Estimated reading time: 3 mins
“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” Is that a quote that makes you think of folks looking for excuses for their own failures? Sometimes, that’s all there is to it. But there are times when “who you know” can be a huge advantage for your business – and the best part is that you’ve got more control over that than the adage implies. It’s also far less sneaky than it sounds. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Know Your Suppliers
Since you’ll be trusting various suppliers of goods and services to support you as you grow your business, choosing “who you know” is a really important step for your business. So, if you’re delivering to customers in Florida, know your Florida couriers. Check out the overall market they operate in, find out more about their businesses, and make a purposeful decision about who you’ll support with clearly defined reasons as to why you’re supporting them.
2. Know Your Customers and End-Users
In the world of business, your customers may or may not be the end-users of your product. If there’s an entity that stands between you and the end-user, find other ways to get to know the market that ultimately consumes your product. At the same time, know your direct customers’ preferences.
If you can deliver what end-users want, and satisfy any organizations that supply your products to them, you’ve found a winning recipe. Are people actively looking for your products? Why or why not? The answer could be the secret to your success.
3. Know Your Competitors
Every business has competitors – and they might be found in surprising places. For example, if your business offers a leisure-time activity, your competitors are every single business that offers a fun thing people can do in their spare time. That even includes the TV! Your challenge is to get customers off the couch, steer them past other leisure activities, and get them knocking on your door. Without knowing what you’re up against, you’re leaving it to chance.
So, when considering competitors, don’t just look at businesses like yours. Consider where customers might spend their money and why they might be willing to sacrifice that product and choose yours instead. Got it? You might just have found your most important selling point.
Of course, direct competitors matter too, and burying your head in the sand won’t make them go away. Although you love what you do, try discarding your partiality and thinking about what they’re doing better than you do, and what you do better than they do. You don’t need to beat them on every point, but you do need to provide customers with a compelling reason to choose you instead.
When You Don’t Know, Ask
It sounds so simple, but just asking a few careful questions could put you in possession of the facts you need to know your suppliers, customers, and competitors better. And since that could give you a very real advantage and help you to make decisions that matter, it’s worth thinking through.
Ask yourself “What do I think I know?” and “How did I reach that conclusion?” While gut feel can be perfectly correct, you may be surprised just how little you know about the people and organizations that matter to your business. Isn’t it time you found out?Once you have the questions, you’ll be ready to look at how to get answers. From market research to data integration that helps you draw conclusions from existing information, knowing the questions is the first step towards understanding the people you need to know to help your business’s growth.