We’d like to welcome Mike Alawi to our team. He joined us last month as Marketing Project Executive. Here is a blog that he put together for you. Who else wants to be a more successful business? We know we do!
1. Provide outstanding customer service
To excel in customer service, you and your staff need to know the ins and outs of your product or service. You should know common questions that your customers ask and how to respond competently and effectively. Staff training in this area is important. Listen and be responsive. Ask for feedback, ensuring that you use feedback positively. Identify areas for improvement and make specific changes in your business. Let your customers know that you implemented their suggestions and/or acted on feedback. I recently read an article about a Starbucks customer that called into the company’s corporate offices after a mix up with a branch. Instead of simply giving him a refund, the customer service representative told Jason that they needed to “make him whole and give him an experience nothing short of fantastic.” They then filled his rewards card with $50 of store credit. Way to go Starbucks!
2. Help your customers do their jobs better
Content marketing provides B2B customers with handy information which can assist in their organisation’s day to day tasks. Companies that write regularly have seen up to 3X more website traffic and 4.5X more sales leads. There is increased brand reach that creates long-term business relationships, which could generate more sales leads for your company. The more consistently high quality content you offer your audience, the more likely they are to return to your site as a trusted source. Ericsson, a multinational networking and telecommunications company, provided 5 life hacks for working in the corporate world on the blog section of their website.
3. Create more than one price point
It’s a good idea to test different pricing brackets. Let’s say you offer three prices for different levels of a product or service. One priced low, another with all the bells and whistles, and a mid-market price. This range widens the reach of your audience and opens a gateway to new customers, or a premium price on the other end of the scale for those who want the full package. Amazon nailed this strategy with their shipping options. They offer express next day delivery for £4.49, standard 3-day delivery for £1.99 or free no rush delivery in 3-5 days. Each price is aimed at customers with different requirements, expectations and budgets.
4. Be the first to inform your customers of new trends
Everyone wants to be kept in the loop with latest trends. Being first to inform your customers of new trends will increase your credibility as a source of relevant, up-to-date information. It attracts more potential customers to your online and offline channels and results in a positive impression of your brand. People will then regularly look to you for new content making you stand out from the crowd as a successful business.
5. Give your brand a human face by having conversations
Giving your brand a personality that people can relate to allows you to reach more people effectively. Talk about your products, talk about your industry and latest trends. People appreciate content that engages with their interests and makes them feel at ease with a brand. Grüum, a company that specialises in custom shaving kits tell their brand story well. They write about how four friends from Manchester decide to quit their jobs, invest their savings and take on a multi-billion dollar industry. When you buy from Grüum, your first purchase comes with a small note from the founders themselves thanking you for your purchase.
6. Develop multiple ways to get in touch with you
In addition to picking up the phone, maximise the use of multiple channels such as social media, chatbots and events to provide potential customers with more touchpoints with your business. You will also reach a wider audience. Use your website as a hub but engage with your target audience on relevant social media platforms, through networking and selected events.
7. Focus on being the best at the ONE thing that really matters to your target market
Whatever you specialise in, ensure that you can be the best at it so that your stand out from your competitors. It could be your customer service, your cutting edge technology, your flexible pricing or the great events that you host. It might even be your deliberate and continued support for your local community. Being fantastic is one aspect of your service gives you a distinct competitive advantage that becomes difficult for others to copy. These are just some of the ways that you could build a better, more successful business that you can be proud of.
Photo courtesy ofGarrhet Sampson
Last year, I compiled 10 LinkedIn articles that inspire me as a start-up founder and entrepreneur.
The topics covered span from intellectual property, organisational culture and self-disruption. I have added my key takeaways for 2017, a good reminder for me as the year reaches a halfway point.
