Mihaylo Center for Entrepreneurship director John Bradley Jackson discussed marketing and sales for startups at CSU Fullerton’s Startup Incubator in Placentia on the evening of June 24.
“New business development is critical to any startup, but it is inordinately complex,” Mihaylo Center for Entrepreneurship director John Bradley Jackson told entrepreneurs at the Small Business Development Strategy event at CSU Fullerton’s Startup Incubator in Placentia on June 24. “Any startup has a goal: to be remembered.”
Jackson’s presentation detailed how marketing and sales can be used to drive business to new startups. “It wasn’t that long ago that marketing was a major function, but sales did all the heavy lifting,” he said. “Today, marketing is increasingly important.”
While there is a great deal of overlap between marketing and sales, Jackson noted, “marketing is what makes the phone ring, while sales is what you do when you pick up the phone.” He noted that while sales are generally customer-focused, marketing concerns the entire market.
For a business concept to succeed, competitive advantage – how a business concept stands out from its competitors – is crucial. Jackson recommends the lean startup approach-noting that developing a business concept requires input from others. “You shouldn’t develop your product specification until you’ve heard from about 100 people in the community,” he said. Jackson even recommends providing three suggestions for the business’ name to family and friends for review and feedback before making a final decision.
“You need to know who your customer is to succeed,” Jackson said. In addition to primary research, he recommended MRI Plus, available for free as MRI University Reporter through the CSU Fullerton portal, for secondary target market data.
On branding, Jackson advised his audience to not underestimate the power of color in designing logos. “Color is powerful; it can mean many different things,” he noted. “Most consumer-facing logos are yellow and red, such as McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr.” Professional, problem-solving businesses, such as legal and medical enterprises, often use calming colors, such as cool green or blue, to communicate their message.
Jackson noted that logo color and shape dictate the appearance of a business’ website, social media and print publications. He suggested that three colors are usually sufficient for a website. For optimal results, he recommended using a content management system (CMS) for website development and WordPress is currently the most popular and prolific. He also noted that all websites must be mobile responsive, ensuring that they will display properly across all devices.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessity for most contemporary businesses and the static website model of the past is no longer viable in today’s Internet. “One of the best ways to ensure a website is content-rich is a blog,” Jackson said. For more on social media strategies, he recommended his book, Socially Close: Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses.
Public relations, email marketing, advertising, industry and networking events, cause marketing and submitting applications for community business awards are all useful strategies for business startups, Jackson noted.
On sales, Jackson told his audience that they should expect only a small percentage of sales leads to result in purchases. Repeated contacts are crucial. “For people to buy your brand they need a lot of touches from you – 80% of sales are made on the fifth to 12thcontact,” he said. He also noted that objections, while intimidating, are actually necessary to achieving sales results. “Objections are necessary, since for most of us to make purchase decisions, we have to purge ourselves of concerns,” he said.
The Startup Incubator hosts regular free events, including seminars by Mihaylo professors and CSU Fullerton alumni on entrepreneurial topics and roundtable discussions with professionals in the community. The events are free and open to the CSU Fullerton and broader Orange County community. An event calendar is available online.
“In researching the Startup Incubator, I saw many great resources and tools for students and decided to come to start new relationships,” Mihaylo business administration transfer student Gabriela Cervantes ’17 says. She is a licensed real estate salesperson, while her husband has an independent photography business. They are hoping to start a small business in the future. “I think the incubator is an excellent tool for anyone wishing to start an enterprise,” she says.
For more on the Center for Entrepreneurship, visit them online or stop by their office at SGMH 3280, which is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information on the CSUF Startup Incubator is available online. The facility is located at 120 S. Bradford Ave. in Downtown Placentia, about one mile from campus.