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08 November 2019

Taking the plunge – how to launch your business, by Mike Wilkins, Digital Content Director, Orchard PR

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Startup Guernsey is looking forward to the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week events and asked Mike Wilkins of Orchard PR to give a taster ahead of their Ready to Launch event.

Many people dream of starting their own business and counting the money as it rolls in, but only a few turn their dreams into reality.

Fear holds many people back – leaving the security of a permanent job, with its perks and steady salary, and starting out on your own can be a daunting prospect. The uncertainty of a start-up and the fear of failure are two of the biggest barriers to pursuing your dreams. On the other hand, stepping out of your comfort zone can be exhilarating. But promoting your business by speaking to the media and opening yourself up publicly can be intimidating. However apprehensive you might be about getting on the promotional trail, it is an essential part of getting your venture off the ground and can be great fun (honest!).

So what should you do when you are ready to tell people about your business? Be passionate about your company. Your attitude and your motivation are what will help you continue moving forward. One of the biggest challenges is letting customers know about your product or service on a shoestring budget. There are several ways to cost-effectively promote your brand that can make a big impact.

Let your network work for you
Join relevant professional associations to help you make contacts and increase your profile. Go with an attitude of giving rather than just getting, consider offering free training sessions. Attend meetings, ideally volunteer to help and join the committee to help plan events. Gradually people will get to know you and your business. Build up your contacts. Word of mouth leads to new clients and in Guernsey this can be very effective.

Let your social network work for you
Technology has changed everything; social networks are enabling people to affordably target specific customers with specific product offers. You can grow your brand if you embrace social media.

Approach journalists
They have a significant audience. They are usually very busy so you may have to work hard to think of an engaging way of attracting their attention. They are interested in stories more than products or services. Ideas to pique their interest include human stories such as overcoming adversity or the sacrifices people make to start a business, taking on a corporate giant, being the first to market, the biggest, the smallest, the youngest, the oldest etc. You may lose editorial control but if you keep on message and emphasise the positives it will put your brand in front of a lot of people, for free.

Gifts and keeping that personal touch
Instead of sending out letters or emails consider how you can make a lasting impact, such as distributing gift bags filled with your product or relevant material about your service. Contact clients to notify them about new stock or services.

If you are keen to learn more about how to prepare a launch strategy across different communication channels, then sign up for the Global Entrepreneurship Week event at 12:00 on Tuesday 19th November 2019. You will hear about key actions to prioritise and a panel discussion with experts and business influencers to demonstrate that, if you prepare effectively, launching a new business does not have to be too daunting.

Free tickets for the talk, which takes place at the Frossard Theatre, Guernsey Museum, Candie, as well as all the Global Entrepreneurship Week events, can be booked at www.startup.gg/events.

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