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Business Marketing Lessons Learned The Hard Way: My Tips For Start Ups

By January 25, 2016March 23rd, 2020Digital Marketing

Business Marketing Tips For Start Ups

I’ve been running a business producing video for just over 15 years now and over that time I’ve learnt some pretty crucial business marketing lessons (usually the hard way!). So I thought I’d share them here for any start ups or new business owners as I’m sure many of these lessons transcend industries.

So here are a few of these lessons to save you the pain of having to learn them yourself the hard way!

Forget your Ego

Nothing can potentially threaten your business like your own vanity or ego. Over the years the worst business decisions I’ve made have been the ones where my ego has over ridden my common sense. Whenever a business decision is required, do keep this in mind by asking yourself “what would my competition do?” – This is usually a good yardstick for checking your thought process and verifying whether your ego is affecting your judgement.


This applies to everything from internal systems to external marketing activity. Technology moves at a frightening pace in video production (as in all industries), but it usually moves on in a good way and provides some real benefits. So make sure you move with it! Getting left behind can be a big problem for any business so evolve with the technology, don’t fight against it


The demand for video production (or any service supplied by a business) has changed shape over the years, as has the type of client who requires our service. The way in which we find new clients and market our services has had to continuously adapt to keep pace with our ever-changing client base. Don’t be afraid to adapt your approach if its clear that your existing methods aren’t working.

business marketing

Have a Clear Plan for Scalability

Being able to quickly and painlessly upscale when demand increases is key to growth. We all want to grow our businesses but when that critical opportunity to upsize arrives, you don’t want to drop the ball due to not having a clear plan of how you’re going to meet the increased output smoothly. The worst-case scenario can be that you fail to service existing clients due to internal problems caused by overstretching your resources.

Step Back

It’s so easy as a business owner to become bogged down by the day-to-day jobs and not take time to step back and see the bigger picture. Allowing yourself the time and opportunity to step back from the whirlwind from time to time provides you with a platform to assess what you do, how you do it, and discover what’s not quite working.

Use Expert

If you run your own business you will probably have the mantra that “anything is possible”. With that usually comes a feeling that you can easily “up-skill” to fulfil any requirements that your business develops. However, in our experience, paying for and listening to the advice of experts has been one of the most productive decisions we’ve ever made. This was especially true when it came to online business marketing. Outsourcing is something that a business owner should not hide from as it allows the key people within the business to focus on their strengths and do what they do best.

business marketing

Have Fun

Running your own business can be overwhelming, all-consuming, relationship damaging and slightly depressing (when things aren’t going well), so make sure you remember why you are doing it and also how lucky you are to get the chance! Above all, have some fun. Weirdly enough it may actually increase your success. Many businesses benefit from having a figurehead who displays a joy in what they do as this filters down to everyone who works within the organisation.

Be Honest With Yourself

Another psychological pitfall is kidding yourself that things are working when they aren’t. Being brutally honest with yourself is a key character trait in favour of becoming the business owner you want to be.

People Don’t Care That Much About Your Logo!

Many start ups (me included) spend hour and hours developing their logo when in truth this time could be spent in a much more beneficial and productive way. The lesson I learnt early on was that my logo was NOT my brand. Build a strong brand and instil your beliefs in it, and what your logo looks like will be the last thing a customer cares about. Focus on real business marketing and don’t assume that a fancy logo will do this for you!

I hope some of this may be useful or of interest to you if you’re piloting a start up venture. Above all keep going, I know you’ll have heard this a million time already but the first few years WILL be tough. So keep pushing, keep working and best of luck!

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fortyfoursixteen films

fortyfoursixteen films has over 15 years experience producing high quality video content for leading brands and organisations throughout the UK. Headed up by lead producer Neil Waddington we aim to create innovative, inspiring and engaging video for a wide variety of digital delivery platforms.