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The entrepreneur isn’t necessarily a master of self-marketing.

Prior to joining Kuder as an international professional development instructor, I spent over 10 years working in the business coaching/consulting world. I enjoyed working with clients to help them develop their businesses. One thing I found is that many entrepreneurs, if not most, don't have a clue about marketing their product or service.

Often they're so excited about what they do and how good they are at it that they pretty much assume that business will naturally come their way because people want a good product or service at a fair price. They also believe that once people experience their good product/service at their fair price, they will naturally tell all of their friends and that all of their friends will need the same product/service and then they will flock to their doorstep or website.

Nothing could be further from the truth, yet it doesn't seem that anyone is telling the entrepreneur that cold, hard fact. As a matter of fact, often just the opposite happens: all their family and friends tell them that what they do is amazing and they should open a business.

Now, what they do may be amazing and yes, maybe they should open a business, but without at least a base understanding of marketing – marketing 101 we may say – they will probably become one of the labor department statistics that tells us the majority of businesses that open up do not make it past year five … and that's after the entrepreneurs have spent a lot of money and time to try and make a go of it.

The Entrepreneur as a Holland type.

Kuder's career assessments are based on Dr. John Holland's theory that people and work environments can be loosely classified into six different groups:

  • Realistic – The “Doers”
  • Investigative – The “Thinkers”
  • Artistic – The “Creators”
  • Social – The “Helpers”
  • Enterprising – The “Persuaders”
  • Conventional – The “Organizers”

If you've taken a Kuder assessment and you scored high in Enterprising, you might just be the kind of person who finds entrepreneurship appealing. Certainly entrepreneurs have come from each of the types that are part of the Holland Code, though they may fall squarely in the area of the Enterprising, as that type tends to lean toward persuading, which just so happens to be one of the key tactics used in marketing.

The three-legged stool of marketing.

Here's what has been referred to as the “three-legged stool of marketing”:

  • Who.
  • Where.
  • Why.

It's vital to know who your customer is. Just because most everyone in your area has a yard doesn't mean that they all want a yard service. Everyone has a back, but that doesn't mean that everyone is going to come to your chiropractic office.

Next, it's also equally vital to know where your customers are located. Simply put, most people are not going to go very far out of their way or go to much trouble for a product/service that they perceive to be similar to what you're offering closer to home or without crossing as many hurdles.

The third leg to your three-legged stool of marketing is a basic understanding of why people make the decisions they do. The better one understands their potential market – what they like, don't like, what's important to them, what's not important to them, etc. – the better your advertising and sales message will be.

Simply put, the better entrepreneurs understand who their target customers are, where their target customers are, and why their target customers do what they do, the better they will be able to craft both their advertising and sales messages and ultimately grow their businesses.

This article first appeared in the Kuder Blog June 9, 2015

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About The Author

J. Clayton Kennedy

J. Clayton Kennedy is vice president and instructor of professional development for Kuder.  

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