I attend a business lunch in London last week. At the lunch, all attendees were asked to provide tips for the holiday. The gentleman sat next to me stood up and said his tip was: everyone needed to try Samsung mobile phones because they are amazing.
As if we were in Apple HQ, as almost everyone shouted at him to sit down. The usually polite host basically lost it and admonished him to never use the word Samsung in the room any longer.
As I watched the episode unfold, an envious thought crossed my mind. I envied Apple. How do you get people so loyal to your brand that they are willing to risk confrontation at a business lunch?
My second thought was: how can Samsung persuade harden Apple fans like the ones at the lunch to switch?
As far as I could tell, there was no one at that lunch working for Apple neither was there anyone on Apple’s promotion payroll. Yet they defended Apple with such passion you may be forgiven for thinking they are relations of Steve Jobs.
In a way, this is the battle many small and start-up businesses have to contend with on a daily basis. There is the saying that: there is nothing new under the sun. Everything you are aiming to do as a business owner has already been done by someone else.
Except of course if it is a new invention, most service businesses have already been established by someone else. If an entrepreneur lawyer wanted to open a law firm, or an accountant wanted to open an accounting firm or a doctor deciding to open a private medical practice, what will they be brining to the legal, accounting or medical marketplace that does not already exist?
Imagine opening a new Bangladeshi restaurant in your town. Do you imagine you will be the first person to open a Bangladeshi restaurant in your town?
If the type of business you want to establish does not already exist in your town, maybe there is no market for that type of product or service. If those types of businesses already exist, the question you need to answer is: how will you convince the loyal customers of those other businesses to try your business?
This is a challenges and it is a challenge that you will need to overcome to be able to establish your brand in an already crowded marketplace.
The first step of the process of bulldozing your way into an already crowded marketplace is to ask the question: why do you exist as a business?
What gap do you intend on filling in the market. Many services businesses suck at customer service.
So will your business be about providing exceptional customer service?
This is how Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com explained this point: “At Zappos.com, we decided a long time ago that we didn’t want our brand to be just about shoes, or clothing, or even online retailing. We decided that we wanted to build our brand to be about the very best customer service and the very best customer experience.”
With that concept, Zappos.com built a multimillion dollars business from selling something as ordinary as shoe.
What is your business about?
Is it about the thing you sell?
Is it about the service you provide?
Do you know anyone who will say: law, I have never heard of law before, what a new concept.
Your business is not about law, accounting, dentistry, medicine or food, it is about the extra thing you bring to the table.
Competition is getting fiercer in many marketplaces yet new businesses keeps creeping up regularly and taking over those markets by storm. Before the establishment of Domino pizza, many other pizza joints existed.
However, like Zappos.com, the founder of Domino Pizza spotted the delivery time gap in the market, hence the reason Domino Pizza USP “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free”.
This is how you bust into an already crowded marketplace, by coming up with a bold claim and putting in place mechanism for fulfilling that claim.
As you read this article, the question you need to ask yourself is: what is your 30 minutes or less in your business. If you want to steal the sort of fanatical Apple customers that were at the lunch, you need something that will make your business stand tall above your competitors.
I do not fancy Samsung chance against Apple but you never know.
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