Singular focus can achieve transformational results in our businesses if it's based on an understanding and channeling of who we are, what we have a passion for, what we can be the very best at and what drives our economic engine. As we said in last post, Taking your business from good to great, that singular focus has to apply to all our activities, so it extends to our marketing efforts.
Marketing is that which causes clients to come to you and keeps them coming back.
Dominate a niche market: be the very best supplier in that niche
In The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook, Jay Conrad Levinson states: "In order to sell a product or a service, a company must establish a relationship with the customer. It must build trust and support. It must understand the customer's needs, and it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits."
The goal is to dominate a niche market by being the very best supplier in that niche. You may have to narrow the niche again and again to get it down to the one you can dominate. The starting point and qualifier for identifying what you will provide and to whom, is the selective focus we referenced above.
Bill Davidow, former Marketing VP at Intel, does a great job of describing the process of market segmentation and product development in his book Marketing High Technology. As he says and shows, while "devices are invented in the laboratory, great products are invented in the Marketing Department".
Building trust requires consistency in image, quality and all channels of service
You need to ensure that the corporate image you have chosen is consistent with your values and the target clients’ needs.
Good design shops work with business owners to understand their values, vision, image requirements and prospective clients, before they start any work. The time invested to understand these things at the beginning of the client relationship can result in an image and a vision you can stay true to throughout the life of your business.
Image begins with your name and extends to everything and every way a prospective client is influenced to think about or react to you. Think about every way you touch your prospects and clients: how you answer the phone, what your business, staff, products and invoices look like, how you treat complaints.
Building trust requires us to be consistent in image, quality and all channels of service: web site, logo, letterhead, phone system and manners, business cards, report formats, advertisements, signage and so on. Such things set clients' expectations and are vital to winning them. We keep them by staying consistent and exceeding their expectations by just a little bit.
In that vein, Ken Blanchard's Raving Fans is a short but wonderful read about how to turn your clients into raving fans who not only keep coming back, but encourage others to become your clients as well.
Remember: it starts with figuring out who you are and who you want to be, then staying true to that vision. You cannot serve everyone. You must narrow your niche to one you can dominate and ensure that the products and services you deliver to that market segment are the very best for them and what that market segment wants. And that could be the least expensive or the most convenient to access or the most user-friendly or the easiest to learn or the most reliable.
Add value before you sell
Momentum builds steadily with every little improvement, provided each is consistent with your singular vision. If you are considering selling your business and have 18 months to three years to work on it before the sale, then rethinking who you are and why you are in business, and taking the journey to make your vision a reality is worth doing.
Not only will the results (revenue and profit) look better when we are selling your business, but the fact that you have a vision and a plan to make it a reality will also add value. Discussing your exit strategy with Sunbelt some 18 months to three years in advance will allow us to recommend the professional assistance you may need in developing your plan--the more lead time, the better. This is important to do when selling a business.
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