What Makes Your Business Stand Out?
How do you communicate the worth of your small business to potential new clients when you offer an intangible service, rather than a physical product? That was the key question emerging from the ‘Question Mastermind’ session at the latest meeting of the Small Business Network, held, as usual, at Sable D’Or in Muswell Hill.
And the answer? Visualisation. Small business owners must find a way to paint a picture of their service – of what they can do for their customers – through real or hypothetical examples, through videos on web sites, through detailed explanations.A business coach could, for instance, explain how he or she solved a particular problem for a client, or motivated their customer to change the way in which they operated. No names need to be given, so client confidentiality is not compromised: just what the small business owner did to resolve the situation.
A financial advisor could give examples of money they saved their client, or the benefits of a particular piece of investment advice they provided.
A nutritionist could present a ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenario of how someone’s health improved after following their dietary advice.
The Question Mastermind session didn’t just come up with practical advice, either: it was another good way for small business owners to network, to get to know each other a little bit more. And as anyone who runs a small business knows, the more you get to know someone, the more likely that person is to buy your products or services.
Four new networkers joined 11 regular Small Business Network attendees in May, three of them photographers. For Dan Bridge, the SBN meeting was his first-ever networking event. He can photograph people and products, but also specialises in recording every stage of any event.
Ian Harding, who runs Crispy Dog Productions, can also take photographs to commission, but is most interested in developing his film and video production service for small businesses.
And Alistair McNaugton – an interloper all the way from Oz who accompanied SBN regular Debby Sass – runs Desert Images, which supplies photographs from his world-wide travels.
The fourth new member, Yvonne De Coteau, runs two small online businesses: one selling mosquito nets, the other specialising in those unusual things you just have to have, like sewing kits, hand-held sewing machines, foot warmers and dental kits.
Debby Sass, known for her amazing cakes, used the networking meeting to promote her other small business: making jewellery out of recycled material, while Rina Patel, a family lawyer, put out a call for other professionals – e.g. accountants or therapists – to get in touch to work with her in providing an all-in package for her clients.
After all, the bigger the picture you can paint, the more likely you are to make the right impression.