|First; thanks for your response. I realised after I replied that it wasn't where I wanted it.
Right. For the record, yes, I expressed opions. Without wanting to have this devolve in to an 'I'm right you're wrong' match, everything I said comes directly from my own experience.
I wont ask you to enumerate which points are most disagreeable (well actually in an offline conversation I would - because you have piqued my interest)
Is my comment subjective? Yes.
Is it absolutely correct in this (or any other) situation? Probably not.
Does it express a point of view that speaks to the realities of business? I hope so.
Maybe I can provide some context, though.
My comments were to do with the naievity one has when starting a business.
Specifically I address the fact that businesses need money to pay for every thing they consume. Including the owners time, rewarding the owner for what will be a long, slow, hard grind.
I'm guessing that I will have to go with anecdotes from here on in. Hopefully it'll provide some insight to someone. Making the time spent writing the next few sentences worthwhile. If not, oh well.
I know that when I first started my company, that there was a period where knowing how and when to close a deal - was a mystery. You can't tell me that a person not armed with some sales knowledge is going to survive very long, without some help from somewhere.
No sales means no income. Banks don't extend credit indefinitely. The sooner everyone going in to business understands these realities, then the quicker they can get to setting their sales strategies in motion.
I was once told 'losing a lot of battles does not teach you how to win' so it is with sales. Get some coaching from someone that can sell.
The quicker new business owners can say 'Look I really know my trade; but what is really going to pay the bills are sales' the sooner it will be so.
The OP asked how potential customers were going to become aware of him. Reading between the lines, he needs to focus more on getting the thing he doesn't have right now - customers. How do you generate those? If you answered 'marketing campaign' - think again. It's a sales campaign you need, which creates leads, which you then convert to customers.
Spending 25k on radio advertising on a marketing campaign that makes no effort to convert listeners attention to sales is silly, and dangerous to a start-up. I know. I have done that too. It hurts when it fails. Moreso, when you later learn that you can make sales over the radio - but they'd rather sell 'branding' - a full 12 moth term, with no clearly defined outcomes except that your name will apparently filter in to the consiousness of your target audience - and the radio stations pocket is significantly fattened.
Newspaper ads - can work. Most people, including the people that work for the newspapers designing pretty adverts, can't write one with the sure and certain knowledge that a particular ad will drive sales. A good way to lose ~$800 per month.
These days, when I do advertising, it is in the form of split tests. Send out advertising copy, create a hook by which you can track the results. Thr best performing forms the basis of the next generation. Keep crafting until the response rate improves. I have read the books written by the Direct Response Advertising greats of yester-year. From the likes of Claude Hopkins, and others from that era. And slightly more contemporary authors as well, but they have recycled most of their content - so you might as well go to the horses mouths. They are extremely valueable reading.
In my country, the Yellow Pages are an investment where even my customers tell me it is difficult to make get a break-even on - many are jettisoning that cost. Stung by that one, too, and never will be again. We have a Barter organisation, that places your ad in to their directory - funny how for their services though, they required real world dollars. Chamber of Commerce? in this country, my best description is that it is a rort, obviously, I will not be signing up to it, again.
The list goes on. The business world is often not nice. It is true that you can have a good time, meet good people, form strong relationships with customers and vendors alike. For my part I would never go back to working for a salary. But there are facts that cannot be avoided. Want to stay in business? Learn to sell.
Lessons, lessons, lessons - these are some of the things that I was quite unprepared for. For the first year it felt like every turn was like riding a horse and being struck consistently by low hanging branches. They hurt, and they teach.
Don't like my opinion(s)? Fine - get another one. It is for this reason I advocate talking to every business owner you can. Find out what they think. Sure it is subjective. Sure you'll disagree with possibly a wide swathe of the things they have to say - but every single one of them faces the same challenges that you do/will as another business owner. You might even create some business for yourself.
As I said - take your time before going in to business, and I wish you the best.
Contrary to the seemingly negative comments - I applaud others that to go in to business, I just don't think they should be taken as prey by - well, anyone.