The challenge of sustaining competitive advantage keeps me on my toes!
This article is part of Effició’s executive series. In this blog series, we share the resources, tools, advice, and infrastructure changes you need to assess, invest, and shift your business. Here are five ways that I maintain a competitive advantage for Effició, no matter how many drops, twists, and turns the entrepreneurship roller coaster takes:
1. Look for High-Level Opportunities
This can be tricky but worth the time to plan it out. Even though Effició is known for providing all the tools a business owner needs; we still need to align ourselves with international brands and organizations. By looking for partnerships or alliances with well-known brands that speak to your target market, you will expand your market share and open up many opportunities for increased cash flows.
For example, I am spending a lot of my sales time calling on international (small business) groups and associations where at least 30 percent of their membership is comprised of existing business owners that are generating $750,000 or more in revenue. I have mapped out several ways Effició can partner with them rather than just being a member. You might say, “…yeah, but it’s hard.” Of course, it is hard, but it is about being strategic and focused. Do not go after every brand; only go after those where your solutions can benefit their organization and their audience, and you can prove it.
2. Make Yourself and Your Team Available
This one is pretty simple. Not only do we provide complimentary resources, but we also have a call-in advisory service where you can speak with a strategist live, an online network focused on providing answers to your business questions, and live events that provide access to our intelligence. The keyword here is ACCESSIBLE. These services are of high value with minimal entry steps. No business can provide structured training and strategic planning services for free, but you can develop ways to make your business more accessible.
You do not have to follow in our footsteps, nor do we expect you to–your goal is to figure out how to make yourself available so that your target knows that they can contact you anytime without the pressure of having to pay for every little thing. Make yourself and your team available for questions–you must be an advocate for those you support!
Business owners have many needs and want solutions to meet their unique situation. I try to address these needs by connecting with other experts to provide an enhanced learning experience. Not only do our customers enjoy the benefits of our expertise, but my connection partners and I become better business people for working together instead of just going it alone. Keep your culture, brand, and strategies top of mind as you pursue who to connect with.
4. Align Your Company with Established Agencies in Your Community
Not only does Effició provide its own training and consulting, but we also teach for local community colleges, universities, organizations, and non-profits. We have done this since our existence. Teaching a class or leading a seminar for local community organizations is a great way to build credibility and also become a key expert resource for future needs. This is different than securing speaking engagements to build a client base.
Examples: Small Business Administration, SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, The City Government Office, Your Local Economic Development Office, Your Local Business League, and Community Colleges and Universities. Moreover, do not be afraid to travel, there are many small communities outside of your area that has community colleges that are hungry for your expertise.
5. Keep Your Prices Reasonable Yet Maintain the Value
I am not saying cut your prices or downgrade your services, just be sure your target can afford it! Remember, you have to understand your target market while also supporting them. If your sales are suffering, maybe you should discount the price of the product or service that you feel serves your market best. Not just this month but for the next three months. If you do this coupled with all of the above, you keep your clients, you keep the cash flow coming in and you stay in business so you can stay on the roller coaster as it levels off – you will be surprised by how many opportunities will come to you based on all your diligent and strategic work.
This is not a time to doubt or give up. It is time to work with each other. Let’s stay in business together!
© Effició, Inc.