Business success takes many different elements combining together to create just the right mix of vision, purpose, product and customer satisfaction. While there are many factors that businesses cite as being essential to creating success, here are five that must be on every organization’s list.
The features, uniqueness and benefits of your business are what differentiate you from your competitors. Donald Neubaum, College of Business Associate Dean for Research at Oregon State University, states that businesses must continue to offer value to customers over the long-term, assuring that their offering is unique and something that the competitors can’t provide. Many of these unique advantages, also known as “value drivers”, include constants like reputation and cost control, along with market specific characteristics like taste or innovation.
As an example, technology companies must have a core product or “know how” that solves a customer problem. Key value/profitability drivers for tech companies include: highly skilled workers, quality and cost control, and research and development. How can you determine what counts as a value driver for your meetings and events business? Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to help you identify your business’ most important aspects.
In recent times, success requires a singular focus. Robert Goizueta, the former CEO of Coca Cola, once said, “In real estate it is location, location, location. In business it’s differentiate, differentiate, differentiate.” The key to your company’s success, especially in tough economic times, is to distinguish your enterprise in such a way that it stands out in the minds of the customers and causes them to want your products over that of your competitors. Maybe your services come with a money back guarantee, or you offer more variety or creative services than competitors. Hone in on these qualities. They’re known as your unique selling points and are what will differentiate your services from others on the market.
Consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every single day. Your goal is to get customers to see and remember your brand through the confusion. Continually remind them that your business will solve their problems with creative, relevant and useful messaging. There are several ways to boost your visibility, including:
- building an interactive website,
- participating in social media channels,
- showcasing your expertise in articles, papers and books,
- getting involved in charity efforts, and
- creating marketing campaigns on and offline.
However, each of these methods must take an extremely focused approach by concentrating on attracting your specific market instead of appealing to the masses.
Remember that showing personality can still be professional. A genuine, vibrant, personal approach engages customers and helps shed light on your business’ passions and individual character. However, when companies present themselves to the marketplace with a cool, impassive façade, they do little to excite, define and embrace what makes their business different from their competitors. Find out why your repeat clients continue to do business with you and nurture these traits to set you apart from more corporate and stoic competitors.
It is important to show people that your company is human. General Electric has Pinterest boards named “Mind = Blown” and “Badass Machines” that give their company some character. Companies like Geico and Allstate deliver humorous and clever advertising campaigns with mascots like the Caveman and Mayhem. These are several examples of giving your business a little personality.
Questions like “what do I want to be known for,” “what does success look like for this company” and “what do I want people to say about my business” can help your company create your vision for success. By answering these and similar questions, you’ll gain insight into what you consider success. Planning also plays a huge role in a company’s vision and direction regarding what comes next. Without clear-cut goals, defining customer needs becomes difficult and the ability to adapt can suffer. Similarly, if your team members don’t understand either your vision or your plans, long-term success is very hard to achieve. When everyone believes in the plan and buys into your vision, you’ll have a much greater chance for success.