The second in a series of blog posts.
Small businesses are often formed because the owner has a good new idea. If the idea has legs, then the business grows to a reasonable but fixed level of income, then begins to flatten out. From the very beginning of sales, the business owner must determine those few decision factors that will define success. Business owners often misread or ignore the causal factors that were the basis for their early success.
In the early stage of starting a business, you, the business owner, must do the following:
- Clearly identify why your customers buy from you and then transform that understanding into a value proposition monetized. Decide what price to charge to provide this value.
- Identify whether all of your customers buy for the same reasons. If not, then capture those learnings into different value propositions. Begin to recognize customer segments and how each values your offering. Tailor your offering for the different segments. Decide if and how you want to serve each segment identified.
- Define your competition, how your competitors’ value propositions are different from yours, and how those differences impact your customer segments. Monetize that difference to the extent that you can and then decide how you want to address competitors’ actions.
- Understand your downstream markets, and assess the dynamics that could cause your customers’ business to grow or decline. Determine if you can make a contribution to address these dynamics, and begin the process of acting on that. Decide how to best reach additional markets.
- At some early point, determine if your product has sufficient potential to become a brand and, if so, decide how to take steps to transform your product into a brand. Early branding is better and easier. Birthing a brand requires several steps beyond selling a product.
- Given what you have learned from the above fact-based decisions, the next growth challenge is to decide how you consider new products/offerings to accelerate your business growth.
The attention to these activities and the decisions you make as a result of processing them will become the bases for ongoing growth, new revenues, and increasing competitive strength, which increase the odds of long-term success.
If you want to discuss any of these elements, leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the first blog post in this series: Market-Driven Innovation: The Small Business Conundrum
Read the Other Articles in This Series
Only half of small businesses survive more than five years, and further decays continue over time. The reasons are similar to those that cause mid-level and large firms to stagnate. But the small business has one advantage.
It is critical for small businesses to establish an operational growth plan. Identify the factors that lead to growth, the factors that prevent growth, and how potential markets fit into those factors.
Innovating is the hardest of the 5 critical drivers of business success, but it’s also the most crucial. Your business will not continue to grow without innovation.
Most business leaders believe they must organize around functions. In doing so, they create silos that kill market innovation creativity.
How does the small business simplify work processes without the advantages of a larger business?
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