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Growing your Company in today's Chaotic Market!
I think we've all heard enough bad news to last us few months to last
us several lifetimes! Our mantra for clients is "get over it" 'cut
your losses when where you can and focus on the basic building blocks
to grow your business. Here are some fundamentals we recommend to any
company that wants to survive and grow in this chaotic market:
1) Practice maniacal focus! Who is your customer, how do you
reach them with your advertising, partners, channels and/or OEMs? If
you can't readily identify these benchmarks, then you may need to
take a hard look at look at your business structure, personnel, costs
of good/services, etc. and rework your model.
2)Outsource and build virtuosity into your company. We tell clients
to minimize fixed costs like the feudal barons of old 'they kept a
core group of fighters to man the garrison walls and hired
(outsourced!) conscripts when the baron from the next door came
calling at the castle gates with a legion of longbows behind him to
exact tribute. Marketing, finance, HR, IT infrastructure, even
product development or manufacturing can be easily outsourced to
specialists who have levels of proficiency that you might not be able
to afford if you tried to hire them full time.
3)Flex and tier your pricing creatively to minimize barriers to
entry. If chaos is the order of the day (and we think it is) then
make sure your pricing is tiered or structured so your clients can
afford to try out your products and services 'and be flexible in
your negotiations and look for creative ways to bring new customers
4)Make your suppliers real business partners! Fed Ex and UPS are
setting up shop in their customer's shipping docks to save valuable
time and money and become active business partners. You may not have
the clout of a Fortune 1K company/behemoth to leverage Fed Ex but you
can ask your suppliers to extend terms, work with you on just in time
delivery schedules or get creative with pricing, joint promotions,
5)Ensure your marketing fundamentals are up to snuff! We see so many
sloppy web sites that do not address the basic fundamentals of good
site design, menus, UI, etc., brochures that are out of date, power
point presentations that are barely legible, etc. 'basic marketing
principals should be addressed; i.e. integrate your color scheme and
logo across all marcom materials (digital and traditional), reinforce
your branding and positioning with clearly worded value propositions
("we save you X by doing Y") and ensure your logo and tagline look
professional and are used properly.
6)Create and deploy credible PR that isn't full of fluff;
i.e. "market or cost leadership, best of breed technology, leading
provider of ', high-performance, etc.; don't use terms any editor
sees hundreds of times a day! Create PR that is original and
truthful 'you will stand out from the crowd much better.
7)It's truly a Global Market! Position your company so you can work
with customers all over the world 'if you don't have the resources
or personnel (see two above) then partner with a local reseller,
dealer or distributor who has an established presence in a country or
market which you can't serve via your corp/home office.
8)Don't waste time chasing venture capital 'fund your company
creatively! Venture capitalists are busy today trying to save their
existing portfolio of ".bombs" so don't waste a lot of your time
contacting them! Be creative, talk to friends and family about
investing or look to your suppliers to give you extended terms in
exchange for a long-term contract, discounted parts, etc.
9)Leverage technology to help you grow your business. A good web
site should answer questions for your customers, not leave them
frustrated and confused 'make sure you address fundamentals with an
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), or even setup instant messaging via
any number of chat technology providers so people can anonymously ask
your sales or c/support personnel questions while they are on your
10)Ignore marketing hype and concentrate on technology that really
works. Tried surfing the web via your cell phone and finding a hot
bistro in a new neighborhood recently? I hate to pick on this
technology du jour, but it rates high on my "hypeometer" at this
moment in time. There is a reason why opt-in e-mail advertising is
the one of the best ways to reach a target market 'its virtually
instantaneous, is 24/7 in most cases, very targeted, provides global
reach, and drum roll - - - it really works!
About the Author
Lee Traupel has 20 plus years of marketing experience He is the co-
founder of a Northern California and Brussels Belgium based,
privately held, Marketing Services and Software Company, Intelective
Communications, Inc. http://www.intelective.com Intelective focuses
exclusively on providing services to small to medium sized companies
that need strategic and tactical marketing services. He can be
reached at Lee@intelective.com