Article #57, May, 2007
How Do You Market Two Businesses?
Because I do a lot of networking with very small business owners, I meet a lot of dual business owners. These are people, usually women, who own two businesses (or more).
As a solopreneur, your resources are limited - that is, time and mo'ney. Managing and marketing one business is already a full-time job, so if your two businesses don't share the same target market, you may struggle - a lot.
Sharing the same target market allows you to refer business to yourself, and if your two products/services are related, this is smoother. For example, if you are involved with two different MLMs whose products are both wellness related, you can easily market both to the same people. Or, if you have a service business and also sell products that go hand in hand with your service, you can easily market those two businesses together. A good example of this is being a Nutritionist and Dietician and selling food supplements.
In fact, having two very closely related businesses that solve the same problems for the same people can be a brilliant combination and can increase your sales dramatically with little additional work.
If, on the other hand, your businesses don't solve the same problems or don't serve the same target market, you will have more challenges - mostly involving shortages of your resources of time and money. One example I have seen is when a business owner's primary business is in coaching, mortgages or finance, and their secondary business is more creative, like photography or acting. These two businesses are marketed very differently in different locations and to different people.
Another example is someone who just has two distinctly different businesses because they are interesting and exciting to them. I know someone who markets air and water purifiers and coffee service catering. Both businesses are solid, credible businesses, but can be difficult to market by one person.
One problem that comes with marketing two distinct products or services is that you are the only employee in the business. You are in charge of delivering the product/service, selling it, marketing it, doing the bookkeeping and the other administrative tasks (like email, computer, filing and invoicing) and keeping up with educational requirements.
The other main issue is that most people I meet try to market everything on one website, with one business card to the same groups of people. Honestly, people look for reasons not to do business with you and if they feel like you are not an expert at any particular thing, you're out. To resolve that problem, you will need to create and maintain two distinct marketing plans with two websites, two business cards and two sets of strategies to two distinct target markets.
The reason why this sounds overwhelming is because it is! Do yourself a favor - either pick two businesses that are manageable and complimentary, that you can market to the same group of people, or just pick one. If you don't, you may not enjoy the journey and you could burn out after awhile. Nobody wants that! After you become wealthy, you can have a second business as a hobby - just for fun - no stress!