Starting a business is exciting: you call the shots, you can pick the people you work with and your dreams are finally in your own hands. Many small businesses, however, struggle to flourish – but fear not! You can start your business like a seasoned pro by answering these important questions.
What’s Your Market Differentiator?
You have to look no further than Domino’s Pizza for brilliant market differentiation. Focusing on getting pizza to your house faster (Domino’s invented 30 minutes or less), as well as ignoring the dine-in experience, the fast food company started a ‘follow the leader’ industry march, which changed the game forever. Does anyone go out to eat pizza any more?
Domino’s continues to stay on pizza’s cutting edge, but what’s your business going to be known for? How does it change the game? Differentiation comes in many forms, but the three biggest areas are customer experience, innovation and specialisation. Are you going to instil customer loyalty through top-tier service, or disrupt your market with new technology? It’s up to you.
What’s Your Pricing Strategy?
Big, blue-chip brands, such as Apple and Starbucks, charge more than the standard rate because they have the luxury of large marketing budgets, which positions them as unique and valuable. But getting pricing right doesn’t mean you need a multimillion-dollar marketing budget, you just need to ask yourself a few simple questions, such as:
- What is the customer prepared to pay? (Do some market research.)
- What is the total cost of providing your product or service?
- What is the demand and lifecycle of your product?
This should help you strike the best balance between profit and scaring customers away, but other things you can use to modify your price include: incentivising large purchases through quantity discounts, seasonal adjustments (Easter eggs are more expensive right before the holiday!) and reducing the required maintenance during the lifecycle of your product or service.
What Will Produce Big Results on Your Small Marketing Budget?
SEO: Cost-effective and proven, SEO helps you rank your website higher on Google results. Unsure of how to make it work? There are plenty of SEO tools, such as Yoast, that can get you started.
Social media: Don’t just spam social media with your business’s profile. Target an audience and put out content relevant to the platform, consistent with your brand’s messaging and that is engaging.
Create content: You could start a blog or directly engage with your social media audience. Content marketing is the new ‘it’ thing, and helps foster loyalty and engagement between you and your customers.
How Will You Keep Track of Accounts?
As a small business owner, it’s likely you’ll be handling accounts by yourself – so it’s vital you get some accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online, to help you. Here are some things to consider when making a purchase:
- Does the platform calculate all payroll requirements (PAYE, annual leave, long-service leave, etc.)?
- Will the system handle multiple bank accounts?
- Does the software interface with other platforms, such as online payments?
- Does the company track or integrate with customer relationship platforms?