How do I go about marketing my business ideas?

“How do I go about marketing my business ideas?” It’s a question I’m commonly asked. The answer to this question is counterintuitive. Right now, you believe having a better idea is your advantage, but that’s actually not true. No one cares about the better idea, they care about people who communicate to them on a human level. The first human flight is a great example.

Human flight not so newsworthy

You would assume the very first human flight would be newsworthy, right? Such a monumental accomplishment should be met with wall-to-wall media coverage, non-stop interview requests to the Wright Brothers, endless discussions on the train, and town criers yelling, “man achieves human flight!” But no. In fact, not until three years later did The New York Times bother to finally write about it.

Nearly five years later, in 1908, most people in the USA still had no idea human flight was even possible mentioned Rita McGrath, in her book Seeing Around Corners. She uses the story to illustrate why business leaders have such a hard time seeing obvious inflection points.

Why Great Ideas Don’t Get Noticed

Information is readily accessible today, but access to new ideas isn’t the problem. Connecting them to humans who care is the problem. You know the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know?” There’s a lot of truth to this. Every day, inferior business ideas win because the founder knew someone.

You may believe you are attracted to the better idea, but that’s not true. There’s actually a name for this: it’s called The Mousetrap Myth. It turns out, if you build a better mousetrap, the world will not beat a path to your door. Instead, all of us rely on various publications, friends or social media accounts to filter through life’s noise.

Snake oil salesmen have existed and bold claims have been made for thousands of years, and in the same way the internet allows great ideas to spread, it also allows bad ideas to spread just as fast. Liars aren’t going anywhere. The same challenge exists today as it did in 1903 a clear communication plan.

Business Ideas Die Without A Communication Plan

Product market fit is the #1 area entrepreneurs fail, according to beloved startup guy Steven Hoffman, but let’s assume you have this nailed. Clear communication is the next major area founders struggle with. Marketing my business ideas was impossible until I figured this out.

Founders use words that reek of deception like “breakthrough” or “innovative.” They make claims without thinking about how to prove or back up their claims, and they don’t communicate what problem they solved and how it’s beneficial. We may never know how the Wright Brothers communicated their invention, but perhaps it was something like this: “Using breakthrough innovative technology, we suspended a fabric and wood design above the earth. The structure was completely unattached to the ground as it moved from one point to another.”

In 1903, humans didn’t fly. There was no historical context for this feat. There was no universal way to even explain it. Their machine was unlike a bird or anything else in history, so a description would be challenging. Especially because inventors often don’t have communication skills.

Consider how to describe “ridesharing” pre 2008 without scaring the crap out of someone. “A stranger you’ve never met comes and picks you up in their car. But don’t worry they promise to take you to your destination.” No thanks.

A well-researched communication strategy isn’t just a part of your marketing/sales strategy. It’s everything. It’s your future.

You can have the best product in the world and still fail to connect with the very people who need it most.

How do I go about marketing my business ideas?

Marketing your business ideas or idea is hard work, but straightforward. First, find the audience who will buy your product. Second, create a vision and mission statement and develop a consistent way to discuss your company or product. Third, connect through trusted sources. I’ll briefly break this down, but even the largest companies struggle with this.

1. Find the audience

Many entrepreneurs become so idea-focused, they forget to step back and ask the most obvious question: who will buy this? You might even be chuckling to yourself reading this, but go ahead and try to describe the audience who will buy your idea or product. Are you still laughing? Probably not.

It could be “men from Idaho who golf” if you’re a men’s golf store based in Boise, but it might not be that simple. For example, in the famous Old Spice ad featuring Isaiah Mustafa wearing only a towel, P&G identified their audience as… women. The “the man your man could smell like” ad famously began with the words “hello ladies.”

2. Create a vision and mission statement

Solidifying a mission and vision statement is another area business owners, founders and entrepreneurs often fail to complete. When marketing my business ideas the first time, I failed to do this step as well. Since then, I’ve encountered many businesses that don’t believe in this critical step. This leads to founder-baby syndrome and failure to connect with their audience.

Writing down a vision and mission forces you to bring abstract ideas into reality. Not only does this expose areas that aren’t clear in your brand and messaging, but it aligns your employees, team, or partners. A vision is change you want to make in the world. A mission is how you will get there. Some people combine these two.

3. Connect through trusted sources

When you find the right audience for your product and know who you are and what your message is, the next step is to communicate to your audience. The most direct path is to get to know your audience, where they hang out, what they read and where they travel. Once you build this profile, you find the people who influence them on those platforms and exchange value with that individual in exchange for their reach.

Most people think they can just grow an audience from scratch, and while that may be possible over a really long period of time, the fastest way to grow an audience is to borrow it. To do that, focus on where your audience already is.

If it’s a publication like your local paper, value for that journalist is in the form of a unique story their readers will click on and read. If it’s an event, they are looking for great speakers or content for their audience. If it’s a podcast, the host is probably looking for great resources for their listeners.

Thank you for contacting me!