Varun Batra discusses the pitfalls of choosing the wrong tech-stack at the onset of your tech startup. He explains that the focus of an entrepreneur should be getting an MVP out in the shortest possible time. Two ways to work smarter: Stick with one or two technologies or Start with one or two technologies. Reading time: 3-5 minutes
This is an insightful article for any entrepreneur with an idea. Intellectual property (IP) can appear complex but Akeem Famuyiwa does a good job of explaining the different kinds of IP, licensing and how structuring a licensing deal can have significant impact on long term business growth. Reading time: 5-7 minutes
Talk about a timely article! This article came up in my feed at a time when I was making decisions about building a minimum viable product. Ajay Shrivastava talks about speed, technology and agility. Must read if you’re building anything for customers. Reading time: 7-10 minutes
I failed to save the part one of this article but you can find it here. The second part of the article follows on to discuss how to pass the tipping point. Passing the tipping point is crucial for market growth. Hans Peter Bech gives great insight into how to increase market share using techniques like customer segmentation and facilitating your buyers’ journey. Great read as you make inroads into your target market. Reading time: 7-10 minutes
Sarah Goodall wrote this article in November 2016, and it is one of my favourites. I’m a huge fan of enabling organisational culture because I think too many companies leave culture to chance. Sarah discusses how organisations can develop a ‘growth’ mindset (and move away from a ‘fixed’ mindset). She touches on learning through failure, continuous feedback and flatter organisational structures. Reading time: 5-7 minutes
Janeen Judah is the 2017 SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) President. In this article, she called for a Startup Village/Fair at conferences such as ATCE. The oil and gas industry is overdue for innovative disruption. Therefore, this is exactly the kind of idea that should be getting overwhelming support. Reading time: 3-5 minutes
Following on from my love for great organisational cultures, this article challenges the idea of value statements, an approach that Stefan Norrvall notes is ineffective if they are not linked to the behaviours, systems and symbols within an organisation. Particularly in cases where values change often. What’s the point? I agree, Stefan! Leaders must walk-the-talk for the talk to be real. Reading time: 5-7 minutes
This intriguing title engaged people like me, people who are developing products that will eventually need a product manager. Suhaas Kaul discusses the difference between a good product manager and a great one. You want a great product manager as a merely good one is simply not good enough. Reading time: 7-10 minutes
On the topic of products and what makes great ones, David Fradin’s book appears insightful. The book is on my reading list for this year (I will get to it). According to Uday Kumar, the book is dedicated to enhancing the chances of product success and reducing product failure. Reading time: 3-5 minutes
I recently came across Whitney Johnson, a leading management thinker, author and host. This article is fantastic if you are an entrepreneur who wants to make a real difference. Whitney’s examples are inspiring. Do you want to fill a niche with your strengths? Do you learn from failure? Then read this, oh, and follow her podcast, ‘Disrupt Yourself Podcast’. It promises brilliance! Reading time: 7-10 minutes
Key takeaways for 2017
- Start with the minimum until you have find what your customers want.
- Look for a niche market where you can gain market share using your distinctive strengths.
- As an entrepreneur, always be thinking about your company’s culture from day one and ensure your systems, behaviours, processes and leadership team align.
- Your product or technology is the core of your business so get advice on the right IP to protect it.
- Innovation will keep you ahead in the market, regardless of industry. Be ready to disrupt even yourself.
A version of this article was originally published on LinkedIn on 31 December 2016
What an energetic rush! In the last 12 weeks, I had the opportunity to nurture an idea for a web application as part of an accelerator programme. There were 15 other founders who were also on the journey to grow a business idea. This included Bendifa, Tinto Architecture, Get Soda, GiftID, 10 Trillion Trees, Sequel Composites, The Stylist’s Stamp, LiberEat, Ebar Initiatives and DogLeg Golf. My vision is to reduce the guesswork in creating and tracking the performance of marketing strategies. It marked the end of the 12-week accelerator programme. We had mentors, investors and partners in attendance. Each founder had 3 minutes to pitch their idea to the audience. It was an excellent afternoon, the start of a new phase for the founders.
Pictures from Founders Showcase.
Photo credits: Michal Wachucik/Abermedia/Aberdeen/Elevator UK/Founders Showcase/14 December 2016
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For information on how you can get involved with our new web application idea, follow this link.
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I have a confession to make
I want people to like me. When I enter a room, I look for signs that the people in that room think I’m alright. These signs could include:
Smiling at me
Starting a conversation with me
Pulling me into a conversation by asking me questions
Making eye contact
Nodding in my direction
It’s a hard thing to admit in a society that tells us that caring about what people think is bad, a sign of insecurity. On the other hand, we work in business markets where we want to attract as many customers as possible. We study them, and we seem desperate to catch their attention. It is fair to say that we care what customers think. Are businesses therefore insecure?
Businesses have compromised their value proposition
Most people, like businesses, want to be liked. But I’ve found that if a room full people all like me, I’m probably not being true to myself. It’s likely that I’m going out of my way (with some of them) to say the things they want to hear. Consciously or unconsciously, I’ve compromised my real value. Do businesses do the same in a bid to secure new customers? I think so.
In fact, if your value proposition is for all customers alike, I can tell you with a degree of certainty that your business isn’t being true to itself. It’s the old adage of trying to be all things to all men (and women).
My value proposition doesn’t resonate with everyone
As much as I want to be liked by everybody, I can’t achieve that without losing sight of my real focus. I have become comfortable with this.
In a room of ten people, for instance, it is not unusual for me to really hit it off with two or three people. It’s a kind of natural selection and I’ve learned to rejoice in this.
Therefore, focus on adding value in your unique way. Recognise who you should say, “No” to. You read that right. You will not add value to some customer groups. And the less time you spend on these groups, the better focus you give your business. Hence, it comes down to targeting and positioning, along with a clear value proposition.
What are your target customer groups and what is your specific value proposition to these groups?
Which customers are you chasing now that you should be saying, “No” to?
If you would like support in answering these questions for your business, get in touch with us today