Dec 162011
 

Do you know why people buy from you?  If not then you need to read this

There are few businesses that do not have direct competition so what is it about your new business that is going to make people desert their present provider and come knocking at your door?


Well, the first thing to do is find out what your customer wants.  Sounds simple and logical but can actually be quite hard to do (and as a result many people don’t bother…).  In most cases you cannot actually go and talk to your prospective customers individually so you have to find out via indirect research and then extrapolate results.  The ways to do this are an article in themselves but do make an effort because it will pay off with the next stage.

Once you know what people want look at the competition and see how they are delivering it to the customers.  Your aim here is to find out where the gaps are and what the weaknesses are from your competitors.  You then need to identify how you can overcome these weaknesses and highlight these when you advertise your business.  Here are some typical areas you might investigate to see if you can find that competitive advantage.

Choice

Early in a product’s life you can get away with providing just a basic choice; remember Henry Ford’s “any color so long as it’s black” quote?  For early autos that wasn’t an issue but once autos started to become more common then people wanted more choice.  Is your marketplace at a point where adding an extra level of choice could promote you to market leader?

Delivery

Delivery is not just about speed.  Yes, most people want things immediately when they buy but there are other things that they desire too.  Reliability to deliver at a specific time of day is very important for workers; choices of delivery method (and therefore cost) can also be important.

Also, make it easy for the customer to buy; there’s nothing more annoying to someone to have to jump through numerous hurdles to get to the ‘buy now’ page – and the to fond that you don’t take their preferred method of payment.

Performance

What performance improvement can you add to ensure that people sit up and take note?  If you can’t beat people with one of the main performance measures then find a lesser one and build that into your marketing to be seen as something more important.

Quality

The biggest profits are made by companies that concentrate on quality rather than price.  Quality is a subjective matter and in many instances it can be up to you to demonstrate what quality is for your product.  A few years ago a beer company defined quality by the number of times it filtered the water in their beer.  As it happened, all beer makers do similar but none had promoted their product in that way.  As a result the beer company who first used the idea then became the ‘owners’ of it and no-one else could use it without seeming like they were copying the original.

Doing your research and then adapting your offering to the wants and needs of your market will give you a big advantage when starting out in business.  Yes, some of the research and work to find the niche can be hard – but that’s why most people don’t do it!