5 Smart Ways to Go to Market


Are you ready to go to market?

I’ve been asking myself this question A LOT over the last six months. As a new, small business owner, knowing when the “right” time will be to debut your offering can feel a lot like guessing when plastic will go extinct…”never” being the easy answer to arrive at. But when all is said and done, and “right” looms somewhere in the future, I do believe that there is a smart time and way to go to market; for YOU too! Because let’s be honest, you don’t want to hear my business mumbo jumbo (or do you?).

As you prepare for a summer of marketing (not the paid or earned kind), I wanted to share my 5 top learnings that apply whether you’re launching a new offering or simply heading to the flea or the farmer’s market!

  • Do your research

    No matter if it’s digging into who your target audience is or finding out what vendors are going to be showcasing at your marketplace, doing your research is critical and can help you avoid a lot of future headaches, waste, and overconsumption. It’s like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach without a list… you’re bound to splurge for the processed, packaged snack that you know you don’t need. So, before you make the trip to the market see if you can find a list of vendors, check out their websites or Instagram feeds, make a list of who you know you want to check out or buy from and then keep to your list when you get there. If you can’t find a list of vendors beforehand, do a lap around the marketplace when you get there before buying anything, and then revisit those vendors who caught your eye the first time.

  • Set a goal

    Like doing your research, setting goals is another important step in the “go-to-market” process. With a goal, you can show up to your marketplace with intention and a filter for all the other noise you’re bound to encounter. For me, as I prepare to make my debut with the Simply Zero shop, goals have looked like:

    • Just do it - show up to the market, sell some stuff, educate and meet good people, and have a good time!

    They’ve also looked like:

    • Convert 100+ new customers

    • Sell out of 85% of your product

    • Acquire 200 new emails on your list

    As someone attending the marketplace, your goals will certainly look different. Perhaps it’s something along the lines of: “I’m looking for a ceramic planter for my new fiddle leaf fig” or “I only want to purchase from local, women-owned businesses.” Whatever, it may look like, having one gives you an intention and something to reflect on when you’re back home.

  • Be Prepared

There’s nothing more guilt-wrenching than showing up to the marketplace realizing you forgot something important back home. That’s why it’s important to think ahead and prepare yourself in the best way possible. Going to need food while you’re out? Pack your own in your reusable tiffin and remember to bring your reusable utensils and water bottle. Favorite coffee shop on your “must stop” list? Bring your reusable mug. Know you’ll be buying? Pack your reusable tote bag and throw an extra bulk or produce bag in for backup. Excess waste and overspending happens easily when we leave out the “be prepared” step…so don’t forget to do it!

  • Be Kind

    This one goes for the marketplace and life in general, but it’s something that’s stuck top-of-mind lately as I’ve been working to set up shop. A 10 x 10 booth at the flea or farmer’s market may look like a small feat, but there is A LOT of work that goes into getting those spaces set up. For the farmer, it’s included the physical labor of growing and tending to their food. For the maker, it’s included hours and hours of time spent creating. For the small business owner, it’s been building an inventory and a brand. And for all, it’s been an investment, whether time or money, into the product, the display, and the endless things that are running in the background that we don’t see. These people have poured their hearts into the products they’re bringing to us, so the least we can do is be kind to them when we show up.

  • Reflect + Reset

    For any goal setter, this last step is always a fun one. It’s also an important one as we look ahead at how we can grow and evolve until our next debut or visit to the market. Reflecting gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves what we could have done better, what was missing, how we were unprepared; but, it’s also an amazing time to celebrate our achievements and the things that went well, even if it was just showing up!

Do you have any learnings you’ve taken away from your “marketing” experiences? If so, share them with us in the comments below!