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5 tips to differentiate your business

25 August 2011

As businesses navigate through a great deal of economic uncertainty, there are plenty of things that you can do to enhance and differentiate your business from the competition.

Here are 5 tips to help you develop your business strategy for 2012.

Focus on the customer experience.  What’s it really like dealing with your business?  Do a blind test and see whether your business and your team really want customers and sales. For most businesses, you’re not delivering a product/ service, your delivering an experience.

What do your customers really want and can you give it to them and still make a profit?  Starbucks closed 61 stores in Australia by 2008 (73% of their stores).  They misunderstood the sophistication of Australia’s coffee market and no amount of advertising was going to make us change our barista.

Solve the problem. What is it that your business does for your customers?  The more you can solve the problems they face and make life easier, the more likely it is that customers will choose you over your competition.  It might be as simple as refining how customers choose and order your product, access to information that is valuable (think of the freight companies who offer freight tracking and schedules of a customer’s history) through to product development (online banking didn’t always exist).

Know your product.  Do all of your staff know your product or service and do they know what to say about it?  The business might seem simple to you but your staff might not naturally realise what needs to be done or said. Inexperienced or poorly trained staff are a huge turn off to all but the keenest customers.

Not everyone wants to be your friend.  There is little doubt that having a tangible customer base is essential for a thriving and growing business. After all, they keep you in business. In the era of information and advertising overload, however, it’s getting harder to effectively market to clients when there is a lot of noise to cut through. While it is true that some business can utilise social media to great effect in building their client base, social media is about conversation and engagement. To be successful in social media as a business, it’s not enough to set up a page and then broadcast.   A better use of this methodology is to compliment other strategies. The best strategies are complimenting blends of communication and collateral.

Just for a minute, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What are they looking for in a relationship with your business? How important is your product or service to their needs? Are you invading their personal space or adding something tangible or valuable to their social media experience? The key to building successful relationships with your customers is in understanding what they want from you – and what they don’t – and that different clients will want different things from your business.

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Disclaimer

This article is provided for information purposes only and correct at the time of publication. It should not be used in place of advice from your accountant. Please contact us on 02 9957 4033 to discuss your specific circumstances.

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