A good start to your business
I wrote this article not so long ago, already having the experience of an entrepreneur. Some moments in it are advice from one's own practice, others are the development of ideas, conclusions. But, I think, if before starting the free swimming of an entrepreneur someone gave me to read such material, I would have acted a little differently.
IntroIn this article you will find some recommendations, tips and explanations that will help you determine the direction of development of your business from the very beginning of its existence. We will consider three important aspects of any business:
FocusA lot of entrepreneurs are trying to do everything for everyone. Moreover, none of them earns a reputation as a professional in anything specific. A clear idea of what the companies of such entrepreneurs really do is not formed by clients. And the ranks of the clients themselves are far from harmonious - among them you can see both large companies and companies embodied in one single person. Focus is what helps to establish itself in the market. By and large, you can focus on either the type of client or the type of activity. Focus on the client can afford companies that provide a more or less complete range of services in a particular area. Focus on the customer - the desire to satisfy the maximum possible number of customer needs.
- The carrier company may simultaneously provide warehouse services, and, say, packaging and packaging of certain types of cargo. In this case, its leader is free to choose a market segment for himself - with due (and absolutely necessary) dexterity, he will get regular customers there. And regular customers are the key to success and stability of any business.
- Design Studio specializes in the development of printing products. In such a company, specialists who can make competent website layouts may well work, because the design as such is contiguous in all aspects. However, the production of sites requires the presence of a web programmer, typesetter, system administrator, content manager, etc. Of course, there is outsourcing, but this is a risk of breaking deadlines, getting a low-quality product, and, ultimately, losing the reputation of a professional. So in such cases, the focus on the type of activity is a logical and financially justified decision. In this case, no one bothers you subsequently expand the list of services / goods and focus on customers.
DifferencesMost consumers believe that all firms in a particular area of the economy are the same. Accordingly, the only difference between them is the price of the issue. So if you fail to convey to the consumer those wonderful qualities and advantages that distinguish you from your competitors, you are doomed to a constant reduction in prices. And for small businesses this often means a lack of funds for development. Focus on the type of activity, narrow specialization described above is a difference. The application of the concept of "product + experience" is a difference. Application of the “product + bonus” concept is a difference. Freshly baked buns (straight from the office kitchen) at meetings is a difference. In fact, becoming different from competitors is easy enough. In traditional areas of production and services, the level of quality is now leveling. Remember Chinese goods about ten years ago. And look at Chinese products today. See the difference? Therefore, every little thing that distinguishes you from your competitors in the eyes of the consumer is your competitive advantage.
- You are developing sites. Your chosen focus is focus on the type of activity. Only online stores, the best solutions possible. Own script, intuitive GUI (graphic-user interface), lots of features, amazing flexibility, individual settings (with your own hands) for each client. What else can you offer the customer? Free hosting for a year. 24/7 technical support. The user manual is not in .pdf, but printed in the printing house. A certificate in the frame confirming the fact that the online store is made in your company - that is, by real professionals. With such narrow specialization, you can use any trifle to be better than competitors.
CustomersHaving determined the target audience, you just select a group of people who, as you think, may need your goods / services. Now you need to turn this group into potential customers. And then - to real customers. Your marketing activities should be aimed specifically at turning representatives of the target audience who do not know anything about you into potential customers. Nowadays, trying to immediately sell something to the consumer is a flawed practice. First, the person / company should be interested in what you have to offer. Otherwise, you run the risk of provoking a rejection reaction in the consumer, because he’s already “crammed” with all kinds of advertising of your competitors. Good marketing is two-way marketing. The first move is advertising, the task of which is not to sell, but to interest. The second move is actions aimed at direct selling.
- You are the owner of a car wash. Accordingly, your target audience is the owners of all the dirty cars passing by your establishment. Given the specifics of the business, there is practically no point in using media channels to advertise your services. At your disposal are nearby billboards, a self-made billboard and banners that you can hang on the building’s facade. So, on your advertising media there should be something that will interest the car owner and make him call at your car wash in order to wash the car. The easiest option is to develop a special offer with a bonus that comes with the car wash services and voice it in an advertisement.
- do more for the client than you promise;
- expand the list of services provided in each case.
- You are the head of the above-described group of web developers specializing in creating online stores. For an already held customer, you have provided free hosting for a period of 1 year and provided it with a quality printed user manual. The customer is contacting you for the second time - now he wants to make some modifications to the script. You do the work, and as a pleasant surprise, present him with a banner template that he can use to advertise his store on the network.
OutroSomeone may say that in theory the above recommendations sound good, but in practice, life dictates its own rules. It's a delusion. You create and develop the business yourself, and it is up to you to decide how to do it. Life can adjust your plans. But it’s better to correct them yourself. At the same time, the strategic directions of development should not change.