Keeping business hot or not

Kirsten Hawke BUSINESS buddy

As Kiwi summer days send the mercury soaring, it’s a cool time to consider what you are doing to keep your sales hot as.
Wouldn’t you love to be selling ice cream at the beach on a sunny day?
Perhaps you’d rather be watching the kilowatts tick over in your state-of-the-art power station as the load goes on with the nation’s fans and air conditioners doing overtime.

Keeping business hot or not

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Whatever your entrepreneurial dream may be, there are some fundamental business strategies that will help you stay hot when others are not.

1. Get creative

It may feel like everything in the world has already been invented, made, seen, sold and trashed but every day we are confronted by new problems that need fixing.

Right now – packaging is top of mind for manufacturers as the consumer noise continues to get louder with concerns about mountains of plastic waste.

The focus has largely been on fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) but what about the masses of plastic generated in the construction industry?

Shrink wrap around buildings, plastic around and in packets of timber, and even significant plastic casings around a single ceramic tile drill bit.

There’s an opportunity here for someone to develop a creative and genuinely effective solution to a problem that is only starting to be acknowledged.

Customised solutions and unique concepts are finding favour, rather than mass produced, one-size-fits-all products and services.

People can get anything cheaper but something clever, different or scarce is likely to be snapped up by influential people who blaze the trail for bigger target markets. This is so well recognised that being a social media influencer is a career option, now. Approach with caution though because your most important consumers will see through an influencer’s fake interest in a product.

 Mass marketing is boring, uninspired and likely to do little to boost sales.

2.  Do your homework

If you have a truly inspirational idea, work on it until it is a spectacular product or service that will resonate with your important influencers. Check out what Seth Godin, author of The Purple Cow has to say about making things more interesting rather than more average. If being remarkable was easy, we would all be doing it.

Spend some time developing your product or service so your target market loves it. While we are all in the summer spirit let’s have a look at the specialist brand, Dr Feelgood ice pops. The founders recognised there was a lot of noise in the health drink market and by chance – came up with the idea of a frozen treat that is good for us. No one else was doing it and retailers that wanted something cool for their discerning clients – were in. As it turns out, main stream supermarkets now want quirky and non-mainstream products, so Dr Feelgood has found a home in big retail chains that may have ignored them a few years ago.

Importantly, the product tastes great and people can’t get enough of them.

3.  Right place, right time

To be entrepreneurial you can’t live in a vacuum. You need to look at what is going on around you and understand the issues people experience.

Few of us knew we needed a smartphone before they existed but many of us did understand the usefulness of our computers. Imagine if we could take all that technology with us…

The time was right for us to dip our toes into the smart technology and the way we do things was changed – for better or worse.

Smartphone manufacturers got the product to the market and what was once the domain of technological early adopters, could be bought almost anywhere.

However, creating high levels of hoopla around the latest release of new smartphone models seems to draw those die-hard loyal customers like moths to a flame.

The frenzy for midnight releases is also a great way to generate free media publicity. Being the first to have something is important to some people!

4.   Listen to your customers

Sometimes it can seem like great luck that a product takes off overnight, but every successful product or service evolves over time. When most of us stumble across it – there will have been tests, trials, questions, modifications, fails and bounce backs.

Ask your target clients the hard questions and be prepared to listen.

Remember, a successful product will not be an average product. What do you need to do to make your product outstanding?

When people start talking on social media, Google reviews, at the pub, on the boat, in their business network – you want them to be extolling the awesomeness of your product or service.

This means you can create a product that is mid-priced, but perhaps you offer a remarkably consistent product backed up by exceptional service. For example, you may build mid-range houses, but you design great solutions for your client’s budget, and you stick to the budget. If you start on time, build a quality home, finish on time and respond promptly to any follow up queries – you are on your way to being remarkable. Leave a bunch of flowers and bottle of bubbly for the new homeowners, and you’re probably doing a lot better than your competition.

Listen to what your influential VIP customers want and meet their needs. Other clients are more likely to follow their lead and trust their judgement.

5. Prepare for the unpredictable 

We don’t know what we don’t know and every entrepreneur experiences failures or unexpected outcomes – some of them good.

How would you handle:

·         Exponential sales growth?

·         A dramatic shift in exchange rates?

·         Death of a family member?

·         The resignation of a key staff member?

·         Being recommended by an All Black without even paying them?!?!

You need a plan on how to handle the unexpected and the best way is to implement good systems and structures.

It is impossible to plan for everything and business resilience will come from talking with a mentor or advisor who shares your vision, pain and enthusiasm. No one needs to wander the path of entrepreneurism without a buddy by their side.

If you want to be hot well beyond the summer months -take a moment to review what you are doing and how you could be more remarkable.

Go on – do it.

Kirsten Hawke BUSINESS buddy