15 Ways to Give your Business an Unfair Advantage – Part one


 Here are some great tips I read recently in Real Business Magazine. Parts two and three to follow soon!

1. Keep your customers happy – at all cost

“Start with the customer. What makes your proposition better than anyone else’s?” asks Simon Calver, chief executive of LoveFilm. He says LoveFilm’s brand is built around three core principles – range, value and convenience – which is hard-wired into every LoveFilm employee’s brain. It seems to work: today the movie rental firm has 1.6 million subscribers across the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. “Make your customers love you by offering them the best customer service you possibly can. The customer is always king.”

2. Go into partnership

Sometimes being an entrepreneur isn’t about doing it all yourself – it’s about finding the right partners to grow your business. Take Specsavers, which has a 42 per cent market share in the UK. The company operates a franchise model, where the stores are split in a 50/50 joint venture basis between Specsavers and the individual optician: “All of our optometrists have a guaranteed salary and the loans they put into the business are usually paid back by the company within three years. “ explains founder Dame May Perkins. “The structure of these partnerships hasn’t changed in the past 27 years.” Share the profits, share the risk.

3. Measure everything

“There’s always talk about how entrepreneurs are big risk takers. But, in fact, when you’re running your own business, you make sure the way you roll the dice is in your favour,” explains LoveFilm’s Calver. “Every move is calculated. Entrepreneurs are actually far more analytical and focussed than many big corporates.” For example, with more than 500 marketing campaigns on at any moment, LoveFilm measures “absolutely everything” it can, to keep on top of its spend.

4. Encourage reviews and recommendations

“Reviews are becoming huge – 73 per cent of all shoppers check with other consumers or friends before purchasing from an unknown brand,” says Andy Phillipps, Reevoo’s chairman. “Business owners consistently underestimate just how willing consumers are to write reviews. If asked, 15% will review products and services without any incentive at all.” Just look at LoveFilm: its customers have generated 80 million film ratings and written 843,000 member reviews, helping LoveFilm to promote the most relevant titles.

5. Make your idea actually happen

“Too many people walk away from a good idea and blame it on something like the recession. But to be successful, you have to stay really determined,” says Richard Harpin, the boss of  insurance and maintenance giant  Homeserve. “When people come to you and ask whether you’ve thought of ‘this’ or ‘that’, don’t get distracted. Have a single-minded focus.” He adds that while you can work on developing other parts of the business simultaneously, you have to keep true to your original goals – and never give up. “Develop other products, channels and markets but keep it true to your vision. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t just walk away when things don’t go as planned.”

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2 Responses

  1. […] 30 August 2011 by Chantal  Here are some great tips I read recently in Real Business Magazine. Click here to read part one; part three to follow […]

  2. […] Here are some great tips I read recently in Real Business Magazine. Click here to read parts one and […]

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