Business Strategy: The Small Stuff Matters!
We have many pine trees in our yard and love them. Except, of course, for what they do to our gutters. The picture is actually from the front of my house.
After a quick trip to the Homeadvisor website and a bit of research on Google, I decided that I needed gutter guards. 10 minutes after filling out a form on the website, I’m watching a football game—its Sunday—and my phone starts to ring. I get three phone calls within half an hour. Jose and Emily are the quickest responders, so I have appointments with both in the next few days.
This is clearly a very competitive market and I’m benefitting from it. One of my three responders tells me in a voice message that they will match any price and that they have a 30% off sale going on right now. My wife would tell you that I’m not a particularly good “shopper,” but rather an impulsive buyer. (I don’t go to a store or Amazon to shop; I go to buy!) And I’d rather buy from someone I like and trust than save a few bucks; maybe from the one who calls first!
Whether you run a gutter guard business, an airline or an accounting firm, you ought to have a clear strategy that describes why people will buy form you vs. your competition. However, you also might think about the sales and marketing tactics that you employ. You might have a product strategy that leads you to design and build the best damn product or service in your market, but if the other guy answers the phone on the first ring or is a bit more responsive, you still might get beat.
One of the best questions to identify the strategy of a business is to ask, “If you only had one more dollar to spend to improve your business, where would you invest it?” You cannot effectively invest in all things equally (e.g. product, development, best technology, superb relationships, etc.). However, sometimes the inexpensive tactics you employ (e.g. customer service techniques) can supercharge your strategy!
My example is from a small business, but it applies to any size. Don’t think because you run a billion-dollar business that you can ignore the “small” stuff. Remember how much bad press United Airlines received when they broke this guy’s guitar and didn’t respond?! (20 million views as I write this!)
Your market may not be as competitive as gutter guards appear to be in my neighborhood, but perhaps you should pretend it is!
Todd coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).