By Dr Kudzanai Vere
Entrepreneurship success has its roots deep in originality. Effective entrepreneurship entails effective management. Once you take the entrepreneurship route, there are some imperatives that you need to keep a contact eye on.
For the sake of this article, I have identified seven most important ones where uniqueness needs to be exhibited.
Choosing the right candidate. “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”Jim Collins
Any organization will gradually require additional labor as it grows. At times you start as the director cum employee. As the workload increases, you would eventually need to get into the job market to look for employees.
The quality of people you take on board determines the quality of results that you get. Your organization’s performance is hinged on the caliber of workers you have. “You can’t teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them.”– Arte Nathan. You have to hire for character and often time train for skill.
On organization performance, the famous Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said, “The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people.”
I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person – Jeff Bezos. Most SMEs have a tendency of hiring passersby and at best their friends’ children or that other neighbor. Do they have the relevant skill and expertise needed for that position? Find ballplayers, not those who look good in baseball caps.
From the onset, an organization should establish a robust recruitment policy. It’s a proven fact that 99.9% of upcoming entrepreneurs fall short in this regard.
Choose to be a different entrepreneur by recruiting wisely. While the majority are recruiting the ordinary way, add a professional flair to your recruitment for better results. Be unique in your approach to recruitment and enjoy unique results.
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”
- Product / Service designs
Make something people want and sell that, or be someone people need to sell and sell youRyan Lilly
I recall opening my consultancy firm in a market that already had its giants. For an ordinary mind, this spells a tough time which almost seems insurmountable. Most businesses are saturated already. Should you then choose to sit back and relax? No. The best that you can do is copy what they do, edit and paste. By doing so, you have created a unique product or service.
At times it’s all in the way you dispatch your services i.e. the execution part that spells out the difference. I have seen great workmanship in how some welders are now designing their sliding gates. They are given different styles that make them unique and attractive to the customer. This kind of innovation differentiates your organization from others.
As a retail manager, I used to hire individuals who major in erecting catchy displays in the shop. That alone made my shop unique. Every eye is attracted to good things and that used to set my shop apart. How many times have you said ‘wow’ to the display that you see in major supermarkets? Products are arranged in an amazing manner.
Give your product or service that uniqueness and you’ll be amazed at the results that you get. Always try to find ways of differentiating your products and services from the general masses.
I received this comment from my recent presentation at Monomutapa Hotel in Harare, “I like your storytelling style and the hot testimonies that you gave.” That’s how I chose to make my presentation unique that day.
We often make a big mistake in procuring stocks. We order what we want to sell and not what the customers need. David Ogilvy hinted on this attitude when he said, “Don’t find customers for your products and find products for your customers.”
- Pricing Strategies
Find the right price for an irresistible offer, which, by the way, isn’t necessarily the lower priceW. Chan Kim
Most of the African economies, Zimbabwe included, are undergoing a serious economic challenge that the pricing system is not much to talk about as a cutting edge strategy. Tweaking the price may result in losses for you though under normal circumstances there are pricing strategies that can differentiate your organization from others.
Cost-plus pricing is whereby you simply calculate your costs and add a mark-up. This strategy works better when there is no competition. That is in a monopolistic environment otherwise your products or service will not sell.
Competitive pricing is setting a price based on what the competition charges. This is what is usually applicable though you need to make sure that you’re not pricing below your purchase cost.
Value-based pricing is setting a price based on how much the customer believes what you’re selling is worth. This is mainly done for those classy products for the elite.
Price skimming entails setting a high price and lowering it as the market evolves. In this strategy, a high level of market intelligence is required so that you’re able to read into the market and respond accordingly.
Penetration pricing involves setting a low price to enter a competitive market and raising it later. If you’re new to the market, you need to apply this strategy in order to lure customers.
“You can sell anything if you can tell anything.”Beth Comstock
Selling involves telling your story to the intended recipient. It therefore implies that where there is no communication, there are no sales.
A sale can be defined as a transaction between two parties whereby the other party has a good or a service that is exchanged with the other for money or any other consideration of value. Therefore, sales include operations and activities involved in promoting and selling goods or services.
Sales can also be the total money accumulated in the process of selling. That’s why at times we ask the question, “What’s your daily sales figure?”
Your selling doesn’t have to be as a common process as is the name sales. Build your uniqueness around that process that is difficult to imitate.
In the process, remember the words of Estee Lauder, “If you don’t sell, it’s not the product that’s wrong, it’s you.” It is in how you tell your story that determines your next sale.
What differentiates sellers today is their ability to bring fresh ideas.” – Jill Konrath. You need to keep abreast of new selling strategies in order to win on the sales front.
Sales are what bring life to the organization. You can’t pay overheads without sales. For organizational sustainability and survival, it should be a daily thing. Estée Lauder had this to say on selling, “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”
Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world you are one.”Robert Rose
Marketing brings business to your organization. It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than doubling your traffic – Bryan Eisenberg.
Marketing is the process of getting potential clients or customers interested in your products and services. The process involves researching, promoting, selling and distributing your products or services.
The marketing process is the conduit that links customers with your organization. To me, this type of conduit becomes an integral part of any organization without which there cannot be any activity.
Word of caution from Tim Williams, “Clients don’t care about the labor pains; they want to see the baby.” Once you’ve have attracted customers to your business, deliver. Once you fail on this front, you have missed the mark. Customers will vote with their foot elsewhere.
Strong customer relationships coupled by an excellent delivery system drive sales, sustainability and growth.
“Conversations with customers will create sales, even if the product or service is never mentioned.”George Farris.
- Customer Service
“You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn to enjoy your work.”Laurie Maclntosh
Customer service is the major variable that you have total control over. It’s just like a remote control. You choose which channel to tune into. You have total influence over how you handle your customers. It’s just like the volume nob of your television set. You adjust it by improving the volume to improve on the sound.
Like I said earlier on that as with prices, you can’t do much under the uncertain current economic environment but with customer care, the nob is in your hand.
Customer service is linked to customer care, which is the process of looking after customers to best ensure their satisfaction and delightful interaction with a business and its brand, goods and services.
Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.” Tony Hsieh. Everyone’s lenses in the organization should be customer-focused. Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on customers because they are central to your cause.
Delight your customers. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Strive to make your customers feel at home in your organization that they would always want to deal with you.
Capitalize on customer complaints as they will make you improve on your deliverables. To this Zig Ziglar revealed that statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.
“Happy customers are the biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.”Lisa Masiello
- Continuous Improvement
Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day – Brian Tracy.
The world is ever-rotating, so should your business be in terms of continuous improvement. Change is inevitable, so you need to change at the speed of light in order to survive.
Continuous improvement is born out of creativity which is a fruit of imagination. You imagine the organization that you see yourself in and start to work towards that.
Learning is not compulsory in the words of Deming; it’s voluntary. Improvement is not compulsory; it’s voluntary. But to survive, we must learn. Like food to the soul so is continuous improvement to the business. Every area of your business has to improve.
Persistence, perseverance and continuous improvement are the ingredients for forming a successful business. An American polymath and the founding father of the United State of America, Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.