Getting to your customers first: Stages of business growth and maturity, part two

Starting a business is easy. Nearly anyone can start a business. But staying in business is the more difficult challenge. Scaling a business may also be more challenging. Of course, a lot depends on the type of business, the team and timing. Did you get that? The type of business, the team and the timing. Type, Team and Timing. We will explore this more in depth in part one. That’s right, the prequel is coming!

I have personally started businesses and been a part of scaling businesses, including one that was eventually sold. In one case we had a great product, the team was decent but the timing was off.

Reach out to me for coaching or consulting or read here about building an autonomous team if you are in the sustain or scale phase, if that is what your business need is right now.

During each phase of business growth and maturity, there are distinct activities. While any phase may include the activities listed below, the primary emphasis and prioritization of activities are generally the same. Plainly, you’re going to do a lot more of some things and less of others depending on what phase of growth and maturity your business is in.

So, let’s put first things first! You can have the best team, impeccable timing and the right type of business for you and your team to start, but, if you can not reach your customers, you do not have a sustainable business.

So, why post this first about getting to your customers first? Because without customers you have no business. Without customers you have an idea, you have an invention or a minimum viable product. Maybe you have a few customers, but are they enough to sustain your business?

Every business has competition and a limited number of customers. Getting the first few customers does not mean that you will get to the next few customers first. That is, before your competition.

In order to stay in business you have to get to the customer first or be found first when they are searching and ready to buy. Did I mention that every market has a limited number of customers?

So, How do you plan to Get there first?

Some buyers demand a fast response. If someone has an emergency HVAC, or Heating & Air Conditioning or plumbing emergency, then getting there first in the middle of a hot summer or cold winter is critical. At other times buyers are willing to wait for a unique specialty service or quality. Think about loyal iPhone fans waiting in line for the latest release or that popular Food Truck line.

In comparison, a famous architect or a reputable general contractor, kitchen and bath designer and remodeler may have customers waiting for their service. However, sometimes, even in these cases, a new competitor will take new business just because they got to the buyer first or were found by a buyer searching.

Sometimes a buyer is ready to make a purchase, but no one has simply reached them to offer the product, service or solution. Customers are humans and humans are creatures of habit and behaviors. Understanding buyer behavior can unlock more sales. I will also post more on this later. For now, let’s consider customer desire and demand.

It is important to understand the difference between customer desire and demand.

Customers are creatures of desire and demand

Customer demand is when something is essential. It can also be used to describe the quality of service and customer experience that a type of customer demands in order to make a purchase from one supplier versus another.

No matter what the case may be, getting to the customer before your direct and indirect competition is critical. Direct and indirect? Don’t worry, I will also post on this in the future. Well, why keep you waiting? Indirect competition is stuff that is not the same product or service, but an alternative that your would be customer decides to spend their money on instead. Say you’re in the home services industry, for example, an indirect competition to a customer spending to remodel their kitchen might be spending on a vacation instead. Who cultivated their desire better? Who got to them first to make the sale?

Cultivating desire

Content can cultivate desire. Hello social. Hello Instagram. What this means is you are putting relevant content out there to create a desire for them to buy from you. Well cultivated desire creates demand. How are you cultivating your potential customer’s desire?

Reach out to me and let’s map it out.

Be found first.

What is better than getting to your customer first? Being found first when they need your service or are searching for an indirect or direct competitor. Did you get that? Perhaps you have already thought about and invested in your customers finding you when they search for direct competition, but what about indirect alternatives?

Reach out to me and let’s map it out.