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2011 Business Growth Strategies: #3 Get Closer to Your Markets

2011 Business Growth Strategies: #3 Get Closer to Your Markets

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2011 Business Growth Strategies: #3 Get Closer to Your Markets

By: Rebel Brown
Posted: Jan 05, 2011

“Follow your customers, listen to your markets!”

That’s a mighty popular refrain from the past decade.  We all got on board with being customer-driven, market-focused and all the other buzz words.

I think we often fall short of ‘customer-driven’ – thanks to gravity.

When we truly listen to our markets – we listen to ALL of our markets.  Not just our favorite customers.  You know what I mean.  We all tend to gather input from the same group of customers – over and over again.  We go to the folks who are our friends, who we can trust to say great things – the ones who already honor our value.  After all, they understand it, right?

But what if those top favorite customers are behind the market – and you’re following their lead?

Or what if those top customers don’t represent your best opportunity going forward? What if following their lead means you miss out on the biggest opportunity yet for growth?

Just as we create Gravity from inside our business – we can also create Gravity thanks to our favorite customers.  We all do it – so don’t feel badly.  But do think differently!

Ask yourself, “What customers am I listening to for guidance? Are they the best sources of input I can find?” Chances are – you can expand your market knowledge by expanding your inputs.

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I call the best sources of input your Keepers of the Truth.  They include your best customers and partners, your friendly industry experts and gurus.  All the people you already probably talk to about your business.

Now go a step further.  Chat with the real Keepers of Your Truth – beyond your buddies.  Right now, pick up the phone or schedule a meeting this week to chat with some of these folks:

The customer that’s unhappy with you. I know – they’re a pain.  They’re angry and it’s easier to avoid them than face them.  But if you want to know the truth about your value, or lack of, go talk to these folks.  Don’t just talk – listen and listen some more…
The customer who left you. Sure, they made a mistake.  You have lots of other customers who love you and your value.  Who needs the guys who left? YOU DO.  They will tell you a lot about your value – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  What you lack in value for them may be what you will lack for other customers in the near future.  So get out there and listen to what they have to say.
The prospect who never bought from you. I know, the competition outsold you, or discounted more than you could or just plain misled the customer.  But what if the prospect needed value that you don’t provide? And what if that value is what every other customer is going to need in the future? Better to go learn about it now and get a plan in place for the future.  Even if your top customers aren’t clamoring for that value yet.  So go find a few of those prospects and ask them what you were missing.  Then sit back, listen and learn.

When you get closer to your markets and their reality – you can define and deliver distinct value that is compelling to your audiences.  To find the best paths to growth, listen to a wide range of prospects and customers – with emphasis on the ones who didn’t see your value.  They can tell you more about how to win in the future than the customers who already drink your Koolaid.

The closer you are to your true markets, the closer you are to success.

Rebel Brown – About the Author:

Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.

 

Check out Rebel’s new business book, Defy Gravity, where she shares proven strategies and tactics for growing your business even in a down economy.

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/strategic-planning-articles/2011-business-growth-strategies-3-get-closer-to-your-markets-3979312.html

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Article Tags:
growth strategies, business growth strategies, favorite customers, top customers, buzz words, last decade

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2011 Business Growth Strategy #4: Check Your Business Model

We all know our business models inside and out, right? We know where we make money, where we lose money, where we invest and recently, where we tighten our belts.

But are we really executing on the best business model for growth?

Business models are a magnet for Gravity thinking.  I believe that’s because we’re all rained to believe that business models should be established and then maintained carefully – no matter what happens.

That’s old school and pure Gravity thinking.  If you’re business model isn’t shifting to match the dynamic winds of your markets, then your business model is weighing you down and dragging you backwards.

Our world changes every day.  And if you’re not changing with it – you’re losing.  Whether it’s an assumption about your best source of profits, your best sales channels, the optimum way to manufacture or the next great thing you should be creating – if you haven’t checked your business model and focus in the past few months – check it now.

We all get stuck in thinking that the way we we’ve always done it is the best way possible.  We’re also influenced by the things we’ve tried before that didn’t work – and we surely won’t try again.  The problem is – all of that thinking is based on the past – and our past no longer predicts our future.  Not in our new economy.  Everything changes too quickly to bet our future on our past.

