Its interesting to note that in the modern day Zimbabwean context we talk of having moved from the selling concept where products were bought and pushed to the client. Today we state that as business people we have moved on to the marketing concept where the needs of the client are evaluated and a product / service is tailored to meet the client’s unique needs. Sometimes I wonder if this rings true in the minds of small business owners and big conglomerates alike.
In a world where borders are now meaningless in a sense clients are no longer looking at products and services as commodities but, brands that offer them value and maximum utility. One would then want to define what value is to the client before entering into any form of business. In many instances as business owners we get it wrong at the preliminary stages of establishing an enterprise. We do not zero in on the following
- Who is our potential customer?
- What are their unique need?
- How often do they use the product/service?
- Who are our competitors?
- What are they offering?
- How can we serve our customers better?
Once having established these basic guidelines come up with a prototype and ask the customer if they would be interested in the product at all before proceeding. This is a low cost and valuable intelligence gathering effort which can save one tonnes of money. The approach of most of us small business owners is to just copy or jump into a venture without evaluating if the product or service is attractive to the client and in the end small businesses fail.
It is critical as a businessperson to have an inherent understanding of what clients need and to tailor your products to meet their needs. The ability to respond to client needs by companies Virgin Airlines and Nyaradzo Funeral services has enabled them to tailor unique service packages suited to their clientele base.
As small business people it is wise to be able to sit down and apply these simple elements and see their business flourish. A business must have a clear brand positioning that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. Don’t just go to Zambia and buy material for African attire because someone else is doing it. Sit down and plan, research and find the business that suits you and your aptitude. Create a brand,a product, a service that is distinctive and will stand the test of time but at the same time be adaptable. In the next article we will look deeper into branding and its value to a business. Until next time, ciao.
Main Image: Gartner Inc