According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of startups survive five years and only one-third survive ten
years. Although theeconomy has been improving, new businesses are still at risk of failure. New Business Incubators are on the rise, especially in California, and are a great way for businesses to gain mentorship and industry connections. However, they are not a sure-fire way to create a successful business.
Entrepreneur Gareth Forde from the startup “Tiny Kicks”, a product that measures the movement and number of kicks within the womb to help mothers and doctors track fetal health, spoke to the OC Register earlier this year about his acceptance to the EvoNexus business incubator in Irvine.
“The overwhelming reality of being in an incubator is it’s only as good as how engaged you are,” he said. “It’s probably one of the biggest drivers of success, the level of work and commitment of (your) team.”
Another key driver of business success is branding and engaging your audience through messaging.
Without a consistent, well-developed brand, a business can fail to reach the proper audiences or fail to accurately engage the intended audience because of incorrect messaging.
One important step to developing your brand is to ask the key questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? – not quite in that order.
What: What is your business? What is the problem or issue your business is aiming to solve or address? Your business should be trying to say something through its products. What is it trying to say? What is the message?
Who: Who is your target audience? Who will be interested in your business or product? Who are you intending to reach? What is your target audience like? Are they young, old, professionals, parents? Audience demographics are key in determining how to market your product and create the proper messaging.
Why: Why is your business or product important? Why is it different than other similar businesses? The truth is, there are very few original ideas anymore…so why should a client or customer pay attention to your business over the competitors?
How: How will you develop your business’ voice and personality? Will you use social media to engage your audience? Will you have a website? How will your website’s design, logo and verbiage convey your message?
Where: Where will you reach your target audience? Is it best to reach them at trade shows or online? Are mailers effective? Understanding where your audience engages is key to ensuring you are heard.
When: When are you launching your business? It’s best to understand your brand and develop it before you launch your business. Developing a timeline can keep you organized and keep your message on point.
Asking these basic, but important, questions will help you develop a strong company brand. Your brand is the essence of the business – it’s your unique differentiator, your mission, your personality and more.
Stacey Kaszton-Jones is the President of La Voz Marketing.