Creating a successful and profitable business is not an easy task. It takes a lot blood, tears and sweat! It’s reliant on many external factors such as competition, timing and demand, which you most likely have little to no control over at the beginning but lets assume that all of these external factors are in your favour, having a sound business plan can lead to having a successful business.
Here are four steps and questions you should consider answering when trying to build your business from the ground up!
1. Determine Your Business. What Are You Selling?
What are you selling? This question isn’t as easy to answer as you may think. For example, Nike is in the sportswear business, but the truth is that when you buy a pair of Nike shoes or sneakers, you’re buying a lot more than just a “shoe” — you’re buying an image, a feeling, a vibe. You’re buying the Nike brand. This idea of buying a “feeling” or “experience” applies to all businesses and this is what allows some businesses or business owners be able to charge premium prices while others are struggling to break even.
A website designer for example thinks he sells “Website Design” but he doesn’t, it is deeper than that. You are giving a business an online presence, you are placing them in the fore-front of the world (which is the internet) and because the world has almost gone digital – people will judge a business by their website!
So, all of a sudden – a website designer isn’t just “designing a website”, he is giving a business life. The understanding of this is what makes some website designer able to charge thousands of dollars and some struggle to get $100 a pop. So, for example – my website design company is “Presidential Ideas” and what I do is “Giving businesses an aesthetically pleasing online image”, this is my brand and this what allows me to charge premium because I have moved from the mentality that “am just a website designer or developer”
Sell the “experience” “the outcome” “the feeling” and not just “the product”. Keep in mind, there’s more to a product than, well, the product itself. Your brand is what sets your product apart from your competitor’s.
So, create a brand, create a perception! Create an image!
2. Select Your Market. Who Are You Selling To?
Who are you selling to? or more importantly, what do you know about this person? Understanding your customer is a key to success in any business. What do they do? Where do they hang out? What are they subscribed to? How much are they making? How old are they by the way? What are their goals? These are just a few of the questions that you should be able to answer about your customer or potential customers.
Knowing the answers to these questions can answer a lot of questions of your own when it comes to creating a marketing strategy that will bring a good ROI because you know who you are targeting. The art of crafting out the answers to the questions above is called “creating a customer avatar” or “customer profile”, this is most times overlooked by businesses even though it has great benefits.
Most businesses try to target everyone and this is a recipe for failure. We need to understand that some people will not be able to either afford your service or find it valuable enough to shed their hard earned money for it.
When I started Presidential Ideas, I wanted to create websites for every Tom, Dick n Harry. As I have grown the brand though, I now know the types of clients I want to work with and have been able to create a very detailed avatar of clients – clients who understand the value of what am going to create for them, businesses with clear values and objectives and those who can afford to pay for my presidential service.
3. Create A Marketing Strategy. How Do You Speak To These People?
This can only be effective after you’ve understood your brand and your customer. Like I clearly stated above, understanding your customer can answer a lot of questions concerning your businesses’ approach to marketing: Questions like these will be answered:
- Where should you advertise your business? – When you’ve understood your customer and where they hang out, you will know exactly where to put all your marketing guns without wasting money on places where your customers or potential customers aren’t even present. For example, you will know if Facebook, Instagram or even maybe a real life venue is where they hang out and you can then focus all your marketing gun power towards that particular place.
- What’s the voice of your brand? – The voice of your brand and how you will communicate with your customers is very key. Some customers are triggered to take action by using “fear tactics” and that might not work for another type of customer.
- What kind of prices are reasonable for this demographic? – Did someone just say Major Key? because this right here is a major key! If you remember, I talked about trying to know how much your potential customer makes, the reason for this is to sift out people who are not your ideal customer and only focus on people who can afford your service or product.
In order to engage your customer, a.k.a. sell your product to them, you must know where your marketing gun powder will be noticed the most, how to speak to them, and how much they will be able to spend, amongst other things. Really, this step should have been combined with the last because who your market is dictates your marketing strategy entirely.
4. Can You Copy? Don’t Re-invent The Wheel
I believe so much in the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There is no point trying to re-invent the wheel anymore. Some people have gone ahead of you, made mistakes and achieved tremendous success in the same field or business you are trying to achieve success in. The wise thing to do would be check out what they’ve done and emulate after what works for them because if it works for them – there’s a chance it will work for you. (you do have to try add your own twists though! Don’t be a 100% follower).
The big take away in this section is to find a company or individual who is already successful in your field and then you study their winning moves. What are they doing? what type of marketing strategy is behind their success?how do people perceive their brand?
Remember, building a successful business in not all about the dollars and cents. Equally as valuable is your brand equity and your ability to engage your customer, which is only attainable by understanding them. Assuming there is a demand for your product, and you can compete with the other brands, following these four steps will guide you in the right direction.
I hope you gained some insight or value from this post, if you did – please drop a comment below lets have a conversation.