Anti-theft … registering web addresses can stake claim to a name. Photo: Rob Homer
I WISH to advise my friend, an audiologist who has been operating his practice for the past few years, on the best approach to marketing, and growing, his business.
He is looking at a marketing budget but to my mind it is simply an advertising spend which will be a very passive, ''brand awareness'' type of activity, not necessarily anything which will result in immediate increase in sales, whilst still producing an effective return on the invested dollar.
My question is two-fold. What sorts of percentage returns are considered adequate and/or good when considering an advertising marketing budget? Do you have any suggestions as to how a business such as this can be more effectively marketed without just throwing money at advertising?
Marketing can be difficult to measure in terms of return on investment, so you have to be adamant about tracking referrals based on the advertising spend you've committed to. Say you spent $10,000 on an ad campaign that brought in 30 email leads that converted to 15 new customers. The business from those five customers resulted in $50,000 in revenue generated. So, for your $10,000 spend, you've gained $50,000 in revenue, a very worthwhile investment.
Media is a very powerful tool, and outside of advertising you might want to look into trying to garner some news content. Your friend is an expert in audiology, which many people can benefit from. There is a health section in every newspaper, so tell your friend to give the editor a call and see if they would be willing to take contributions. Another idea might be to call the local hospital to see if your friend can hold a free seminar for local residents. His knowledge will likely attract potential customers and showcasing his expertise in a public forum is likely to create some good word of mouth marketing. Good luck.
My question is around starting up a business. You have a good idea, may even have completed a business plan and if lucky a concept in the works. But if you need to take on investors, how do you sell your idea without risking them, or anyone else, stealing your idea? What kind of legal advice can I get and what kind of agreements can I put in place?
In order to protect your intellectual property, an effective and simple tool is a non-disclosure agreement, which you can provide to potential investors prior to distributing and sharing sensitive information. A well worded non-disclosure will give you appropriate cause to sue any party that breaks the agreement or infringes on your creative rights.
A second tool to protect your intellectual property is to put copyright and confidentiality on any key documents that contain sensitive information. Claiming your rights to confidentiality prevents other parties from insinuating that you were sharing the information and that it was free for them to use. Additionally, registering a combination of web addresses with your company and/or product is an inexpensive way to stake claim on an idea that is based on the uniqueness of a specific name.
Depending on the value of your idea and the resources available, you might consider speaking to a patent lawyer. Legal advice on patents, trademarks and registering product names can ensure you are protected, however these can also be expensive and time-consuming. There are also rules around patents and filing them in different countries, so it's best to speak to an expert to get the right advice.
Mark Bouris is the Executive Chairman of Yellow Brick Road, a wealth management company and small business advisory that offers products and services for home loans, financial planning, insurance, superannuation, investments, accounting and tax through its national branch network. www.ybr.com.au
If you have a question for Mark Bouris, email it to MySmallBusiness editor Larissa Ham at firstname.lastname@example.org.