Image Source: Pixabay
By Dan Matthews
The summer is a time of opportunity for industrious teens, and all across the country teens are looking for gigs mowing lawns, walking dogs, babysitting, and more. While teens have the skills to work these summer gigs and often live in neighborhoods full of potential customers, they tend to lack the skills to market themselves and effectively communicate with customers about their side hustle.
The summer is only a few short months, so poor communication and marketing lead to missed opportunities for teens — and lost income. While teens might view these summer gigs as small, part-time opportunities, they can learn a lot from large companies when it comes to running their side gigs, finding new customers, and keeping those customers happy. Truth is, these summertime gigs teach teens important lessons about entrepreneurship, future careers, and the job market.
The Importance of Adaptability
Large companies know the value of strategic adaptability, and companies that can adapt to keep pace with the ever-changing world stand a better chance of surviving than more static companies. The world is constantly evolving, and shifting trends dictate market demand. As a result, businesses are constantly coming up with new ideas.
With a nearly constant shift in consumer needs and wants, businesses have to keep pace to survive. A business that creates a business plan, marketing plan, and website based on the status quo will soon be outdated and new, cutting-edge businesses will draw in customers, instead. Businesses need to constantly assess what the market needs so that they can meet those demands, rather than focusing on a single product or service that isn’t backed by market research.
Teens can apply this lesson to their own summer gigs. Maybe a teen was planning on selling baked goods during the summer but then discovered that the real local demand was for homemade granola. By changing their business model, teens could take advantage of this demand for granola, increasing their sales and running a business that’s more successful than their original baked goods idea would have been.
Professional Marketing Basics
When it comes to marketing, large companies know just who their customers are. They understand their customers’ needs and wants, and thanks to market research, these companies know details such as where their customers live, what they do in their free time, how much income they have, and more.
Teens don’t need to go into that much detail in understanding their audiences, but they can benefit from adopting some of the customer awareness and marketing strategies big companies use. For instance, teens who want to mow lawns should strategically market to neighborhoods where homes have large lawns that are time-consuming to mow. Often, teens may find that their ideal customers are right within their own neighborhood.
Once teens identify their potential customers, they’ll need to be able to spread the word about their summer gigs. The same marketing strategies that large companies use can work for teens, too. Investing in marketing items like business cards, social media pages, and even promotional pens gives teens a way to efficiently provide their information to potential customers.
As an added bonus, marketing materials can give a teen’s gig a more professional appearance. Marketing materials also demonstrate to potential customers that the teen is taking this opportunity seriously.
But just having marketing materials isn’t enough — teens need to have these materials on them whenever they’re out and about. Professional businesspeople are never without their business cards because they know they could run into a potential customer anywhere. The same is true for teens, who could run into potential customers while they’re in the store, out for a bike ride, or nearly anywhere in town.
The Value of Customer Satisfaction
Any successful business owner understands the importance of customer satisfaction, and businesses will only be successful if they have a customer-centric approach. Large companies use this approach to drive sales, retain customers, and attract new customers.
A customer-centric approach starts with understanding what customers want and need. Customers want value, and they’re looking for products or services that fulfill a need. If teens can provide a service that is relevant to a customer’s needs and that offers them value, they have a better chance of making a sale.
Great customer service can also contribute to those customers returning again and again. For teens with service-based summer gigs, customer service can be as simple as providing a service on time, honoring quoted prices throughout the entire summer, and promptly addressing any customer concerns. Teens selling products will need to focus on elements like quality control, replacing or refunding defective products, and answering customer questions. Teens who show that they value their customers can build a base of loyal customers who may return in the future summers.
Summertime gigs allow industrious teens to earn some extra money, and when teens pay attention to the lessons from large companies, they can build these gigs into successful entrepreneurial opportunities.