Secrets to a Successful Business
An inside look at what it takes to bring your business to the market and have it rise to the top.
Running a business is not a simple task, let alone trying to build a successful one. Bringing a business to the market and competing with those already at the top involves more than having a good idea.
The success of any start-up business depends on a number of factors, and while you may have an idea of what you want, it may not be what your customers want or will pay for.
“It sounds obvious but it’s true,” says Bev Hamilton, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of One Step Further (www.onestepfurther.co.uk). “Identify a niche or target market that your products or services are aimed towards and what they are willing to pay for it. Ask people who are in your target market or niche what is important to them and be specific.”
Create and adapt your products/services to meet your target market’s needs. Hamilton suggests pricing it slightly higher than the rest of your market and create a test sales environment. Don’t open up a shop right away or build a big team before you have proof people want and are willing to pay for what you’re selling.
“The only sure proof is if they actually buy your product - saying they will buy is one thing, having their cash is another,” Hamilton tells Top Choice Magazine. “Scale slowly to continue to prove the viability of your products/services and get constant real time feedback on what customers/clients like, don’t like and will pay for.”
Next on your to-do list is to find a good location that’s easily accessible. Do you want a central location or a local neighborhood space that’s more attractive? Or would it be more advantageous to be located in a mall area? Again, ask potential customers for their opinion.
Take into consideration whether you’ll buy, rent or lease the facility. If you decide to buy, will that investment give you an asset to sell in the future? If you rent, ensure you build a good relationship with the landlord.
Once your business is set up, building a marketing plan is crucial. The marketing strategy should be aligned to your clients. Ask questions like: Where do my ideal clients ‘hang out’? or What magazines, newspapers and publications do they read online and offline? This will help you figure out where your marketing should be so that it’s strategically placed where your potential clients are.
“Marketing depends on your target audience, so consider a strategic holistic marketing approach and get good professional advice from specialists in your field,” says Hamilton. “Work with a marketing person who has a successful track record in marketing for your particular industry.”
When trying to maintain a successful business, it’s important to be relevant, exciting and different. Be the creator of something that will wow people even though they didn’t know they wanted your product/service.
“Trying to be all things to all people makes you a ‘me too’ business and indistinguishable from the crowd,” she says. “Be consistent, constantly listen to your customer and adapt as necessary. Never forget you’re only in business as long as you have customers and of course enjoy what you do.”
Don’t forget that passion goes a long way - remember why you wanted to start your business, if you’re not passionate about your product or service you won’t last.
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