Why is it that we wait until our car stops on the highway and causes a 4 car pile up to realize we should start getting our oil changed regularly?
Every prosperous decision shouldn’t require a lesson from the school of Hard Knocks. The truth is, we often ignore the seemingly effortless processes, marketing, customer base and product components that make our business successful. The bells and whistles may make people look your way, but there are a lot of inconspicuous things that go into running and marketing your business that can make or break you.
Two things are a MUST for the entirety of your business: Evaluation and Comparison. You must evaluate your business and establish controls to understand what’s working, why it’s working and what it effects. You must constantly compare your business to others to understand where your company and products are positioned among competitors- this will help you understand the value you can offer customers. What should you be looking for specifically? Whatever is working for you. I’ve listed some examples below of major do’s and don’ts when evaluating and comparing your business/products.
Do: Do create “Champions” and “controls” for all of your marketing and processes, these things should be the What Works representative for your marketing and processes. (Evaluation)
Don’t: Don’t change your entire Champion or control at once, because you’ll lose understanding of which changed actually caused the difference or indifference in results. This is where testing comes in handy, don’t move too fast and make sure you have just cause for changing anything and monitor is closely. If it works out well, great.. maybe you’re ready to test another component, but if it doesn’t, you know exactly what to do. (Evaluation)
Do: Do have a great understanding of your competitors, the target audience, their reaction to your competitors’ products and the value that your competitors’ offer. This will help you understand how similar and different you are and provide great direction on how you should position your marketing. Great positioning = Great competitive advantage… Always go for the advantage, and start with YOU! You have something to offer and either how you do it, service it, market it, make it, etc. is usually specific to your person/business, which no one can do as well as you. (Comparison)
Don’t: Don’t be a copy cat. Understanding your competitors to become your competitors is foul play and won’t get you far. Why would a customer need you if they can go with the proven, more well-known business (unless your entire competitive advantage is “I’m cheaper”, which works for some products). Trying to recreate some number-one-company’s wheel is a waste of time, now if you want to observe their wheel and determine how your company can improve upon it, well… that’s just smart business. (Comparison)
Like my doctor says, “Don’t wait until your pain gets to a 10 before you take your medicine!”. Use evaluation and comparison as your prevention methods → It will save you time, money and unnecessary failures in the long run.