Most business owners started their business because they have a passion for their product or service, or they believed that it had a great potential for profit. The wine making industry is a great example of this as I know several people who knew nothing about making wine before they got into business, but did it because it is booming.
So why did you start your business? Were you passionate about your product or service? Did you see a great profit in it? Or both?
Now that you have your business going, the smart business owner is always asking, “How can I make my product or service better?”
No matter what product or service you sell, making it better and continually improving it is a constant. It never ends, not if you want to stay ahead of your competition. In trying to get a handle on developing and improving your product or service, here are some questions you should ask.
What is the singular value of your product or service?
By determining the most important value, you can then determine the best strategy for marketing that product or service. Benefit marketing helps customers understand how you can improve their lives. It’s not just about telling them how great your product is, but how your product can actually solve a problem for them in a way that no other product can.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner states “Above all else, great products have a clearly defined sense of purpose, deliver value in a singularly focused way, and do so as well or better than any other product in the marketplace”.
Who is your potential audience? How does my product or service fulfill their needs or wants? Does geography impact the potential size of the audience?
Being the owner of a digital marketing agency, I know my audience is limited to businesses trying to promote a brand image, while retail owners or insurance agencies have the potential for a much wider audience to have interest in their products or services. Understanding your target audience can help you improve keywords you use to describe your product, ways you describe the benefits of your product and can help you create personas around who is using it.
What makes your product unique?
How does it differ from your competitors? Customer service, being honest and differentiating yourself from your competitors are just a few. Take the unique aspects of your business and put them at the forefront and show your audience the benefits they provide beyond any other business. Check out our blog 5 Ways To Make Your Brand Stand Out to learn more.
What’s your customers’ experience?
I was recently at a small business development conference and the speaker asked the question, “Raise your hand if you think customer service is the most important thing to consumers today?” Naturally just about everyone in the room raised their hand, then said, “Put your hands down because you are all wrong.”. He went on to explain that consumers don’t want to be serviced, they want to have a “great experience”, they want to have their “expectations exceeded”.
Consider your customers experience with your product and the buying journey you take them on – is it effective?
Is word of mouth driving sales?
Considered the oldest and best advertising there is, and it still rings true today. There’s an old salesman’s saying that goes, “They like you. They trust you. They buy from you.”. People are much more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family, rather than a business. When you create trust and satisfaction, your customers are more likely to recommend you. When they do, and often times you see this on Facebook “Where can I find someone who does ……” and you get mentioned, then you have eliminated the first two steps and they go right to the “buy from you” stage.
We live in a far different business world then just 20 years ago. Because of the internet and apps your competition is not just down the street or on the other side of town anymore, it’s across the country and sometimes on the other side of the world. Don’t lose sight of your product or service – keep refining it, testing new ideas and offerings, and gearing your marketing towards your ultimate value.
“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky, co-founder Behance