I recently met with a new business owner who had one of the best types of coffee in San Antonio. He had a beautiful location too. Yet, he had a lot of competition as well.
When meeting with him, my colleague and I asked him about his customer base. This business owner didn’t have a good idea of what represented his best type of customers.
A business plan would have helped him focus on what made his best customers. To me, as a transplanted marketing professional with roots in both Mexico and the United States, these are the basic questions everyone should ponder before starting any business. By answering these questions, a business can begin the steps to create an effective business plan.
Who’s your competition? Every business has competition. In this company’s case, he had three very well-known rivals. One of them has such excellent brand recognition that when people think of his product, his competitor is almost synonymous with coffee. When this person and his investors decided to add their product into the marketplace, I wondered if they had identified the two nearby Starbucks Coffee Shops. Within a mile, there was also a popular local coffee place.
What makes your product stand out? This business owner understood his unique value proposition. He could easily define why his product was better than that of his rivals. When walking into his place, he showed a lot of pride and effort in serving each cup.
How does your business inform others? This business owner had opened his doors without thinking about how to reach potential new customers. He hoped people would come to his store without needing any form of advertising or promotion. With a unique location, he needs a combination of public relations and marketing outreach to inform his clients that he’s open for business.
What kind of steps will his business take to retain his best customers? After getting a customer, how will this business stay in touch with them? Will he use text or email messaging to stay in touch with his clients? And what kind of special incentives will he give customers who reach a specific milestone to reward them?
(If you know of someone who wants to start a business, please call me. I’ll put together a plan that will help you find and retain your customers.)