Entrepreneurs embark on a very creative endeavor. From coming up with the idea for the company, to solving day-to-day problems, entrepreneurs are constantly challenged and looking to figure out how to make the best out of what little resources they have. I’ve mentioned before how important creativity can be to a business, but I want to focus on new businesses in particular, and add one more element to the list.
Products and Services:
Businesses have a product or service that was the inspiration and started it all. Finding that idea for the product, taking it to market, and running with it will have its up and downs. Maybe your idea is full of great promise, but getting it made isn’t feasible. So tweaking that idea, figuring out how to make it possible, while still bringing something unique to the table is critical.
One of my favorite stories about a business idea coming to life is that of Virgin Records. At the time, Sir Richard Branson and his colleagues had very little knowledge about what it took to run a record label (hence the name). However, they took their own love for music, made do with a single signed artist, and developed a brand one artist at a time. Record labels were around before them, but they added their own unique flavor to it.
The basics of advertising are very well understood. Entrepreneurs, by showcasing your product or service to someone, you hope to encourage them to buy it. But with so many businesses trying to do the same, it’s a fight to keep your business front and center. But, what if you found a way to stand out from the crowd? There are hundreds of ways to advertise in unique and interesting ways.
When I think of advertising, I think of commercials on TV. And when I think of commercials, I think of the Super Bowl, the largest football event in the United States. Businesses pay millions of dollars to be in front of so many people, but most businesses dont have anywhere near that kind of budget. So, they find other ways to advertise within their means. Whether that’s relevant YouTube videos or paying small referal bonuses to customers who bring in more customers, there are plenty of ways to get new customers in the door to learn about your products.
How a business treats its customers is by far the most important factor to its success. Entrepreneurs, having awesome customer service will spread the word about your business to customers you would have never had a chance to meet. Finding ways to go above and beyond will go a long way.
Think about Zappos, the online shoe retailer. When they first opened up, one of the biggest concerns by customers was buying shoes online without trying them on. In a brick and mortar store, customers are used to trying on dozens of pairs of shoes before they settle on what they leave with. How do you do that with an online store? So, Zappos offered free returns. Does it cost them money? Absolutely. Does it bring in more customers? You bet.
Not every business needs to work alone. In fact, most successful entrepreneurs have flourished because of the strategic partnerships they agreed to and how they’ve worked together with other businesses in a mutually beneficial way.
As I sit in a Starbucks writing this, I’m using Google’s wifi service to connect to the Internet. Knowing that there’s going to be fast and reliable internet at pretty much any Starbucks I go to is a big reason why I sometimes come here to work. Of course I have a cup of tea next to me, so Starbucks is definitely enjoying the benefits of bringing in paying customers to work in their stores. This partnership, and the ones prior to it, was one of the biggest reasons Starbucks was able to take off as it did.
Entrepreneurs, these types of partnerships can be a boom for your business if it is stuck in a rut. Are there entrepreneurs or other people in related industries that you can work with to bring together two complimentary services? Are there ways you can bring together seemingly unrelated industries, such as coffee and high speed internet, and make something great for customers?