to grasp a human’s depth and therefore avoid inundating you with Nike ad’s just because you were on ESPN.com. These newer and constantly evolving algorithms are breaking down website content that you view and these targeting techniques are viewing people as multi-dimensional beings.

The fact that these data points are constantly being compiled means that advances in this concept will come quick. If you are a startup company it would be wise to research this field and determine the best ways for your firm to use it to your advantage. When it comes to technology it doesn’t take long to get left behind so stay on the cutting edge with this one because its benefits to start-ups and entrepreneurs are limitless.

Whether you have a question about Behavioral Targeting, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Social Media for Startups

Social Media for Startups from The Startup Garage

Social Media for Startups

The global social media frenzy continues to gain momentum each and every day. The impact that social media popularity has had on the business world is immense.  Most startups and existing companies can no longer justify staying away from the trend because the benefits are too many. We will discuss these benefits and provide some strategies on how to get the most out of your social media endeavors.

Now that internet access is commonplace in almost every corner of the world, your customers are closer to you than ever before. In the past, businesses had to employ many different techniques to get the attention of the general public. Strategies like direct mail marketing and door to door canvassing of target neighborhoods. These techniques were often very costly and difficult to analyze the results of, and are no longer relevant. Currently, with the average American Facebook user currently spending six hours per month browsing the network, your customers are actively looking for what they are interested in and passionate about, and you have a great opportunity to reach out to them.

Because it is the most popular social network, we will use Facebook as an example of how to employ social media strategies to gain momentum for your startup. You have already set up your Facebook page for your business and are starting to attract fans of your page. Your goal now is to be able to engage the people who “like” your page and get them to interact with you on a consistent basis.

The first way to do this is to humanize your venture. This can be done simply by updating your pictures regularly. Add new albums, take pictures with your satisfied customers and showcase them to the rest of your fans. If you host an event, be sure to upload pictures from the event so that your fans see that you are real people, not just a company with no face.

Another great way to bolster positive interaction on your Facebook page is to have a sense of humor. People enjoy laughter, this is as inherent as the existence of gravity. If you make people laugh, they will associate happiness and joy with your business, and that is a connection that any business owner would love to have.

A very good way to get your fans involved with your page to pose questions directly to them. Asking questions that will stimulate your fans and create a reaction amongst each other over responses is a great way to increase overall participation on your page.

Social Media strategies are all about creating a buzz and a brand identity for your business. Remember that you should never be using social media just for the sake of it. You need to develop clear goals that you hope to achieve through the implementation of your strategies, and these goals should tie into your business plan.  Social Media is an extremely potent tool to growing and developing your business, so harness that power and use it wisely, and your customers as well as your bottom line will thank you for doing so.

Whether you have a question about Social Media or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!