Starting a business is exhilarating. There is no guarantee it will succeed. In fact, the odds are that your startup will not make it to the five-year mark. However, customer-centric businesses have a better chance of survival.
With customers, a company controls who it wants to be and where it wants to go. When your organisation is customer-centric, what you offer and to who dictates all the moves including:
- expanding into new markets
- adopting new technologies
- acquisitions or mergers
Never assume you know your customers’ needs and wants. The businesses that forge strong relationships with clients and reach out to them to test new offerings grow. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of releasing a unique offering and assume it’s what your customers want without actually testing it first.
Who really loves new software releases? Most people love familiarity and get quite anxious when a software update changes the user interface. Why? Well, we’re all busy, and we don’t want to have to learn how to use an App or system all over again. Only to have mastered the new design, and without notice, there’s another change to it.
Therefore when you have a loyal customer base, be inclusive by offering beta releases to them first. Your customers are your second or third round of user-testers, and they can be rewarded for testing and providing feedback so your business can adapt its offerings to meet its target audience.
Find Your Niche Audience
Locating the right audience for your business requires ongoing customer discovery. It’s easy to make the wrong assumptions about demographics. Google has free marketing tools for customer discovery and measurement. In the first few years of operation, invest in market research. Sales are your top priority, but you also need to know how to penetrate new markets to grow.
Don’t underestimate the power of fellow business owners and entrepreneurs because they are in the same boat or have been in your shoes before too. Listen and learn from them and talk with people from all different industries and areas to see if you’re a fit there with what you have to offer.
The more you sit back and really figure out who you can target and where your niche business fits, you will know exactly who your true audience is. It’s not always what we think either, and if you concentrate all your time on the ones you thought were it, you could be missing out on some great opportunities, or you could be at a standstill with your business.
It happens to us all when you own a business, but you have to learn to adapt. If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll figure it out.
Once you know where your audience is online, your next move is to roll out your marketing strategy.
One initiative that is working well in social media is conversational sales. Using conversation for customer discovery improves your success with meeting the needs of your repeat customers.
Repeat business from satisfied customers is the foundation for your business to expand and reach out to new markets.
Target the wrong people, and you’ve wasted time and money. Lean on your loyal network of followers, fans and customers and your business will remain relevant and desired for many years to come.