Put plenty of thought into your business planning and pay attention to the things marketers always do. Marketers understand the value of research, analysis and reflection in directing their efforts. Being thorough in your business research in the early planning stages makes your effort much more efficient. Taking the time to make these tactics part of your overall planning will ultimately save you a lot of time and money. Below are some things you can do to help you get a fuller understanding of the nature of your business so you can execute activities that will actually kick up your results a notch.
- Conduct a Competitive Analysis: Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors allows you to be more strategic in how you run your own business. I could write an entire blog on that, but don’t have the luxury of space in this post. This link to Edward Lowe Foundationprovides you with great information on how to conduct your own competitive analysis. The information you garner about your competition from following the suggested steps will prove to be highly valuable. Trust me when I tell you that knowledge is power.
- Conduct Market Research: Market research doesn’t have to involve hiring an expensive marketing firm to find out what your customers think. There are many inexpensive online tools and questionnaires that you can send out to anyone who has made an inquiry or purchase from you. Are you collecting customer data? You’d better start soon. That information is like gold to your business. You can’t assume your customers are getting everything they need from you, and what about the people who don’t do business with you? Why are they taking their business elsewhere? Inquiring minds want to know.
- Develop Customer Profiles/ Buyer Personas: Use the information from your market research to develop buyer personas. A “who, what, when where, why and how” approach will help you paint a very clear picture of who your customers are and give you the chance to really see where you are missing out. I wrote a post about buyer personas on beBee. Here’s the link.
- Conduct a SWOT Analysis: The best way to get a 360-degree view of your business is to start with a SWOT analysis. SWOT, is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Provide as much information about your business as you can under each heading. Use the information you gather from your competitive analysis and market research to help you understand more about your business.
- Understand Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): All businesses sell something and many businesses offer the same products and services, so you need to figure out what makes you unique. Some companies will use price as their USP, but that isn’t always the draw for customers. Let’s face it, sometimes you don’t want to be the cheapest alternative in your industry. Your USP could be your return policy, your stellar customer service, quality product, or any number of things. You may already believe you know what your USP is, and you could be exactly right, but you could also be completely wrong. Use your market research to figure out what your customers like the most about you. If it turns out to be different from what you’ve been telling everyone, you may discover you have an even bigger opportunity in front of you.
Once you’ve assembled all this great information about your business you can identify a specific business objective and build a whole new set of strategies and tactics that are sure to move you forward. Clarity has a way of doing that.
By the way, Channel Marketing Alliance has asked me to host a webinar about blogging. You can sign up here!
Renée Cormier is a certified coach who shows you how to move forward and achieve growth in business and all other areas of life. Renée happily shares her business and personal development expertise through a variety of training and coaching programs that create unsurpassed value for her clientele. Would you like some help setting goals and getting things done? Get access to unlimited coaching services for a flat fee!
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