There’s a New Zealand online business I came across the other day, which may as well have had a photo of me pinned to their mood board when they conceptualised it.
From the moment I spotted an ad for it on another blog, to the moment I followed them on their Facebook page.
I loved the products, loved the design. Recommended it to friends who I knew would love it too. One of my friends bought something from the store the day I told her about it.
I attribute the success of this small business to brilliant positioning and to thinking like a bigger company from Day One.
I’m pretty certain that that particular business is a one or two-man shop run from home. But the way the company looks and every part of its brand, communicates something much larger.
If the underlying parts of the business are equally strong, this company is destined for bigger and better things.
Have you come across companies like this? Perhaps you’re one of them.
I talk to a lot of company owners who aren’t sure why their business is stagnating or why market share is shrinking. They think they deserve to be much further ahead than they are given the years and effort they’ve put in.
Usually my meeting with them is precipitated by larger questions.
Like, suddenly they think it’d be pretty damn great to sell up and move to the Bahamas. Or they’re facing an opportunity to merge with or acquire another business. Maybe a new market segment has presented itself and the business needs to readdress whether, in its current state, it has any appeal to that market.
As soon as decisions like these crop up, once lawyers, accountants and valuation experts get involved, the companies with the greatest chance of success are those that “thought big” from the outset. They saw themselves as “a brand” from inception and never as the little guy finding his way in the world.
Having a small or medium sized business and introducing even a little of what the world-class brands do, makes a vast difference.
Try starting 2012 with these business resolutions:
- Market research: Engage someone independent to have in depth conversations with your competitors and clients (old and new). Seek honest feedback about your business and how it compares to competitors. Being independent and anonymous makes people more honest.
- Define positioning: Set yourself the goal of distilling your business to three core words. Avoid the clichés: “We deliver trust, integrity, innovation.” Yawn. So does everyone else. Would your customers use those same words to define you?
- Internal consistency: does everyone who works for you, staff or suppliers, reinforce that positioning? If not, then they either don’t buy into your positioning or they haven’t been sold the story well.
- Marketing and communications: Do all the parts of your business also reinforce your unique offering to the world? Once you define your business succinctly and uniquely, the right marketing channels become evident.
- Tracking: If you do want to sell your business one day or to make sure you’re on the right track, you should literally track. Brand tracking comes in many shapes and sizes and your business is never too small to measure how people see your brand.
I’d love to hear what world-class brands you look up to in your business. Maybe your mentor “brands”, like mine, are individuals.