Merchant Cash Advances – Finding Your Business Secret Weapon
The vast majority of small business owners made the investment of time and savings to escape the 9-5 grind and find independence – and to operate their company the way they see fit. One trap that some fall into is deciding that they know how to do everything well – and trying to do everything themselves. This might have worked a few decades ago, when you could hang out a shingle and open a business and rely on the brick-and-mortar customers. However, the growth of the Internet has made supply chains shorter and physical presence less necessary than ever (depending on your industry). It also means that competition has multiplied significantly. No matter what your business or your niche, you likely have competition that is outperforming you in one or more of the areas of service, price and assortment.
So no matter how innovative your product or service is, you need a specific strategy for marketing and running your business. Finding and sticking with that strategy boosts value to your products and makes them stand out from the competition in a way that your niche will notice and reward.
Figuring out this strategy is one of the main factors differentiating businesses that succeed from those who do not. Successful businesses have figured out their target destination – and the pathway there. The other businesses have not yet put that plan together, and so they do not achieve their goals. They are not necessarily incompetent, but they end up being average in everything – so they never stand out. Customers might visit them and buy something, but they don’t come back, and they don’t recommend them to others.
This means that you need to design your “secret weapon” – your strategic plan – with the needs of your niche in mind. What if you run a furniture boutique? Your “secret weapon” could be the fact that you enjoy using mosaic work to make custom tops for your tables. You could offer customers tables that are unique works of art that they could put in their back yards or in their living rooms. They could incorporate pictures of loved ones or they could be based on a completely custom design. This helps the client satisfy his “apparent need” (which is a table) and a “deeper need” (a unique table). Your store can deliver both – so you are going to build a business, just as long as you can get the word out to enough customers.
So how can you put a strategic plan into words? Here is one way to get your philosophy down on paper, and once you have that, you can craft specific steps for your own product or service.
“My shop will offer competitive pricing in the market without sinking to the big-box discount store level. Through visiting my competitors frequently, I will keep my prices at 20% above the lowest price – or less.”
“My inventory will always have basic items in stock, and I will carry the products that my customers find important.”
“I will provide service that goes above and beyond the competition in order to build a committed client base. This means that I will know more about my products than the competition, provide an engaging in-store experience, offer service after the sale, deliver for free and develop a returns policy that puts the customer first.”
Those three areas – price, assortment and service – are the three pillars of any successful business. If you are opening a business in the niche where you live (selling sports memorabilia when you are already a baseball card collector, for example), then you already know the needs of much of your client base. However, if you are entering a niche that is new to you, you have to visit blogs and go to trade shows in your industry to see what customers really need – and how you can get the word about your business out to them.
Doing this research will help you determine whether there are enough customers within your market range who need the product that you have and the experience that your operational strategy can provide. If it were easy to make a business unique, then everyone could do it. If you put in the work, though, the niche can be yours.