So take a moment and ask yourself:

What’s driving my profit today? What will drive my profit tomorrow? How do I need to evolve my business to power new avenues of profit? Are their areas I need to rethink – focusing on profit and not just the topline?
How do I market and sell to my customers today? How am I reaching out to new prospects? Is it working? What changes do I need to make to market and sell in tomorrow’s world? (For example, think about the changes social media has driven in the way we interact with customers.  Are you taking advantage of that power?
What new opportunities am I funding that aren’t delivering on their promise? Is hope springing eternal when it should be focused elsewhere? What other opportunities am I not funding just because I tried something similar a few years back? What opportunities am I missing – based on my chat with my Keepers?
Why do I run my business as I do? Are my assumptions based on today’s world – or on the way I’ve always done it?

Often simple shifts can make huge impacts on our business success.

As you go through your day, whenever you catch yourself ready to make a decision based on the way you’re doing things today, stop.  Then ask yourself – “Is there a better way?”

That simple question, applied to the way you’ve always done it, will help you shift into the thinking that powers high velocity growth!

Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.

 

Check out Rebel’s new business book, Defy Gravity, where she shares proven strategies and tactics for growing your business even in a down economy.

Plan Business Growth Strategies with a Personal Marketing Partner

It is essential to devise the right marketing strategies for the expansion of your business. You need to market your services or products well so that it gets sold. Well-marketed products usually have high sales because the promoters perform their work efficiently. As a promoter, if you are able to find out the answers to the basic questions that determine the success of business, it becomes relatively easy to attract customers. The marketing plan you will devise will be the basis of the success or failure of your business venture. But this will always depend on how carefully you have planned out everything. It is essential to write and communicate your marketing strategies in a simple manner so that the aims are conveyed in a nutshell.


There are several professional business consultancy services that can assist promoters in this field. They can help by creating and developing a vision for the company or the organization through the identification of the strengths of the business, and the areas where it can be improved. They are also good at finding the loopholes in business-related strategies and modifying them for achieving the goals that have been set.


Hence, as a business owner, you need to view consultants as a marketing partner. They can offer simple yet important advice on the business tactics that you can follow, after studying the trends prevailing in the market. The suggestions they give are based on the analysis of the market they have done. Some of the factors that consultants consider when they compile a market report are the habits and purchasing power of the consumers, and the competition that new businesses are likely to face in a specific area.


Thus, consultants can help you to determine the feasibility of the business you own, and consequently act as marketing partners for you. They will advise you after weighing the pros and cons of various business strategies. They also offer an array of services which include advice on starting a business, analysis of the operations, formulation of marketing strategies, making of business plans, and even management consultation.


Expert consultancy services can help you in increase productivity of the business manifold you have. Through this you can concentrate on the management and other services that are related to the business. Services like these are customized and personalized according to the satisfaction of the users. Besides the development of strategies relate to marketing, the consultants also take on the responsibility of marketing it. This can be done in many ways like promoting it through advertising in public places by the creation of television ads that are catchy, or offering incentives to buyers when they purchase products of the company.


Strategies related to E-commerce marketing are also getting popular these days, since they are a low-cost method to advertise. There are several specialized business consultants who are responsible for developing websites on the Internet for companies and implementing effective strategies for the creation of traffic, for generating revenues for the company. So the best thing is hiring a personal marketing partner who can help you to formulate the right strategies, and provide the right direction, so that your business venture is a huge success.

Business Consultant helps entrepreneurs squeeze mega-profits in record time by working less? We have proof of this Business Consulting achievement. Discover how by visiting: http://www.businesscoach.com/go/bc/business-consulting/index.cfm.

Business Growth Strategies Part 2: New Business Development

Once a business has decided it needs to achieve growth, it needs a well thought our business development strategy in place.

Certain prerequisites are required. For example the business should firstly examine its most profitable existing customers to identify what they have in common, or in other words build a profile of potential new business prospects.

