It never ceases to amaze me how many of my clients come to me asking to write a business plan for some great idea that they have that they just “know will go through the roof in profits”. We sit down and begin to assess the scope of the business plan and talk about what their specific product or service will be able to do that is new and unique to clients. Often times, I am faced with blank stares as I present this question.
Having a great idea is not enough. Having a great product is not enough. It’s about positioning and creating a specific market need, no matter what. When Coca Cola rolls out a new product, they aren’t exclusively relying on the branding and marketshare of their existing Coke name. They spend millions on research and demographic studying to open their demographic up and target their sales. Then they pour millions into an ad campaign that will hopefully effectively show that market why this new product is the greatest thing.
But where does that leave the small start-up who is looking to start with no existing brand? It leaves you having to do your homework! It doesn’t need to be millions of dollars spend in demographic studies, but you do need to find craetive ways to survey your prospective clients. Perhaps it is calling businesses you would target to inquire about THEIR needs so that you can formulate a sales plan around demonstrating your product to them to create solutions. Perhaps you use one of the many Internet resources to get this type of information. The point is that this is the first critical step in creating your brand. Once you have this, then you can start to create a sales strategy that shows why you, your company and its products are the most qualified to provide these solutions.
People often ask me, “well why is this important? Once they see how great the product is, they will just know!” This is a naive philosophy at best. If you understand most businesses and most executives, you will know that most rely heavily on the philosophy of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The reason for this is that change is expensive, risks are expensive. So just seeing something that has promise is rarely enough for them to jump into action. Sure there are exceptions to this rule, but why risk your company’s success on the anamoly?
Create a hook that gets you in the door and then follow up with how you can solve existing problems. That is what businesses and executives act upon. When you are providing solutions, they are buying. And this all starts with the very first stages of business development, your mission statement and your corporate and product branding. Make the effort and it will pay off in droves.