These days it is rare to find a business niche that is not already over saturated, however that said are you sitting reading this thinking ‘but, my idea is different, mine will work’ if the answer is yes then keep reading as I know how you feel I remember talking to my uncle who started The Workplace Depot many years ago.
My uncle had exactly the same problems you may well be facing right now and I want to share with you some of his ideas we have discussed many times that made his business go from strength to strength over the years.
Shout about your USP (unique selling point) from day one
This may sound obvious but all too often I see and hear about new businesses starting up and unless I really delve into their website and about page I don’t actually know what it is that makes them different, what sets them apart from the competition. Use all your PR channels to shout from the roof tops about your USP(s).
Being a new brand it is a fair assumption customers will not have encountered your business before so when they see you for the first time you want them to instantly know THIS is what sets you apart, THIS is your USP.
One of the best bits of advice my uncle had for me when I started my first business was be personal able, get to know the customers and let them see there is a real person behind the business. One of the keys for new start-ups to be successful is for there to be trust and the best way of getting trust is to put your name and face to your business, let customers contact you directly, put a big picture of yourself (smiling – not miserable as this says a lot about your company) and a lengthy author bio all about you, your history and what makes you tick. Don’t hide behind a business façade.
Honesty is paramount
Being honest is so important for new businesses; where possible you should try and keep your business as transparent as possible, customers can smell a dodgy business start-up a mile away. Some examples of tactics I have seen used are offers that appear to be too good to be true (and near always are), over promising and under-delivering and finally pretending to be Mr Big.
When starting up we all like to make our we have an ‘entire team’ when the likelihood it is just you sitting in an office. While some small white lies can be harmless if you start doing it more and more it can trip you up down the line when a customer calls and always speaks to the same person (you) or asks to visit your offices – this can leave a bad taste in the mouth and personally I prefer to be honest and open and say I am the new kid on the block and actually find doing this enables me to highlight all the benefits of working with a new company such as fresh ideas, reduced costs due to small overheads and flexibility that larger companies cannot afford.
Know your competition
Being a new start-up is like entering the lions cage with a couple steaks strapped to each arm, you’re going to get eaten alive UNLESS you do your homework and know your competition. Starting a business puts you in a very unique situation you can use to your advantage, you can hold off ‘launching’ your business as long as needed to enable you to do all the competitor research you need to.
You ought to be looking at what they are doing well and more importantly what they are not doing well, make a list of both and compare with all your competitors to see if there are any glaring areas you can creep in and fill the void. Look at your competitors from both an online and offline perspective, leave no stone unturned. Make the most of your time pre-launch as once you go live your competitors will see you coming and try to squash you. So doing your competitor research will ensure they don’t stand a chance.
Go the extra mile
My last top tip for all you start-up business owners is to go that extra mile, a great piece of customer service in whichever form can often have a ripple effect within your niche and being a new brand you want those first mentions of your company to be a positive one. Take onboard your competitor research and if there are questions out there being posed get involved and answer them even if it does not directly lead to a sale/conversion of any sort.
A willingness to help the customer and go the extra mile will stand you in great shape for the future.