Ask James Caan – Issue 93
Recently I’ve been contacted by many budding entrepreneurs looking at the recession as the perfect opportunity to go for what they’ve always wanted, by starting their own business.
Over the years, I’ve learned many important lessons, including this: setting up a business is incredibly hard work, but it’s one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. I’m always happy to advise entrepreneurs with a passion for business and an eye for spotting an opportunity.
Take Nathan for example. It has been his lifelong ambition to set up his own business. He’s already written a business plan, began to create a website, and applied to register his company selling computer equipment, and phone and tablet accessories.
He contacted me asking for advice regarding his website and his desire to put customers at the heart of everything he does, whilst providing a memorable experience.
Nathan, new businesses not only need an idea: they need the drive to see things through and the ability to know when to ask for help. And you clearly have a lot to offer – technical ability, consumer awareness and, of course, the mindset of an entrepreneur – all great qualities needed to succeed.
Whilst the IT arena continues to remain a great hub of activity, it is also a very competitive business industry. This means it’s how you demonstrate your business value that will ultimately set you apart from your competition, build your brand and develop consumer loyalty.
Offering an excellent customer service and putting customers at the heart of your company, is how you attract and build a successful business. In order to do so, consumers need to be aware of your credibility – after all, success speaks volumes.
Creating a website for your new business used to be a luxury. These days it’s a necessity, and even so-called “bricks and mortar” establishments have abandoned the notion that their business can thrive without an online component. Looking at your website I can see you have obviously thought about your audience in terms of the layout, the customer chat line, and the great products you offer – all high in demand at present.
Once you are registered as a company, and start attracting customers, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations – this is a great way to build engagement. I also suggest setting your business up on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These are great B2C tools where your followers can share a love for your brand and leave reviews of your IT product, as well as open up real time communication channels.
A blog is another great way to reach your audience, improve your visibility on the web and interact with your customers. As a potential customer, I want to know what your products can do for me and why I should buy from you instead of a competitor.
A blog will enable you demonstrate your knowledge and experience in matters relating to your industry, portraying you as a trusted expert in your field. Also, think about how your services differ from those of your competition. How do your products solve your customers’ problems? Set yourself apart in terms of the benefits you offer, such as your ‘customer chat line’ and free delivery service and build your brand on this customer centricity.
Overall, Nathan, as an entrepreneur, you have a great idea, you know how to solve problems and drive for results, and most importantly – the tenacity to see it through. To successfully grow your business you need to be realistic. To make sure you’re successful it’s essential to reassess your priorities, focus on what makes you thrive and evaluate what is holding you back.
If anyone in the group has tips on how Nathan can further improve customer engagement, please post your comments below.