This seems very obvious, but it still surprises me how many business owners take it for granted that they are providing their target market with what they want.
Yet if that was the case you could reasonably expect to own that market and have very little competition!
So reflect for a while on who your ideal customer is and what they, with none of your knowledge or understanding, are looking for in a company such as yours.
Is it all about price?
You may feel in the current economic situation that it is all about price, and that inevitably the lowest cost wins.
However, actually talking with current and potential customers may reveal that elements such as service, reliability, recommendation or even locality are more important to them.
How can you discover your customers’ needs?
You can find out what these elements are for your business through research.
This could range from informal face to face discussions with selected people (for example, customers who no longer buy from you – also a great way to get back in touch and find out what you might need to do to regain their business), to telephone research with a wider audience who are not currently customers (another opportunity to promote your goods and services as well, of course).
What are your customer’s priorities?
Whatever you do it should be structured around a questionnaire you have developed with a bit of thought about the areas you want to explore, and outcomes you will be able to act on.
A simple scale of 1 to 5 for a series of areas such as service, reliability, quality etc, as well as price, will quickly show what the key priorities are for your customers, and the ways your company can differentiate itself so as to meet what they really want, rather than what you may think they want!
How about an example?
In a recent exercise with one client we uncovered that their customers put quality of service well above current cost. We focussed on meeting that demand and were then able to increase prices – putting more than £30,000 on the bottom line.
The company in question is not large, its annual turnover is around £225,000, so an increase of £30,000 represents a very substantial uplift in profits.
This is a classic example of how, by understanding the areas to be different in that matter to your customers, you can make a direct improvement in your profits.
In my next Blog we will look at the other side of the coin and examine how you can use negative feelings about your industry to create positive success for your business.
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Are you a business owner?
Interested in finding 6 simple ways in which you can quickly increase your profits and efficiency – and have more quality time for yourself?
If so then please join me for my next morning workshop on Friday 4 April 2014 at The Holiday Inn, Guildford.
It is free to business owners and company directors, but places are limited and awarded on a first come first served basis.
Book online here>> or please contact me on: 01483 332020 or email: email@example.com to book your place.
More information on this workshop, and great feedback from businesspeople like you who have attended my events, can be found on my Events page.