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Defining Your Uniqueness
Spend some time thinking about how your business is, or could be different. This could be an existing attribute, such as your own unique skills, experience and expertise, or it could be a difference in approach. When you think about large corporations, there is almost always one thing that stands out about their service or products, that has become a crucial part of their brand. Think about McDonalds for example – their USP? Very fast service, combined with cheap food. It may not be rocket science, but it has worked!
By offering just a little bit of a difference, adding value to your services, you can create your own USP that sets you apart. You may choose to offer longer hours – working a few extra hours a week that your competitors do not. On the other hand, you may include a specific service free with any project. I know of consultants who offer a free strategy and IT assessment to each potential client. Not only do they assess exactly what their client’s needs are, they provide solutions for free too. It may be extra work, but it pays off in terms of business!
So figure out how you are going to make your business stand out from the crowd, and build it into your marketing plan
Additional Products and Services
As a consulting startup or small business, your core business is selling your time and knowledge. However, there is only so much time you have to sell. How do you add additional income streams, which create residual income for you? The simplest way is to develop “off the shelf” solutions for potential clients.
I know a labour law consultant who developed a “starter pack” for new businesses, based on the requirements for starting a business. His pack includes basic employee contracts, forms and generic documents, which he sells at a fixed rate. Aside from the time required to set up the package, there is no further drain on his resources to provide this product to clients. Other ideas could include books or e-books relating to your niche, that you could write and sell, or, if for example, you are involved in computers, developing a customized software solution. The possibilities for extra products and services are virtually endless, and once produced, you really do not need to spend any extra time on them, in order to gain income. The great part about this is that you are able to service more clients, and those that buy your off the shelf solutions may still become consulting clients at a later stage.
Think outside the box a little, develop your ideas, and start creating them now. A few hours every evening should have your offering ready to market in no time, and then you can sit back and get back to the serious business!
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