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Do you have a competitive product offer? If you offer a service, does your business stand out above other competitors in the marketplace? In this section of the business planning process you will learn how to get very clear about what it is that you are selling.
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In this section your primary goal is to describe in vivid detail what product or service you are offering to your target market and why they will be drawn to your unique service or competitive product offer.
For example, rather than simply listing your product line of 10+ different products or services, explain how your target customer will prefer your product or service over other providers. To win in the marketplace, you must distinguish yourself in the marketplace.
You can distinguish your product or service in a variety of ways. For instance, you can offer the lowest price; you can provide a higher level of service; you can provide higher quality; or, you use new technology and become a trailblazer in your industry.
Focus your comments on the key points that you feel provide a distinct advantage in the marketplace.
"Understand that your name is firmly stamped on every product and point of service that occurs in the business."
Don't just talk from a high level view. Get into the details about your competitive product offer, or service, and explain why you offer a greater value. Define what makes your product or service uniquely qualified to attract new customers away from existing providers? In addition, define precisely by demographics who is your target customer.
Explain what is included in your product or service. How did you decided on what will be included in your competitive product offer? Can you adjust the offer as needed to address future changes in the market?
Are your suppliers or manufacturers reliable? How quickly is the product made once an order is placed? How will inventory be secured/protected? We'll discuss business resources such as suppliers and manufacturers later in the course, but first check out the next section where we'll discuss more about standing out as a service provider.
Your product is - the product. It is what it is at any given point in time. A product is defined by a certain set of product features, and that same product provides a specific set of benefits to those who choose to buy it.
Of course, your product can change. Your product can be improved. It can evolve over time and meet additional needs. But for now, your product is what it is. It does what it does.
However, your level of service can be better or worse with every single customer encounter. Your staff can be polite or rude. They can deliver the product on time, or arrive late. They can over-deliver or under-deliver the intended customer experience in the mind of the customer. Your employees can service customers consistently, or inconsistently.
Each of the above scenarios can create additional risk to your business. Or, if you're an optimist, you'll see failed service attempts as an opportunity to continually get better. In other words, negative customer feedback can provide valuable insight on how to improve service delivery.
So, if your business provides a service, you must stay close to your customers. Use customers feedback surveys to gain timely feedback and measure how well your business is delivering to service expectations. Make sure your customers are consistently satisfied, or they'll migrate to a competitor who will.
What are your plans to ensure that your business consistently delivers an outstanding customer experience? How will you teach and coach employees to deliver service to their customers? How do you monitor quality of service? How will customer complaints be addressed? Will you ask for customer feedback on a regular basis? If so, how will this be done? Explain this in detail in this section of the business plan.
- Oren Harari
Winning People’s Confidence
The art of gaining people’s confidence quickly and retaining it provides a major advantage to the business person seeking to move forward in a career. Not everyone possesses this highly valuable trait. In fact, the majority of people unknowingly erect barriers that get in the way of acquiring the skill of gaining others trust.
By having a disagreeable manner, lack of tact or diplomacy, or just an unpleasant personality; many frequently repel and antagonize those whom they are anxious to please.
Many people have to work extra hard to overcome the disadvantage of presenting a poor first impression. In contrast, others without much effort at all tend to charm everyone they meet. Success is often granted more on one’s engaging manner and attractive personality that to a great ability or talent.
"A man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts."
- Harold Macmillan
The first step to cultivate a more pleasing disposition is to see yourself the way others see you. Be aware of the tone of your wording when you write; the manner that you greet people and your instinct to smile when you are approached.
A genuine smiling face will do more to gain the trust of others than all other virtues. Multiply this asset by hiring good people and teaching them to do the same with every single customer.
Be generous in your sympathy and try to be at least as much interested in the joys and sorrows of others as you would wish them to be in yours.
Treat people as trusted friends to the extent you can do so without coming across as insincere. Your trust in others will cause them to be more open to trusting you more quickly.
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