Monday, 10 September 2012

Why small Businesses in Nigerian may never compete globally

Can small businesses in Nigeria ever compete globally? If a product cannot compete locally, can it compete globally? It is difficult to answer such questions in an economy where excellence is not a virtue. Nigeria has one of the most liberal economies that any entrepreneur can survive in, though there may be unstable policies, it may not be enough to hinder competitiveness. We have professionals and experts in various fields of life, but how many of our products and services reflect such professionalism and expertise. Don’t blame the average Nigerian consumer if they are not buying ‘Made in Nigeria’ products. They want something more than just the product; they want a product with a touch of excellence.
There are businesses that have been in existence for over ten years yet they cannot be compared in terms of professionalism and profitability with other businesses with fewer opportunities in other countries. So what is the problem? – Expertise. If there is a success factor missing in most small businesses in Nigeria, it is in the area of competence. Many of the entrepreneurs are into business without knowing the trade. They are not just experts at what they do. They are in business to survive. They may have the skill, but they lack the expertise required to deliver a satisfactory service or product, hence, the lack of confidence in local products. Could this be the reason for the slow rate of business growth despite the huge business opportunities in this country? To a large extent – yes, you cannot grow in the world of business if you don’t have the competence to satisfy your customers.
When an average consumer demands for a product or service, he relies on the professional advice of the seller to get the desired satisfaction. The consumers can actually get the same product from anywhere, but they chose to buy from a more expensive seller or service provider because of the level of professionalism and touch of excellence delivered.
When foreign businesses charge extra for the same product consumers can get locally, and the consumers are ready to pay, it means there is something about the foreign product that the local one doesn’t have. Does it mean Nigerian products are inferior? NO, we still have products that are very good but whether they can compete with global brands in terms of quality is a question for another day. However, it is a pointer to upcoming entrepreneurs to
  • Adopt global strategies in their local business
  • Acquire more knowledge in the area of their businesses
  • Show their competence in the product and service delivery.
Being competent at what you do set you in the right direction towards being a customer oriented, global focus and profitable entrepreneur. Master your skill, be effective and efficient at what you do, people pay for your competence not just you or your product. If you are not ready for business, don’t waste your time and that of others guess-working. Go professional in your business, make your customers happy and always remember you can do business in a global way even in your locality.

Friday, 31 August 2012

How to develop a unique selling proposition for your business

free web site traffic and promotion

Have you ever wondered why Apple products command a cult follower-ship? The answer is simple – they have distinguished themselves through innovation. Apple may not be the biggest phone maker or laptop manufacturer, but the company has a market share that no other company can take away from them. They do not compete on price, in fact their prices are higher yet, and their customers are loyal to them for one reason – their innovative products.
Competition is getting in tensed by the day, more products chase fewer consumers and everyday, consumers are given more opportunities to make choices in satisfying the same need with the same product. So the big question now is whose product will they pick? The product they will pick is dependent on one thing – that unique value you are offering them. 

In business, creating a compelling unique selling proposition is a strategy that puts you above board. Many businesses fail to penetrate the market because they lack that extra value that will make the consumers abandon competition’s products for theirs. They wonder why consumers will not buy a quality product even at the best price. The consumers will not buy because there is not distinguishing your product from the rest in the market.

Creating unique selling proposition involves the following:

Identifying the needs of your consumers
Consumers’ needs are the basis for creating a unique value that will drive a business. You identify the need you want to satisfy, and then find a better way to do it better than competitors. You can start by asking what the competitor is doing for them that you can do better. What part of their need is unmet? What are they always complaining about? etc.

Turning those needs into promises?
Every consumer wants that assurance that his or her needs will be solved, and that is what your product or service is out to do. Your product or service is a promised solution to the consumer. To turn a need into a promise, you have to develop the capacity to satisfy that need. Any need that you cannot turn into a promise, cannot be a USP

Keep your side of the bargain
There is nothing a consumer hates like being disappointed. Don’t make a promise that you cannot keep. USP is a promise and guarantee, and you wouldn’t want your consumers to be disappointed because you failed to fulfill a promise you made to them.
When you fail to keep to your promise, the competitor can take advantage of your lapses to cut your market share.

