When running a business, it’s all too easy to get ahead of yourself. New opportunities to expand your company, offer extra services or add to your current product range can all be profitable ventures, but is your business really ready for them?
Before you go seeking to expand, take a step back and assess whether your business is actually playing to its strengths. Identifying and building on what your business already does well is key to capturing a share of the market, not to mention providing a strong platform for future growth. So, instead of getting caught up in trying to be all things to all men, take this opportunity to refocus your business by utilising its best assets.
Identifying your strengths
First things first, you need to identify what sets your business apart from the competition. You should be able to pinpoint an aspect of your business that performs really well – a quality which gives you a competitive advantage. This could be a whole range of different factors, from exceptional customer service to speed of delivery.
Once you’ve found your unique selling point (USP), think about whether you’re offering something that’s required by your target market. As highlighted by Alex Ikonn, founder of Luxy Hair, an extremely successful online store selling hair extensions for women, understanding your audience is an essential part of developing your business:
“Start thinking about others and how you can bring value into their lives and help them solve their problems.”
Once you’ve identified how you can use your USP to deliver a service that truly benefits your customers, you can begin to remodel your business plan with a clear focus.
Ensuring your strengths are at the core of your business plan
Knowing what your strengths are is one thing, but you also need the courage to change your current business plan if it’s not centred around your USP. Scattered resources can lead to inefficiencies, resulting in wasted time and ultimately, wasted money. Work out how you can further invest in improving your current strengths before you try developing added extras.
As well as enhancing your USP, you need to focus on your product/market fit. A term first coined by Marc Andreessen, an American entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley and famous for developing web browsers, he explains:
“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.”
If you don’t think you’ve achieved this straight away, you may need to sit back and reassess your business strategy. Would you be better off altering your product slightly or changing your target market? Once you’ve found your perfect fit, you can start to address the best ways to access this audience.
Instead of trying to reach a wide range of people via a number of different mediums, try and identify which channel will help you access a niche group who are most likely to engage with your product. By realigning your resources into one channel, you’re likely to see an uplift in quality engagement.
Knowing when to say no
When the prospect of a new client comes along, many of us jump at the chance to land ourselves more business. We all know extra business equals more revenue, higher profits and future growth, but does it? Well, only if you’ve got the resources to support it. A situation that many small businesses often find themselves in is being caught up in the murky cycle of overtrading.
If you think a business deal is going to put too much strain on your finances, create cash flow problems or simply isn’t a good fit for your business, it’s okay to say no once in a while. As Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos, an online US fashion retailer, points out:
“Remember: you’ll have opportunities to grow revenue and extend the brand later. As our former CFO Byran Wolff loved to remind me: ‘Money runs out faster than opportunities.’
“Make one thing great. Get one thing right.”
Finding that one thing that makes your business great can be a tricky process, but once you’ve found it, you’re far more likely to find success as well.
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While you’re realigning your business, why not keep things simple with your savings as well? Take a look at our straightforward and rewarding business savings accounts designed to help your money work harder.
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