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The Top 10 Requirements for Your Business to
We live in a
relentlessly competitive world. The daily pressure to work "better, cheaper and
faster" can make even talented business owners and entrepreneurs lose site of first
principles. As you cope with the decisions and details of running your business,
focus on the fundamentals! Regardless of the type of business or the products or
services you sell, here are my suggestions for the Top 10 Basics that will make your
- Customer Benefits. You and your
customers must clearly understand the benefits that your products and services provide.
Most buying decisions are based on the consumers perception that a new color
will add prestige or that a smaller, lighter product will be more convenient.
Customers buy benefits.
- Extra Value. Customers must
receive more in value than you charge for your goods and services. Most of us
dont want a "fair" exchange, we want a bargain, the sense that we got
extra value for our money.
- Extraordinary Service. This
means attention to detail. Answering the phone on the first ring, providing an 800
number and 24-hour customer service numbers are examples. L.L. Bean has made a
fortune with its "no questions" guarantee. So can you!
- Know your Audience. Every
business has to know their audience. Volvo and Nissan have very different audiences, and
their advertising, pricing and even the location of their dealerships reflect this.
Young adult audiences may value low price, while another group may value quality,
performance, reliability or some other item. This is even more critical for service
organizations whos products are invisible (consulting, education, coaching, etc).
- Location. In the old days, this
meant the street address of your shop or store. Now it means getting your marketing
messages into your customers hands when and where they are receptive. Be
certain your website is located at the top of the search engines. Make your Yellow
Page ad larger or distinctive. NASCAR race fans are the most brand-loyal consumers
in America. If you want to reach them, buy space on a race car!
- Convenience. Customers
expect to shop at their convenience, to pay by credit card, to call an 800-number, and to
have their questions answered correctly the first time. Obviously, most service
providers (medical, legal, consulting) can not be available 24-hours a day, and how you
handle that problem will say much about you and your business to potential customers.
Make it easy to do business with you!
- Innovation. New is good, newer
is better. Customers expect the benefits of the most modern technology.
minimum, they expect the convenience of email, voice mail, pagers, and fax. If there
is a faster, better, cheaper and more reliable way to do it, adopt cutting edge techniques
before your competition does!
- Reliability. Consumers assume
they can rely on your products and services. If they are purchasing your time and
expertise, they rely on your availability, your advice, your attention to detail, and your
follow-through. Durability may be less important in a throw-away age, but consumers
demand 100% reliability. Be available for them every single time!
- Planning. Planning takes on
strange twists when a computer chip "generation" lasts 6 months and a website
may be "old" in 6 weeks. Planning is the ability to monitor, influence,
and profit from change. Planning means having a mission statement and the
flexibility to respond instantly when new information allows you to fulfill your mission
more effectively. Planning means you control your destiny.
- Communication. Communication
means instant, 2-way communication between every level and every branch of an enterprise.
It means communicating with your vendors and competitors, and working with your
customers so they become your most important designers, researchers and customer service
experts. It means an "open door" policy and flat organizational models.
It means listening is more important than speaking. It means ideas rule the
Phil, Mary, and the Staff at
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© Copyright 2003 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved.
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