berkus_ventures_300ppi copy


Only those in the fight can win.

By Dave Berkus

Entrepreneurism is all about risk. Sometimes, you can reduce your personal risk by taking in other people’s money, starting with a contract from a customer, purchasing a going business, or spinning off an existing revenue-generating portion of an existing business.

Even then, the risks of having enough cash to fund daily operations or growth can be daunting. The same is true about marketing. If you don’t directly engage the potential customer at the right time, place and mood, you are at a disadvantage from the start. There are too many competitors for a customer’s time and money to make an error in your approach and offer.

But the truth is in the headline. If you don’t chose to enter the fight, it is impossible to win it.   And entering the fight without the proper resources usually 376687_416014868434477_303445418_nassures defeat. Resources such as money, experience, statistics about your target, experienced marketing and sales talent, and especially a compelling need and attractive product are all important to the ultimate success of an enterprise.

[Email readers, continue here…]  So ask yourself: Are you ready to enter the fight? Do you have the resources necessary to at least give you a chance to win? If not, what do you need to do so, and how can you get those resources?

I am often surprised at the inexperienced executive’s estimates of time to breakeven for a product or a company, about the time and cost to market, about the expense in overhead needed to stay in the game.   Most of all, I am surprised at that typical person’s inexperience in the marketing arena, and understanding of the importance of marketing to the success of the product.

You may have all the other ingredients. But without an excellent marketing plan and a way to execute upon that plan, the best product and the most cash reserves won’t bring in the customers. Since great marketing means addressing the wants and needs of the customer, about distancing the product from any competitor, about getting the message out to the most people possible, you’ve got to commit resources and energy to the fight in order to have a chance to win it.

  • Bob Kelley

    Dave, Thank you for more great, distilled wisdom. I would add, to fully round out this this topic, that well directed, cost effective, research, is key to a good marketing plan to placing high yield marketing bets.

    Arthur, above, misses one of my key career insights. That is, you also have to have the “complete positioning” right, in addition to gauging resources and timing.

    And to me, the complete positioning to launch a marketing initiative for a smaller scale (Under $100M Rev.) entrepreneur means to use research to identify “urgent demand” in an addressable, high value, market segment. Then its about using tested “messaging” and “communications” channels, including prospecting emails, calls, blogs, and of course salespeople, distributors and packaging (So your test pilots can promote you to their colleagues.

    Lastly, it’s about identifying how to track the results of your initiative closely, so you either win big or fail fast with your always limited resources.

    Dave, love your insights. Keep helping us to get out of the recession.


  • Arthur Lipper


    This is a wrong concept. You say: “Entrepreneurism is all about risk.”

    Entrepreneurism is all about profiting (not only monetarily) from creating benefit for others.

    As with any new endeavor, monetary risks outweigh the probability of reward. However, the reward can be significant if the entrepreneur has an idea which will benefit others and therefore create demand and if the entrepreneur can correctly gauge the resources and timing necessary to get to market with the product of service.

    Best wishes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up for
Dave's weekly emails

Most Recent Posts