Saturday, September 3, 2011
The Greatest Business Growth Strategy
By Andrew Ludlam
The problem is many businesses are cut from the same cloth. For example, the business was launched because said owner wanted to quit the 9 to 5 job; or didn't want to work for someone else; or because they've been informed (wrongly) to do 'what they love.' And sometimes the decision to start up in business was forced on him or her due to redundancy.
The problem is this, once the 'be your own boss' illusion fades, and you've started in business to fulfil your needs and not those of your marketplace, you enter the dreaded world of commoditisation and very soon your business becomes what you wanted to avoid in the first place: it becomes a 'job'!
You want your business to fulfill a need, not because you need a job.
That is why most businesses in any industry, look, feel and operate the same way, because the business owner has never taken time out to truly explore what sets them apart from the competition.
So let me ask you again: what makes your company different from everyone else?
Now please do not say: "We offer great customer service, and we offer competitive pricing" Come on, doesn't everyone! These are expectations, not differences. Seriously, spend some time thinking this one through. What sets your company apart from the competition?
How do you find 'your point of difference', or Unique Selling Proposition? To begin with here are a few ideas:
•Think about what makes or could make your business spectacular and stand out from the rest?
•Why do your clients buy from you? (You may well be very surprised with this answer)
•What do your competitors claim to do? What aspects of the industry are not being served?
Find and then promote a core difference; a point of difference that will metaphorically lift your business above the crowd and set you apart from each and every one of your competitors.
It's a harsh reality, but very often the real reason why your business is not thriving or exceeding your expectations, is because you have yet to demonstrate why you, and you alone, are the only choice for your prospect.
If you only stand for commoditisation instead of differentiation, then you tread a difficult path. If a prospect really is unable to tell the difference between your business and a competitor, then they are likely to base their decision on price, simply because they have nothing else to go on. Price will always be the lowest common dominator if you fail to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Ultimately your reason for being in business and continuing to be in business is to be someone's saviour.
How to do this? Here are a few pointers I often suggest to private clients:
•Force yourself to innovate. Truly aspire to be a different proposition in your marketplace and tangibly demonstrate this!
•Look at your competition and critically assess what they're not doing well.
•Profile your client: what are their expectations?
•Profile your client: how can you positively defy their expectations?!
•Take risks - just because the competition isn't doing it, it doesn't mean it's a bad idea.
Innovate and differentiate. No, really innovate and differentiate. Take some time out of your business, remove any and every distraction and work through this list. Become your client's saviour and I am certain you'll strike gold.
Andrew Ludlam is the owner of Maverick Marketing Consultancy, and is recognised as a leading expert on advanced marketing strategy and tactics. As a marketing consultant, trainer and author, he has advised many hundreds of business owners one-to-one, and many more have attended his private training programmes. Andrew also publishes a fortnightly newsletter which has some 2,000 subscribers.
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