Most entrepreneurs start out with a great idea. This is where entrepreneurship is born; in the mind. It is usually born out of frustration over something in one’s daily life or some type of problem they would like to see solved. This is where innovation lives.
The problem with most entrepreneurs is they don’t even realize they have an entrepreneurial spirit until they actually want to start taking steps. They overlook those brilliant ideas that hit them on a whim and charge it off to just “another good idea”.
Because of this, most entrepreneurs don’t prepare and cultivate their spirit early. They don’t invest in building upon their spirit until they are at the place of actually producing a product, service or launching their business. Not preparing themselves for entrepreneurship way ahead of time is the very ideal that causes so many entrepreneurs to fail right out of the gate. They go into business thinking everyone will play fair, meanwhile the competition has been readying themselves for years with training and finance management. The competition already in business protects their territory and won’t throw you a housewarming or bring you a pie when you have your grand opening. Remember that! It’s a battle for the customer.
Recently, someone asked me to give them cheap marketing ideas for marketing their product. They even cited they were a single parent. It is something I commonly hear. (Sidebar: Ladies, stop doing that. Stop highlighting your “single-parent status as a way to play victim or get sympathy. It shows weakness, in my opinion. It’s like you’re starting off with excuses. Just know in your mind that you’re a single parent and deal with that privately. Don’t lead with that. Too much received sympathy will weaken your entrepreneurial prowess.)
Here’s what you need to understand in the grand scheme of things. When you are young in entrepreneurship, your focus should be on going and getting as big as you can. It should be rooted in the idea that you can win! Now, this idea should be invested in as well, way before it is time for you to market. This would mean that you’ve adjusted your life so you can set aside adequate enough funds to produce quality goods or services and are prepared to serve the wave of people that may come in from your marketing campaign. So let me get to the question. Is there such a thing as marketing too soon? No.
Marketing is a culmination of activities: word-of-mouth, advertising, publicity, surveys, speaking engagements and more. You can get involved in these activities even before you actually have the goods or services ready to go as long as the market has an “expected time of delivery” and you meet that date. However, what you can do too soon is get massive exposure. You may not even realize how great your idea is until you see the demand you have created. You may not know how great of an idea you have until you begin marketing. However, once that crazy demand is created, then what? Are you ready to serve them?
The thing you really don’t want, especially as a new entrepreneur, is to create a bad first impression. Remember, you’re not some inconspicuous employee. You are the entrepreneur, the enterpriser, the owner, the face of the idea you just launched. What you don’t want is to go down in flames with a bad, shaky or flighty name, a place many entrepreneurs find themselves. When I see people wanting to market but have no money, I get scared for them. I worry that they may be another person with a bad experience at entrepreneurship who now relegates their self to a life as an employee because of the traumatic experience and criticism they received from their customers and friends due to such a bad entrepreneurial approach.
So, as you are working on your idea, work on putting up the money to fund it. Ensure you market within your ability to deliver on that promise to your customer. Exposure can be a blessing or a curse. Too many people want to hit “Good Morning America” but don’t have the money, time or capacity to meet the demand after the sale. And “after the sale” is really where your money is…