5 Profitable Business Strategies to Identify, Define, Incorporate, and Avoid, Plus a Bonus

Running a business is not everyone’s game. We like to say in America that if you can dream it, you can do it, but as business owners know, it’s not always that simple. Statistics will support that fact as 85% of all new businesses fail within their first 5 years, but that figure does not stop enterprising people from hanging up a shingle and trying to make a go of it.

Business is often called a game. Games are about strategy and winning, so there are some parallels. But, in sports, winning is easy to identify. The winning team is the one that has the most points. Winning in business is harder to recognize.

To identify “winning” in business, one must identify:

* What does winning in business look like?

* How will you conquer the competition?

* How do you define your true USPs (Unique Selling Proposition)?

* How do you determine what needs managing?

* How do you determine what doesn’t need managing?

Winning

For large corporations, global domination becomes the goalpost to defining what winning looks like. Sony, Hewlett Packard, AT&T…the list goes on of companies that are the world’s Fortune 500. But what does winning look like to you? Is it staying alive in a stressed economy? Is it beating out your competition in sales? Is it being able to take off three months from your company and know it’s going to run smoothly in your absence? What’s the win? You must have an idea of what the “win” is, or you’ll constantly be chasing it, rather than experiencing it.

Competition

Annihilating the competition undoubtedly has its roots in war. Kill the enemy, right? Ironically, in business, competition is healthy. You don’t want to kill them; you simply want to outsell them. What is light without darkness? It’s just light. What’s sweet without sour? Hot without cold? A team without an opponent?

In business, competition is healthy, but it is only healthy if you truly understand what you’re competing against, and a lot of business owners have what I refer to as misplaced goals, a term commonly used in parenting. In business, this misplaced goal is in thinking that one thing is your competition, when it’s really something very different. For instance, in business coaching, we work with companies who might feel a certain industry is their competition, when the real competition is not the product or service of that company, but their ability to market themselves.

Misplaced goal is a syndrome that follows business owners into team building. After all, if the business owner’s vision isn’t clear, including what his or her company is working toward and competing against, how can the team’s vision be clear? It starts to become a “who’s on first” scenario, and that can quickly get things very confused and out of focus.

Unique Selling Propositions

There are three types of USPs: Perceived, Actual, and Created.

Perceived USPs happen when the customer perceives a difference and uniqueness

Actual USPs reveal actual differences or processes.

Creative USPs occur when there is no real difference, so you create one.

Effective USPs occur when you have identified an area of pain or discomfort for your customers and then show how your product will eliminate or reduce that pain.

Identifying what is unique about one’s company is perhaps one of the most important things to identify, yet one of the hardest things for many business owners to recognize. It seems simple enough: If you strip away everything similar about your company to your competition, what’s left that they don’t have? That’s your USP. What about you do they want to copy?

Yet, business owner after business owner that I have worked with are unable to identify even one thing that sets them apart from their competition. They’ll often say, “Well, we strive to have the best customer service,” or “Our products are built to last.” So what? Theirs are, too.

Can your truck pull an airplane? I say that because you may not need your vehicle to pull an airplane, but it’s kind of nice to know that it can, isn’t it? Can theirs? No. And the fact that their vehicle can’t pull an airplane is provable. My point is: Just Do It. You’re In Good Hands. Have it Your Way. Because You’re Worth It.

Management

One of the highest things on the list of “why businesses fail” is business owner burnout. Why? Because business owners often harbor a do-it-all attitude. Some even pride themselves on how much they can handle, filling their plates so full they start to crack. “To save money” they’ll often justify. But are they really saving money? Is their time worth minimum wage?

Is killing yourself worth losing time to save a little cash? Stress kills. Part of becoming an effective leader is determining what in your company needs managing and what doesn’t. Once that is determined, you can work on getting the right people together and can delegate responsibilities to them so you can focus on working “on” your business rather than “in” it.

What Doesn’t Need Managing

A truly educated, well-trained, nurtured dream team does not need micro-management, they simply need to be respected and held accountable. Tied in with management above, of course, is identifying what needs your undivided attention, and what can be delegated to other people on your team.

Are business strategies set in stone? Of course not! Just as strategic plays in sports aren’t. But strategies do need to be established and carefully thought out so that when they are needed they can be put into place.

In closing, it’s clearly important to identify, define, implement, and avoid certain business strategies. Some will be identified through trial and error, but areas that are pretty universal and necessary to help you profit in your industry are the 4 strategic “M”s listed below. I’ve included the key things that fall under each.

MANAGEMENT: Motivator, Implementer of Objectives, Delegates authority, Visionary, Strategist:

* Team Training: Scripts, feedback, delegation, sales

* Accurate databases

* Purchase Orders

* Efficiency, productivity, time management

* Systemize routine, humanize the exceptions

* Negotiation

MONEY

* Audit costs, set budgets

* Increase your margins/prices

* Stop discounting

* Make it easy to buy

* Reorganize financial affairs

MARKETING

* Up-Sell

* Down-Sell

* Effective “lists”

* Offer exceptional value

* Warrantees

MERCHANDISE

* Sell More Big Margin Goods or Services

* Stock More High Priced Items

* Sell Fast-Moving Stock

* Carry Exclusive Lines

* Sell Your Own Label

* Sell Only Quality – Reduce Your Product Line

I hope these tips have been helpful for you. Being a business owner can sometimes feel like you’re standing on a high ledge in a very heavy wind. My colleague likes to say, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” True, but there’s nothing that says a safety net can’t be put in place. A business coach is your safety net. He or she won’t necessarily keep you from falling, but a business coach can help you put systems in place to reduce those falls and help you build and grow your company.