Always remind your consumers about your promises
Let every part of your business reflect the promise or the value proposition. Advertise it, talk about it at every opportunity, always make it a duty to remind the consumer the promise you have made to satisfy his or her need uniquely.

Finally, you don’t have to be the best to succeed in business; all you need is to create an extra value that your consumers will be willing to pay for.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Are you a Brand?

Image is everything

In an enterprising and competitive world like ours, your success or failure depends on your ability to clearly distinguish yourself from others. When you understand and distinguish yourself as a brand, with time, your lifestyle becomes a standard. Most successful businesses that are leaders in their sectors are now standards in their industries. They set the pace for others to follow, and this is achieved mostly through branding.

Branding is a concept in business that is as important to a business as it is to anyone who wants to be successful and remain that way in life. It is simply the use of any name, term, symbol, sign, design or a combination of these to identify yourself or help others associate you with something. It is actually a representation of what you do, believe or associate yourself with. It is a summary of what you want people to know you for.

In life, successful people distinguish themselves in something and than establish in it. When they get established in something worthwhile, they become associated with that. For instance, if you think of safety in a car, you talk of Volvo, if you think of fuel economy and availability of spare parts, you think of Toyota. These Cars have been branded using distinctive features, and you associate with them based on what you are looking for.

As an individual, what distinguishing feature do you have? You can never standout if it is difficult to separate you from the lot. You need to brand yourself if people must identify you from the crowd.  Unfortunately, most people are yet to understand who they really are and what they can do. I consider such people as having a ‘GENERIC PERSONALITY.’ They are just like every other average person that has got nothing unique to offer. It is dangerous being with such people, just like fake products, they can easily drag your high earned reputation into the mud. They have no brand and no brand name. They have nothing at stake, and so can afford to live life anyhow. You can’t afford to be like every other person; you need to brand yourself. No good product goes into the market unbranded, and no brand can succeed without a good brand name, so also every quality life. This is because being a brand speaks more for you than you can speak for yourself; it identifies you from the crowd, gives you a high sense of responsibility and improved self worth, it is your reputation.

Another side to it is that people can brand you. This is the most dangerous aspect of branding. Nobody can tell your story exactly the way you want it told, and better like you will do. Low quality and fake products are not bordered about image and esteem, so also those who have nothing to offer, but branded products do. You need to brand yourself with the exact features that truly represent you.

Let people know you for something good and worthwhile such as keeping to your promises, craving for excellence in your duties, being trustworthy, effective and efficient, diligent, caring, positive etc. whatever you choose to brand yourself with, let it be one that truly represent you, and will positively influence people around to say something good about you.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Being customer focus doesn’t sell anymore pt 2

When businesses decide to be customer focus, their objective is simple: Control. They want to control the customer to do what they want – buy. Today, consumers no longer want to be controlled. They want products and services that add more value to their lives, and meet their needs – both stated and unstated needs.

In a people focus business, your aim is not to control or satisfy your business interest but to meet the need of the ‘person’ not just the customer. It means making your product or service do more by allowing the users maximize the resources invested - time, money, emotion etc. It involves integrating all the values that makes an individual more effective and efficient in life. For instance, you have a mobile phone, your need as a consumer of that hand-set is to make calls or communicate. But as a person, your need is that of living a comfortable and peaceful life. Hence, phone manufacturers add more services to your phone to meet your life needs not just the need to make calls. Thus, you can buy and sell through your phone, surf the web, store tons of information etc.

Is this the same as Corporate Social Responsibility? No. CSR is a tool mainly for building brand equity/business image. You can do anything good to build your brand equity, but it doesn’t make you people focus. In a people focused business, your target is to see the individual get all the desired benefits from the product in a commercially viable way.

Do you think you have met all the requirements that will make your offer to a person irresistible?