Armed with this valuable new customer profile, you can then identify sources

of data for these potential new prospects, such as quality lists or databases.

Then comes the devising of the new business development strategy, usually based on one of the following forms.

1. Selling Existing Products and Services to New Customers The first, and simplest, way to target new customers is with your existing products or services.

Your sales team will already have proven experience with them, and know how to overcome objections and promote the key benefits. You may also have existing promotional material available which can be used in mailings or at events.

Because of successful your track record with existing products, you’ll also have a range of more tangible benefits to communicate to potential clients. You can even draw upon existing customer testimonials to help build credibility amongst this new audience, who may not have an prior knowledge of your business or brand.

Finally, your operational activities are all in place already to start selling the same products with ease, ensuring that you can deliver good customer service to hard won new clients.

So unless there is very good reason not to, always start out a business development programme with what is already available: your existing products and services.

2. Selling New Products to New Customers In some cases a higher risk strategy may be required. It may be necessary to create new products or services for promoting to potential new customers.

This can be the case if, for example, your existing market has reached saturation, or perhaps your current industry sector has been affected by circumstances beyond your control. It may also be the case that your products have been surpassed by new developments in the marketplace or new technological innovations. In such situations the business seeking to continue growth can be left with no option but to risk all on new products for new markets.

Embarking on a new product development programme as well as a new business

development strategy is a task which should not be underestimated in scale. However a well organised business, with good management in place driving progress, can achieve success.

Steve Sellwood is from www.selectabase.co.uk, an independent UK provider of b2b and b2c lists and databases for use in new business development programmes. Selectabase also provide regular new b2b business leads and consumer prospects through the Startupsplus and Recently Moved small business marketing services.

Business Growth Strategies Part 1: New Business Profiling & Data

Every business needs to grow. Yet this universal truth is often approached with varying levels of competence. Few businesses have a realistic growth strategy in place, and even those that do rarely follow through their efforts or stick at them for the long run.

But somewhat surprisingly there are numerous strategies available to owners and managers of businesses seeking growth. For example businesses can seek to expand sales turnover and profitability through looking at existing or new products or services, their existing customer base, or potential new customers.

This article starts the process by showing you how examining your existing customers can provide the key to unlocking new business. Profiling Your Existing Customers Often, the first step in identifying new customers is to start with the old. Take a look at your existing customer database in detail. For a b2c consumer database use analysis tools like geodemographic profiling to identify the most common lifestyle groups amongst your customers, and then group consumers by location to identify geographic hotspots.

In the b2b environment, you may need to look at which trade customers are actually the most active. Analyse turnover by customer for the last 12 months, and see if your customer base adheres to Pareto’s Principle – that 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your sales, and even your profits. It’s surprising just how often this rule applies, and it enables you to identify the key b2b customers, and then discover more about them. Find out why they buy, where they are based, when they buy and what industry sectors they are from.

Once you’ve carried out this research in either a b2b or b2c market, you can then profile your ideal type of customer. This is who you will then go out to find more of.

Sources of New Business Data Armed with your target customer profile (or profiles) try to identify sources of these new business prospects. As your research has been based on data, the best place to start is by buying in or renting more databases to match your profile. Work with a reputable list supplier or provider, with experience in either b2b or b2c. They can take your profiles and help you build a bespoke database of new prospects that matches your needs.

Avoid cheap lists for sale on CD ROM’s as the data is likely to be out of date, and inaccurate. The money you may have saved in buying the list, will be far outweighed by the costly wastage you experience when you mail your list.

Try and invest in purchasing a list for multiple use, which you can garget on an ongoing basis as part of a longer term business development strategy. All too often businesses carry out just one mailing and then leave it at that – without realising that the majority of new prospects will need contacting more than once before deciding to buy from you.

Once you’ve obtained a quality list that closely matches the profile of your best existing customers, much of the guesswork has already been taken out of your new business development strategy.

Steve Sellwood is from www.selectabase.co.uk, an independent UK provider of b2b and b2c lists and databases for use in new business development. Selectabase also provides a range of data cleansing services for your existing customer database, including free Easycheck data cleansing software which can even carry out geodemographic profiling by postcode.

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