Business Strategy and Delivering Unique Value Proposition

As I mentioned in my previous article, “Are You Ignoring a Bad Business Strategy?,” your business strategy is a determining factor in whether your sales “will” or “will not” grow faster than your competition’s. Two key questions you need to ask annually as part of your strategic planning discussion are:

  1. Does your business strategy encompass a clear value proposition that would be considered an “unusual offering” and is critical in your target client’s buying decision?
  2. Are you delivering on the promises embedded in that offering?

The answers to those questions may be the primary reasons your sales force is not achieving their quotas.

Unique Value Proposition

A key to the growth of your business is your ability to develop a business strategy that includes an unusual or unique value proposition, and becoming the best in the world at delivering on the promises in that value proposition. While every business owner recognizes the importance of “unusual offering” in helping a small business grow, many do not have one of their own. Many confuse “unusual offering” with marketing and positioning. A common mistake many owners make is to create their marketing before they really develop an “unusual offering.” Worse, some develop an “unusual offering” on paper that they cannot back up through operations. It should work in reverse. Once you develop and master your unusual offering, your target clients will easily choose you over your competition. Then you can create marketing campaigns that make it easy for people to notice you, and have salespeople that can convert the core clients as they walk into the sales process.

So How Do You Create An Unusual Offering?

In order to get your business strategy right, your unusual offering may not need to be a dramatic change from your current offering. You may already have an unusual offering that you have not isolated. You want a good bundle or aggregation of products and services that help solve clients’ needs in a special way that totally fits their situation. You may have the same mix of elements as your competition, but you can combine them differently or decide to add or subtract items from your offering in untraditional ways. You should also consider what your potential clients’ options are when configuring your bundle.

Elements That Add Value To An Unusual Offering

Depending on your core client and the options available to them, you need to consider how the following elements add value to your unusual offering:

  • Price  What is their total cost today? Do they know what their total cost is? What would additional features, benefits, or services be worth to your prospect in terms of time, value to their clients, the growth of their business, reducing their stress, etc.? If you added new features, services, and benefits would they pay more for it, or would you just be increasing your cost of doing business?
  • Cost/Risk Reduction  How can you modify your offering in a way that can substantially reduce client costs? How can the design of your product or service reduce risk for your client?
  • Trends  What industry-wide trends are occurring technologically, economically, and environmentally that call for a new advancement in how your product or service is sold, delivered, distributed or marketed?
  • Performance  What performance enhancement to your product or service is most valuable to your client? Would your client pay more for this enhancement? Would you lose clients to a competitor that made the enhancement while you did not? Is this enhancement necessary to keep up with minimum expectations? At what point does the performance improvement no longer make a difference in the client’s buying patterns?
  • Customization  To what extent does customization to a product or service significantly enhance value?
  • Design  To what extent does design make a difference in the usability of your product or service? Can design make your product more appealing or usable?
  • Brand/Status  To what extent does brand or status influence the buyer?
  • Accessible  Is there a way that you can make your offering more accessible to your target client?

Activate Group Inc. helps business owners all throughout the United States create unique value propositions and perfect the way in which the value is delivered. We can maximize your team’s business strategy. Contact us for a free consultation to learn how Business Coaching can help your organization, or check out the testimonials page for stories from other leaders we have coached.

Business Strategy Based on Knowledge Instead of Belief

Is your business strategy based on knowledge instead of belief? If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are not collecting enough external data when making your business decisions – and it will cost you millions over your lifetime. It may even cost you your business.

“Why?” you might ask. The answer is that too often we make decisions based on “belief” instead of “knowledge.” There is a very important distinction between knowledge vs. belief.

Knowledge vs. Belief

Knowledge is indisputable “fact”. Belief is your opinion about what result any given course of action will produce, and much of what you believe about your business many times is wrong.

Are you acting on facts that are no longer valid, or on beliefs that you have held for a long period of time despite contrary evidence all around? In my experience as a business coach, you probably are. Worse, when people present you with facts, you may be doing everything you can to hold onto your erroneous beliefs by finding any random inconclusive data to support them.

Communicating With External Sources

I spend more than 100 days per year conducting planning sessions. I watch leaders make decisions without collecting data from customers, prospects, or past customers. Even when they have collected data, they are not looking at and analyzing that data. Many times they are looking only for data that supports their existing opinions. Often the data they collect does not help them with their decisions because there isn’t enough, or what they have is anecdotal or too generic.

Are you collecting information on a weekly basis about people that have chosen not to do business with you, people that are customers, and people that you want to have as customers to really analyze why you lost customers? You will notice I chose “people” and not businesses, clients, customers, or any other word. You do business with people. They have needs, wants, problems, concerns, opinions, challenges, biases, etc.

The world is constantly changing, so these factors are always shifting, thus causing the need to continually collect the information to keep your offering competitive and relevant. Failure to do so results in business strategy based on “belief” instead of “knowledge.”

Start Improving Your Business Strategy With Customers

The obvious place to start is with your customers. You are probably thinking, “I know my customers” because you do business with them every day. It is a common mistake to confuse a system for collecting information with daily exchanges. Without a systematic process you will fail!

In your daily exchanges, you are concerned with delivering your product or service, and the customer is focused on receiving it. At best, you get anecdotal information and only focus on problems and challenges. During daily exchanges, your front-line staff is not thinking about the company’s business strategy or worrying about what data you need for making future business decisions. In many cases, a staff member who receives what could be useful information may filter it or not report it at all.

Collecting Unfiltered Information From Your Customers

Collecting unfiltered information from your customers should be a priority for every company. This is usually easier than you think, and the only reason it has not happened is that you have not made it a key priority. Benefits you can expect:

  1. Identify reasons to charge existing customers more for existing products and services.
  2. Identify new products and services to offer.
  3. Increase retention of customers that you did not know were at risk.
  4. Turn existing customers into a referral engine.
  5. Strategize based on knowledge instead of belief.

Customer Feedback

A great historical example of how this can work for you is when IBM had its top 200 managers talk to 5 customers and employees every week and review the information every Friday. This was an incredibly simple way to collect live market data weekly and then share it with key leaders in IBM. It helped increase sales, overcome customer roadblocks, and also added energy to the teams.

Questions to Ask Customers

We recommend you and each leader on the leadership team have at least one conversation each week with a key customer. We have found these four questions will provide you will a wealth of information:

  1. How are you doing?
  2. What’s going on in your industry?
  3. What do you hear about our competition?
  4. How are we doing?
  5. (Bonus Question… when appropriate) Do you know of anyone else that would like to be as happy as you are?

Need help improving your business strategy?

We can maximize your team’s business strategy. Contact us for a FREE consultation to learn how Business Coaching can help your organization.