New Business? 4 Strategic Steps for Building a Customer Base

    By Andrew France | Small Business

    So you are starting a business  -  Great!

    Where are your customers going to come from? How will you build your customer base?

    The chances are you have put massive amounts of energy and time into developing your product, service or solution but have you developed a plan for generating revenue?

    It can be too easy to jump straight into trying some marketing activity without working through a few key strategic questions.  Trial and error will always be part of starting fast and building momentum as will some kind of ‘social media’ strategy.   However – getting the basic strategic questions answered first will reduce the time and effort you waste along the way.

    Here are some strategic steps to work through to help you work out where your revenue is going to come from.

    Step 1.  What problem do I solve?

    Forget worrying about what you are going to be famous for  -  start with the most fundamental question of all – what problem do you solve?   What is it that you do that others will pay you to solve?  Find a problem that enough people have that they are willing to pay to get fixed and you could do very well for yourself.

    Step 2.  Where are the people with that problem?

    Defining your Idea Client Profile (ICP) is an important step.  Too many organisations waste massive amounts of money on marketing activities targeting people who will never pay for what it is that they offer.  Clearly documenting who will pay you to solve the problem you have identified at Step 1. Is a good start.  What are their demographic, psychometric and  behavioural characteristics.

    Step 3.  How can you reach these people?

    How are you going to reach them to tell them that you can solve their problem?  You can go directly to them through your own marketing and sales efforts.  This is clearly a popular choice for most organisations.

    Another option is to explore  distribution channels and partnership opportunities.  Who already is speaking to these people you have identified?  Could they also sell your product?  Managing channels can be hard work, but can also give you reach you never dreamed of.

    Step 4.  Consider the competition

    Who else is out there trying to solve the problem that you have identified?  Why will buyers engage with you instead of them?  What is your unique selling proposition?   Thinking through this serves two important roles: 1) Where are the areas you can improve to take away the competitive advantage of a competitor? 2) What tactical response can you have when facing the objection of a potential customer considering your offering and the oppositions.

    Once you have sorted out your answers to these important questions, you then need to start to think about how you will practically execute and  dig into the  tactics that you need to put in place to take them from uninterested to a lead to a prospect to an opportunity to a paying customer.

    You will find the Revenue BluePrint template useful for both working through the strategic question and the rest of the vital parts of your revenue growth strategy.

    Good Luck.

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