Greetings to all the realers, dealers, ‘hustlers’, aspirants and to the loyal readers. This time around I thought I should bring some flavour and fresh academic perspective into the topic; without further due let me introduce to you Mr. Matsena Martin Mabetoa; Business Mentor SMME Capacity Building Programme to do what he does best as confirms that business is No Child’s Play.
Business is a playground, overlooked by regulations and the ever watchful eye of our paternal government, but as long as you stay within the boundaries you are at liberty to move freely. Hence I say business is a playground, where all your toys and structures are made of clay, anticipating your molding skills, creating a desired world, claiming your section of the jungle Jim and stamping your identity.
Do not make the mistake of thinking business is a black and white affair, all paper work, procedures, structures, policies and being conventional in order to succeed. Tried and tested can and does work but these methods of operation can also lead to saturated markets, and saturated markets can lead to price wars which can lead to lower profits which can lead to a dead end. Innovation, creativity and distinct positioning are at the forefront of business growth in this day and age. I find it strange that when a typical entrepreneur is given the task to theoretically create a desired marketing mix (price, product, place, promotion) and a marketing mix that they are most likely to implement, there results a vast difference between vision and implementation. Limiting yourself to mediocre practices is not conducive to raving success, consider this… who are your three favorite entrepreneurs, what industries do they represent and what is it they do different from their ever present competition? You will find more often than not that at least one of their marketing mix elements holds a very distinct and sustainable characteristic that spits in the face of convention.
It can be as simple as selling your offering to an unlikely target market that begins to set you apart, using bright colors in a traditionally boring environment, or creating a unique brand image that allows you to use prestige prising, these small variations can impact hugely upon your business and the perception or response it creates in a customer’s mind.
A good place to start is by knowing who your customers are, define your target market, identify their needs and wants, dabble in some personal selling (customizing your product/service to individuals at the lowest cost possible), request feedback in order to improve their satisfaction with your business. The desired result is customer loyalty, become the first preference, customer loyalty breeds repeat purchases and the ever important referrals. It costs more to acquire new customers than it does to retain and satisfy current customers. Once you are familiar with your customers then you can start playing around with ideas that won’t alienate them, for example… if you were to own a mechanic workshop and you notice that a good percentage of your customers are female then why not dip half the shop in some or other luminous “female color” or hire some female mechanics, and watch your customer base soar?
The next thing to do is to scrutinize your competition, who are they, where are they and what do they do, why and how do they do it. With competitors the important thing is understanding their weaknesses and strengths, the goal here is to stealthily steal their customers or do it as an outright attack if you will. Study what value the customers are deriving from a competitor, for example if a customer keeps purchasing from your competitor due to faster turnaround time and you can’t match that then implement a delivery service or an update service so the customer can feel secure about their investment in you business, we all want to buy into a product or service we can trust.
For every problem there is an infinite amount of solutions, stop putting your business in a straight jacket, let it loose to run wild. Plan and implement uniquely, don’t be another statistic that hits a profit ceiling and becomes a small business owner instead of an entrepreneur. Stop thinking for your business and let it think for you.
“The real source of wealth and capital in this new era is not material things.. it is the human mind, the human spirit, the human imagination, and our faith in the future.”