There are ‘B is B’ companies in our market and their business is booming.
It’s booming because:
They don’t know any better. They don’t listen to the negativity on the news and in the financial papers. They deliberately avoid hearing anything about the market – therefore they don’t know they shouldn’t be doing well. They don’t confuse being informed with giving themselves an excuse to accept reduced sales or profitability.
They watch their competitors, some of whom will decline or disappear. This doesn’t add to their nervousness – it shores up their market and adds to their confidence. One of our clients boldly says: “Over the next two years I will double the size of my company.”
They recognise that their stronger competitors are doing the same. They will be watching and positioning themselves to take over market share.
They sustain their competitiveness in the following ways:
? They know their market and understand exactly what they do that their market needs and where they can create value. This is a ‘no-frills’ market, focused on adding value. Successful businesses increase the value related to the products their clients need and don’t create distractions with unnecessary extras.
? They stick to what they do really well. This is not the time to diversify and grab everything that surfaces from folding competitors. ‘B is B’ companies understand exactly the value they offer their clients and give them more of it. They ‘perform on performance’. This is what will keep their clients wanting more and keep them talking to others about them.
? They create ‘value exchange’ marketing methods through strategic relationships by coupling up with companies that offer related and non-competing products and services, to make joint approaches to both sets of clients. This increases the client base exposure and the joint approach acts as a referral, decreasing the lead time it takes towoo a new, ‘cold’, client.
? They adopt ‘one-to-many’ sales calls methods. Why cold call one potential customer at a time? They offer forums and educational events, inviting their customers and their customers’ customers: 20 sales calls in one meeting.
They adopt a ‘no-blinkers’ approach to understanding the reasons why a client has left, thus creating solid client retention strategies. However, these businesses have found many clients don’t leave for lowest prices or highest performance; they often leave because there has been a management change. Successful businesses create a hierarchal retention strategy based on building ‘cross-culture touch-points’ between their company and their clients (a strategy of relationship cross-fl ow between the opposite number of each of your departments with theirs). Then, even if a person in their company or the client’s departs, all those cross-related departmental links bind the two companies together. Too many companies rely on one person in their or their client’s company and when that person leaves, the client is literally up for grabs. A relationship with multiple ties helps to avoid harming the overall relationship.
Cutting costs is all very well, but profitability is key, and that comes from streamlined, efficient services with a focus on adding value rather than frills; doing what you do really well and doing a lot more of it.
Stop reading the negatives – this will just increase your opportunity for failure. Convert this time into increasing your own knowledge. The market is full of good material on the internet, in books, from speakers and external advisors; ideas and innovation abound. Instead of reading the negative forecasts, invest that time in listening to people who are doing really well. Steal their ideas and adapt them for yourself. Speak with business advisors who see into many different companies and can make valuable suggestions.
If you know there is a market for your product, focus on how you can get more of it and keep it. If you don’t know any better, you’ll create your own success.
Heather Robertson is a partner in Robertson Weekes, who for 18 years has offered a range of business advisory services that solidifies companies and prepares and assists them for growth, development and market competitiveness.
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