Everyone loves a good story. But how can you use this to your advantage when talking to your prospects and customers? While you should use every opportunity to tell your story, what do you say? Here are some points to keep in mind when you are offered the opportunity to talk about who you are:
1. What is unique about your business?
What do you offer that is different from anyone else? Is the product, the business’s history, its staff make-up? Look at the advertising and online posting you have been doing, and find out what you have been discussing. The sum of your articles comes to represent your industry expertise, the way you wish to portray it.
2. What is interesting about how your company was founded?
What did you find out before founding the company, and what false starts did you endure, before finding its current form and methods. This is your chance to show you are the same as others, but also offers you the opportunity to show how you found a ‘twist’ in the marketplace that no-one else did.
3. What problem are you trying to solve?
As a Marketer, I ask the same questions of my prospects every time we start a conversation. This gives me a real path to their pain, and how I can solve it. However, you can tell just as much through questions as you can through answers. Showing how you operate will interest others and show your uniqueness:
How can they gain visibility in the marketplace?
How can they grow their relevant audience relevant to their business?
Where can I establish my professional expertise by writing about my company online?
Where can I tap into an international audience?
Where can I have a discussion with people who relate to my profession to show my capabilities?
Where can I make meaningful professional connections, and help establish my brand?
How do you do what you do differently than others to get to the result they want?
4. What inspired your business?
Was it a problem that you saw in other companies, over and over again? Was it something that you were interested in that you wanted to expand? Was there an obvious (or un-obvious.) reason for this that no-one else was seeing?
These points will get you started on a list of subjects. From it, a whole raft of memories will prompt further stories of your company’s growth, challenges faced, and problems solved. Each of these help to gradually complete the picture of ‘The Story of your Company’, and then you will be able to help others. Who wouldn’t want a business guru in their field of expertise, giving them advice? This is the point from which you should start in your efforts – to help others. It is only from there that you will be trusted, followed, and – as a by-product – you will expand your customer and prospect base.
This is the question that we hear most of the time. Our previous posts show the avenues you need to pursue before you even start – like have a unique business proposal, rather than do it to make money. If you are ‘in the middle of it’, however, how do you turn the ship around? A recent set of studies in a huge marketplace for small and medium sized enterprise businesses (OK, it’s the USA), show why businesses fail. The answers are remarkably simple, along with why others have done well. Can you change what you are doing for the better? The answers may as well be simple, too.
Invest for the future: Why did you start doing this? What is your ling term plan? Are you ready for it? It’s not a cost, it’s an investment. If you don’t need it for this plan, and this plan alone, don’t do it.
Risk: You can’t avoid it. If you do, you will fail. Ensure that you are ready for it, and combat risk with information. There is always risk, but any negative effects can be reduced by planning.
Hiring: Get a trustworthy accountant, they can save you money. Your website needs to be better than anyone else’s out there, and only a professional can do it – not someone cheap, someone good. Include some copywriting skills to that, too. These words are going to be seen by everyone, prospects, customers, professional contacts, everyone. It is worth paying a lot for being seen as the best out there. Get a professional logo, too. Are they the same people? You are lucky. If not – pay someone to do it. Lawyer: Only the best can stop you doing the wrong thing, warn you of what is about to happen, and let you know how to fire-wall yourself from the future.
Purchasing: Get insurance from a trustworthy source. You need it.
Hardware and Software: get the best, pay more for it, and include all of the security features and future upgrades you possibly can. If your business is going to rely on the net, or on an interface between your communities and your business, this is a must.
This is not ‘spending money’, it is ‘investment’. Get this right, and you are already better placed than 80% of all start-ups, anywhere. If you are “saving Money and staying away from Risk” you are killing your business. The ones that are doing well are sure of their businesses’ basics, and know they have to pay for that base. In other words, if you spend well and wisely, and take the leap to new products, markets, and business decisions on an ongoing basis, your business will be better placed to weather all kinds of storms. Of course, your natural excitement and confident knowledge also goes a long way to making your business a success.