As an entrepreneur and new business owner, you need to devote yourself first to getting your product or service ready to sell -- and then quickly making money. But, along the way, you also need to decide: Should you think about hiring someone to do your marketing right away, or wait to see how business goes?
We asked a network of Princeton alumni entrepreneurs when they themselves started to focus on marketing their business, and not just selling. Here, they told us, is they found their marketing talent.
They are the marketing talent!
Two of the alums said that they are the marketing talent for their organizations. Robin Resch of the Robin Resch Studio, pointed out, “I am a one-woman show, so my skills stand out and are always developing.” Harriet Donnelly of e5marketing, which provides marketing support for a Princeton entrepreneur, noted that, “We are the marketing talent. New people are brought in on project work at first and offered a job if they fit in with everyone else and care about the work they produce.”
Many shared their belief that networking is a great source of marketing talent, and that networking sources might range from local universities to contacts provided by the Enterprise Development Corporation (EDC), a nonprofit advisory and support group for entrepreneurs. As a business school professor, I also encourage my students to take on marketing projects for local startups. That provides them a means of putting their new skills to use and at the same time helping a new entrepreneur. We encourage our colleagues to rely on their trust networks, meaning people who are already trusted colleagues, to offer advice and help.
Recruit talented, trustworthy friends
One entrepreneur, Maximilian Huc of GoJobio, noted that his marketing talent is, simply . . a friend. “I was lucky enough to having a friend hop on board who is the 'marketing talent,' and I honestly don't know what I would have done to fill his position if he had not,” Huc told us. Clearly, it pays to have talented friends that you can trust.
All of the above
Finally, one alum entrepreneur, Austin Lewis Hollimon, of Commit Youth, said that a co-founder of his had the requisite marketing talent, and that they then continued to use their networks to expand their marketing capabilities. “Marketing talent is something we're always looking to expand upon. Fortunately, we have a co-founder with experience in marketing for the Philadelphia '76ers," Hollimon said. "Based upon his contacts and our connection to a Princeton alumna, Maisha Walker, we are consistently in contact with leaders in the marketing industry, and we use their advice to help us grow.”
The lesson? Marketing talent is all around you. When you are ready to take that next step, you’ll know where to find it!