One of the most important things when you’re running a business, or even just selling a product, is knowing what your company’s greatest strength is. It’s this that let’s you sell your products and services to customers. It also helps you find the customers you’ll be selling to: find people that need the thing you’re best at, and sell to the, rather than throwing yourself up against the impregnable fortress of people that simply don’t need what you’re selling.
The biggest challenge, and the most important one to face, therefore, is finding out what your company’s greatest strength actually is. You may find the answer surprises you! You might be trying to create an image of high tech expertise, but find what people really see in you is simple reliability or cost effectiveness.
It’s very hard to come to an objective measure of what people see as your best points, especially if you’re responsible for the decisions and spending that have gone into trying to create an image and identity for the company. You’re too close to the question, it’s too personal.
Working with a market research company can help to get you objective answers. They can reach and survey a wider audience than you have access to – not merely regular customers, but one off users of your business and perhaps most importantly, people who do not use your business, to find out why, what they value about you and what turns them away.
This survey process is a brand tracker – tracking the strength of your brand, both over time and against your competitors. Both of these aspects are important: measuring yourself against the competition tells you what they’re doing right but also, crucially, what they’re doing wrong. Avoiding your competitors’ mistakes is one of the most valuable things you can do when you’re starting out in business, a free way to benefit from their years of experience and investment.
When the results begin to come through from your surveys, you can begin to consider what actions to take next. If people value your brand for something you haven’t consciously tried to focus on you have a choice: you can pivot to really embrace what people love about you, which could lead to a boost in sales, even as it prompts a reassessment of your brand. You also have the option of building up the side of your business you want to be known for, and ensuring you can make good on the brand promises you’ve already invested in.