When most small businesses start ‘in business’, they tend to get there by accident or by selling enough of what they do to their friends and family to suggest there is a business model to move forward.

The issue with this is without any grasp on strategy or a basic understanding of marketing, these business owners will be talking about their product in a way that benefits them, the business owner.

“Have you seen my product it does this…”

“I’m great at being a VA…”

“The pipework on my installation is brilliant…”

This is all great, and should definitely not be overlooked: Small business relies on the skill set of their owner and that is most definitely a key piece of the puzzle. However, for a real good focus and the best chance of delivering results that matter, changing your life and business for the better, the business owner must get a grasp of marketing positioning from a customer point of view.

Why is a customer focus important?

It’s a common mistake that many businesses make. It’s always talking about the product as the outcome, as the process and focus of what the business is selling.

In reality the small business owner (and bigger business for sure) needs to focus more on what the customer is actually buying. The customer is using the product or service as a means to an end. The end in this situation being the problem your product is solving.

Think about is in its simplest form: if you are hungry, what do you do? The problem you have is that hunger is causing you discomfort. So to ease your discomfort you want to eat.

Your product is a means to an end.

But where do you choose? This is where the choice comes in. We can buy for convenience (the nearest sandwich store available), or we can buy from what we know; the brand that has positioned and built trust in our minds and that has more than one time cured our hunger pain!

The customer first approach can transform your business

In a World where we have the power to choose the type of people we wish to serve, I wanted to share with you why I think it’s incredibly important to put the customer focus at the centre of your marketing activity.

Exceptional service for people we like!

In a reviews economy where the opinion of others can make or break our business, we must give ourselves a fighting chance of picking up the 5-star reviews by dealing primarily with the people and groups of people we get on well with!

It’s ok to choose a customer group, in fact, I would actively encourage it!

So it makes sense that in order to get the reviews, we must deliver and go beyond what we set out to achieve, and to do that we must do it with a group of customers who we can’t help but deliver above and beyond the call of expected duty.

Trust building lead to better value for money.

People by from people as the old adage goes. This is true to a point but I heard a fantastic phrase a while back which stuck with me…

People don’t buy from people, they buy from people like themselves.

They buy from people like themselves. What a powerful statement. So when most businesses are frantically serving ‘everybody’, they are in practice, relating to fewer, or none of the people that are just like them.

Now, if you put your customer first and deliver exceptional service, garnering the all important review and reccomendation, we will now see that those people who are just like you, are also just like your previous customer who have left you a nice review!

So not only do people but from people like themselves, they put more trust and value in those businesses who have served people who are also like themselves. A powerful process indeed. Because what does a higher level of trust and value lead to??

Higher prices for your product and services.

Remember we are building our own unique positioning here by only serving those we want to relate to. By doing this we build trust and reputation through the delivery of excellent customer service.

We all pay more when we know the exchange of value is worth it. The end result (a sandwich) may be the same, but the assurance that the sandwich we are buying is of the correct standard and the outlet resonates with us, and we have seen others just like us shopping there, we know it must be a cracking sandwich. So now as the sandwich outlet we can step out of competing on price and hammer home the message of being the only possible option for your eating needs.

Someone can always sell things cheaper. They can’t always do things better.

Higher prices lead to better profits

By slowly raising the price of your product or service in line with your building reputation and trust, your profits will start to thank you. This means you can slowly start to transition from saying yes to all kind of works and instead become a specialist for your chosen target market. The higher prices for your core product allow you to buy time and focus more on becoming the specialist for that product in your market.

…Better profit means more time…and choices!

With more profits on the core products and services we are in effect buying back our time to focus our energies and double down on becoming the specialist.

This all stems from understanding your customer and the importance of aiming your marketing activity at a specific group of people. Because with increased time, comes increased choice! As busy business owners who are often time poor, a considered approach to marketing will undoubtedly help you buy back some of your time and enable you to make better choices about how your business can move forward.

And it all starts with the customer!

The customer is the be all and all; your opportunity to build a business that works for you, by creating a business and a brand build on trust, that works for them.

Further reading.

Every business should be able to position itself to be the go-to brand in that specific market. Here are my thoughts on how that is possible…