Becoming a market leader is the dream of every company. It’s obvious that it requires a lot of work to get to this position, but here are our top seven steps to help you get there:
1. Determine Your Mission & Stay True to It
You can’t become the leader in anything if you don’t have a goal in mind. Many times business owners start businesses because they have a (“great”) idea and then they get after it. True success, however, comes not just from having a product idea and creating it, but from identifying why you’re creating this solution early on in your business and what you hope to accomplish with it every single day. Moreover, your mission serves as a guide for all future decision making for your company.
For instance, 615innovations’ mission is to empower small businesses with innovative business development strategies that drive long term success. Therefore, all the products and services we offer support that mission: brand message development, marketing services such as social media management and web design, sales classes to drive revenue and increase confidence. If we stick to mastering those three areas, we have a much better chance at being the best at what we do, as opposed to, let’s say, adding a DEI consulting strategy to our list of offerings. DEI is essential to businesses, no doubt, but it does not fall within the “business development” category and would therefore not suit us to add it to our portfolio.
2. Identify & Market to Your IDEAL Buyer Persona
When you started your business, you probably thought about broad demographics of your target audience such as age range, gender, location, and decision making authority. However, taking time to go beyond the generic criteria and dig deep into your customers’ lives will help you get to know your customer and their desires even more. By understanding the specifics of your customer persona, you will be able to tailor your product or service to solve their challenges and craft an effective marketing strategy.
|Read more about how to define your ideal target buyer and download our free guide here.|
3. Know Your Competition & Always Stay One Step Ahead
While there may be one or two brands that come to mind when you think about each industry, there’s usually one that is more successful than the rest because there’s something that sets them apart. E.g., Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Salesforce. (More to come on that next.) Therefore, knowing who your competition is, and who’s bubbling up (which could arguably be more important) is essential. By conducting a competitor analysis on a routine basis, not just when you start your business, will help you gain valuable insights about other products or services in the market, how your offerings measure up, as well as how competitors are promoting themselves. In addition, keeping your ear to the ground for new entries could keep you from getting blindsided from the disrupter and losing a significant chunk of businesses.
|See more advantages of a competitor analysis here and download our free template! Are you starting your business and don’t know how your competitors are? Read our blog post “How to Identify and Classify Your Competitors”.|
4. Learn The Purple Cow Theory Then Be innovative. Be different. Be better. (And do it fast.)
Once you know your buyer persona and what your competitors are doing, you can think about how to differentiate your offering and how to make it better. There is nothing that makes you a market leader faster than by offering the best product on the market. (Great podcast that talks about this is Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness with Alex Hormozi.)
Conduct market research by asking yourself, your colleagues, customers, and prospects…
- What pain points does my ideal buyer have?
- Who in the market is solving this?
- Are they doing it well?
- Is there a gap in the market?
- How do existing clients feel about our products/services?
- PRO TIP: Survey clients to understand how satisfied they are with your offering and if they would recommend you. (Evaluating the number of people that would refer business to you is called your Net Promoter Score. It is a crucial metric many companies use to determine their effectiveness and success. LoyaltyLoop is an extremely user-friendly survey platform used to solicit feedback from customers. It also allows you to seamlessly promote positive testimonials on your socials and Google.)
At the end of the day, the only way to get ahead is to have an undeniably remarkable product or service that ideally sells itself, but you can only get there by knowing what your competitors are doing and what your buyers want. And once you have those things identified, move quickly so as not to be dominated by a potential disruptor. (Take it from us – people LOVE the bright, new sparkly options when they first come out. So if your product isn’t better than par, your customers will quickly jump ship leaving you in the dust.)
5. Market. Market. Market.
Many times small (and even large) businesses look at marketing as just a cost center when, in actuality, it should be viewed as an investment. And when done right, will obviously generate a high return on investment.
Think about it: you spend thousands or millions of dollars doing R&D to make the best product you can. But if you don’t tell people about it, no one is going to buy it!
DID YOU KNOW: Major motion pictures spend at least half of the production costs on marketing? For example, the budgeted amount to produce James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar was $237 million. Then they spent an additional $150 million on promotion alone.
Now, let’s be clear: we are not suggesting you spend the same. However, if you’re serious about building your business, then get creative with your marketing. You can walk before you run with tactics such as email marketing, organic social media, SEO, developing strategic partners, and networking, but as soon as you are able, even if it involves getting a small business loan, market your product. Because at the end of the day, no one is going to buy if they don’t know it exists.
PRO TIP: Rule of thumb on spend:
- Brand new businesses should forecast to spend 18-20% of revenue for at least the first three years on marketing.
- Established businesses should budget around 10-15% of revenue on marketing.
For example: If you’re projecting to make $250,000 in year one, you should spend ~$45,000 to $50,000 on marketing.
6. Customer Service
In today’s technological world, word-of-mouth marketing has gained new power and has never been stronger. In fact, nine out of ten customers read reviews before buying a product, which means your current customers hold a lot of power. (Also, the 80/20 Rule is still true today.) So instead of always trying to acquire new customers, first make sure your current customers are satisfied with your product or service. Are they loyalists? Are they advocates? (Find out using the survey methods we mentioned above!) If not, addressing existing customer concerns and making necessary changes should be your number one priority.
7. Join 615i’s Sales MasterClass
And, finally, we wouldn’t be very good marketers or sales folks if we didn’t selfishly plug our own services!
If you want to propel your business to be the industry disruptor, sign up for our Sales MasterClass coming this Fall! This time in a different format: a virtual, 6-week course that meets live once a week for an hour and a half.
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