Running a business can be hard work. It can also be great fun. It is all about what you make of it, the people that you work with and the risks that you are prepared to take. But make no mistake, it is hard work. Success doesn't happen overnight, it requires focus and thought and constant strategizing. You can never take your eye off the ball. If you are running your own business or even if you work for somebody else, but you want to make sure that you stand out from the competition, here are a few ideas to help set you apart.
Stay front of mind
No matter what type of business you are in it is imperative that you are always front of mind with your prospective clients. It is for this reason that you see Coca Cola signs in so many places. Quite simply they want to ensure that if you are thirsty and wanting a drink that it is Coke that comes to mind first. Their budgets for marketing are obviously vast and very different from a start-up, but you can still be inventive. What about fridge magnet business cards or distributing branded calendars. Something classy and fun that is always visible and which will make it easy to call you if and when the need for your service arises.
Make sure that if a potential client makes contact with you that you respond to them as soon as possible. In a competitive market you should always assume that the person contacting you is contacting others as well. And in a world where price differences are minimal it is often the client who is hungriest for business that will get the job. No matter how busy you are, always work on the assumption that your client is busier.
Be a leader
Set yourself up as an expert or a thought leader in your specific area by offering opinions and insights into your industry. It doesn't matter what the industry is you can still offer opinions and insights. From massage and car washes to engineering and avionics there are always new things to comment on and insights to be had. Blog, use social media, get invited to talk on panels etc, just make sure that when people think of your industry that your name is k own within the field.
If you have a good product then don't be afraid to offer samples or discounts to get people through the door. This is especially relevant in the service and FMCG industries where something that is experienced or tasted once and enjoyed, will translate into repeat business very quickly. And remember that the greater the number of happy clients you have, the more people they will refer back to you, helping the circle grow. So, taking a small hit upfront in order to get the service or product sampled and seen is almost always well worth the return that you will have. Just make sure that when you do run the promotion that you are ready and good to go – if it is done too soon or in haste, and it fails, then your chance to make a good first impression is gone.