Today on the blog we have a special guest blogger, Dale Zwizinski. Dale is a top performing sales professional, leader, and coach with more than 20 years experience with enterprise sales, Known for his ability to grow and enhance businesses, he is happiest when helping customers enhance their business with innovative technologies. He can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Welcome, Dale!
Recently, I spent some time in RI running away from hurricane IRMA. Luckily, I have the luxury of working from anyway as long as there is an internet connection and an airport nearby. When I am not traveling I work out of a co-working space in Lakewood Ranch, FL.
Due to the fact that I was going to be in RI for a few weeks I looked for a local co-working space. I found a great location called The Hive RI in North Kingstown, RI. The Co-founder/Director of The Hive RI, Tuni Renaud Schartner, works with many small and start-up businesses both as Director of The Hive and as COO of Hub Digital Marketing. As I have, for the most part, worked in the enterprise space Tuni asked if I would guest blog about how my experience and expertise might be able to help a small business owner. This article will look at why small businesses and enterprise companies are really more similar than you might think.
Let me start with this - whether you are a small business owner or in the enterprise space there are 2 main goals/objectives:
1) to generate revenue and
2) to have fun! If we can all agree on this then we can dive into the blog.
Small Business and Enterprise
Every business is looking to drive revenue, whether you are a small business or Fortune 500 company. In order to drive revenue it is important to really understand the importance of the following:
Ideal Client Profile (ICP)
What you customers (ICP) need
How to deliver the value promised to your customers
During my career one of the biggest challenges I see businesses of all sizes face is how they define their ICP’s. Let’s take a minute to understand why it is so important to properly define your ICP. One of the biggest costs of your business is to target or market to people that “might” be interested in your product or service. If you are targeting the wrong people then they will never buy your product. Conceptually this makes sense; however, I find when I discuss ICP with customers they do not have it well defined. Here is an example of an ICP - “We target Real Estate Companies with more than 10 employees that target waterfront properties in RI. We are targeting the operations director”.
Takeaway: Be as specific as possible when you define your ICP.
Once you have the ICP well defined, you need to get complete clarity around meeting your customer's needs. Your product and/or service is in the market to solve your customer's challenges, therefore make sure that you focus on your customer and their needs. Many companies start to try to fit their product and/or service into challenges that they are not intended to fulfill. When you try to “contort” your product/service to a challenge you risk not only having an unhappy customer but also hurt your company's brand (especially with social media today). In my opinion, small business owners are more vulnerable to social media because a single bad experience could destroy months of great experiences.
Takeway: Be the best at what you have decided to sell to the public, do not change your product/service (too much) to fit into your customer’s challenges.
This is the best way to drive revenue for your organization. A “sale” of a product or service is only a promise to deliver value, then you actually have to deliver the value. The most successful companies that I have seen have always done their best to deliver the value they discussed during the sale. While this sounds easy, it is actually very difficult because we are human - communication and expectations can be misunderstood from both sides of the table. If there is an issue after the sale, it is your job, as the supplier, to make sure you work with your customer to solve the challenge. I am not saying that you should always “give in”, however, it is your job to ensure any issues are resolved between you and your customer.
Takeaway: The sale is the easy part, then you have to actually deliver the value you promised.
While there are differences between a small business and Fortune 500 company, the basic fundamentals will always be important in either case. As I have worked with the entire spectrum I see the following as the most important:
1) Know your customer.
2) Stay true to your product/service.
3) Deliver the value promised to your customer.
While this sounds straightforward, there is no linear path when building a business and brand.