New Business Owners by Necessity: 6 Steps for Attracting Customers

Starting a business is like pregnancy and childbirth. It’s a long haul with a heavy load to carry. Finally, the journey ends in the excitement of new life.

I’ve experienced starting a new business since January, when I relaunched seven-year-old Hammock Communications. This post is for all the new mompreneurs who started businesses in the past year. You have drive, talent, and experience in your profession. More marketing and PR knowledge will set you on the path to prosperity!

First some facts. The pandemic forced an estimated 5 million mothers to leave their jobs. Many were laid off. Others needed to stay home with their kids while schools and childcare centers were closed and couldn’t work from home or juggle virtual work and virtual school.

Earlier this year, Perceptyx, a workforce analysis company, surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. employees and found that “compared to six months ago, 48% of women have become either much less or somewhat less likely to want to return to the physical workplace full-time.”

A Washington Post report on the impact of the pandemic on women said the number of businesses started by women may have doubled in one year.

Data compiled for The Washington Post by the professional networking site LinkedIn found that the share of female entrepreneurs on its platform grew 5 percent year-over-year, from March through November, more than double the pre-pandemic average. LinkedIn’s analysts looked at female members who had changed their title to “founder” during the pandemic.

Washington Post, “The pandemic has been an economic disaster for women. Some took advantage of it.”

I have a lot of empathy for moms dealing with the impact of the pandemic. My kids’ dad and I divorced when my twins were three and my others were 9 and 12. My ex had long periods of unemployment when I had to carry the financial load alone. Plus raise the kids. I was driven to provide for my family and had the ability and experience to get good jobs. My drive took me all the way to Montana for a position as vice president of strategic communications and marketing for the University of Montana Foundation. After four years there, with my twins finishing high school, I moved back to the Midwest to take on my new role as Grandma Beth.

Raising kids and being the breadwinner was tough, but I did it. My kids are in their twenties and thirties and doing great. I realize I was an example for them in so many ways. The twins saw me as a leader when I was Cubmaster of their Cub Scout Pack and when I interacted with colleagues. We hiked, canoed, and skied together. My kids came to work events with me when appropriate, like the time my daughter, a student at Mizzou, traveled to a donor dinner in Denver with me when I worked at the university. I will never forget the day the superintendent of the school district for which I worked told me my kids respected me.

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My four adult children give me so many reasons to smile. Chris and Max followed me into the digital media and marketing profession. My daughter Valerie is a wonderful at-home mother of two children. And Colin is in medical school.

Chris, Max, and Colin Hammock and their sister Valerie Love shared some laughs in this 2016 photo.

My point in sharing a little of my story is to let you know you will get through this. There will be some rough spots and there will be precious memories. Whether you are persisting in the position you had before the pandemic or have launched a new business, you’ve got this!

Marketing and PR Basics for New Businesses

You will set your business up for success when you develop a marketing and PR plan that prioritizes spending and the use of your time. I work with businesses to create marketing and PR plans. As an entrepreneur, you may need to make your own, so I’m sharing the basics.

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  1. Identify your audience. What is their gender, age, and occupation? Where do they live? What do you want them to buy from you? Do you have more than one audience?
  2. Goals. Determine one to three business goals for the next few years. This may be how much net revenue you want, how many products you want to sell, or development of a new product.
  3. Research. Look at what competitors and similar businesses are doing in regard to how they make their products and how they market them. See if you can find out how others are faring in today’s economy so you have realistic goals. Read journals, LinkedIn, and digital content about your profession. See where competitors are advertising and learn what to expect from your investment in marketing. Join professional organizations where you can form relationships to support you in your journey.
  4. Develop Strategies. Take what you learned in your research to create measurable strategies for meeting your goals. Here are some examples: Obtain 200 leads from digital marketing by December 2021. Speak at 10 civic organizations by February 2022. Attract 500 website visits by December 2022.
  5. Create Tactics. Tactics are the tools we use to support our strategies. This may include running Facebook, Google, or YouTube ads, starting a YouTube channel, contacting civic organizations, staging events, and writing press releases. If you need help with any of these tactics, I can help you.
  6. Evaluate. One of the great things about digital marketing is you will see results right away. Find out how many people saw your ads, clicked on the links, and converted, or took action by completing a form or making a purchase on your site. Evaluate print and in-person tactics by how many people saw your article, ad, or speech. If you have an event, how many people attended? Did they complete a survey after your event? Take all of this information to decide whether your strategies are supporting your goals. Change course as needed.

Follow this six-step system and you will see results and have more sales. If you need some help, give me a call. I provide free consultations and referrals to the right people to help your business grow.

Enjoy your kids on Mother’s Day and every day. And go get ’em with your business.

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hammock marketing communications

St. Louis marketing and pr executive beth hammock combine creativity, storytelling, and strategic thinking to help businesses achieve more in today’s digital-first marketplace.

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