While growth company and start-up venture owners and managers know their enterprises inside-out, many presume customers, competitors and observers share that understanding -- that a company's capabilities and attributes are self-evident. After all, they think, doesn't everybody see what we live day in and day out? But without clear, conscious definition of your position in your marketplace, you may be invisible to prospects, who will either ignore you, or spend time getting to know you which could be better spent doing business with you.
New market entry
What works in your home market -- where competition, regulation, legal issues and customers are familiar -- may not translate as you look to expand into other markets or open new distribution channels. A successful entry requires thorough market intelligence, knowledge of participants and competitors, accurate estimates of investment and resource requirements, clear objectives and a battle plan for execution, follow through and success.
While utilizing distribution partnerships to reach pools of prospects and customers promises efficiency and lower cost, selling through channels bring a new set of challenges. Channel partner need to meet specific standards to ensure accurate and effective representation. Without direct access to the customer, marketing programs must compensate for your absence. Third party representatives may need scripting and field support -- not to mention attractive incentives. And customers delivered through alternative channels may require different forms of support.
Many growth companies -- hungry to build business at almost any cost -- fall into the trap of competing on price. This can unnecessarilty doom them to 'commodity' status in their customers' eyes. Clear differentiation and positioning can help, as can understanding your customers' 'pain' and your competitors' shortcomings. But so can re-defining what you offer in ways that are of greater value and service to prospects and customers. How can you change the customer experience or the way products in your industry are presented and sold in such a way as to remove you from comparison with competitors stuck selling on price.