NEW: Jane Shelton
Monday, October 15, 2007/
Now the election date is set, there are optimists (home business) and pessimists (larger enterprises).
The challenge of choice
The election has been called and your life just changed. So are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Now that the race to the GG’s house has been run and the poll set for 24 November, home business owners had better brush up on the basics of marketing.
There are two quite distinct views of what we will face in the run up to Christmas – the optimistic view from the home business perspective and the pessimistic view from the medium enterprise perspective.
The optimistic view from the home based perspective is looking forward to major infrastructure projects, new solar and high tech opportunities, major improvements to local heath and education services and a genuine high speed broadband network to give access to a world market.
This optimistic perspective also requires a total review of the basics of marketing efforts for SMEs because it will be vital to expand our export of professional services, invite a larger number of tourists who want to come to the great Aussie wild country and consider becoming a distributor of new products, services and experiences being generated from a more open and international Australia.
Meanwhile the pessimistic, big end of town will be cutting back expenditure, delaying major projects and promoting the view that a change of government will turn back the clock. There’s likely to be the continued promotion of the fear that interest rates will go back to the worrying days of Hawke and Keating, a focus on more troops in Afghanistan, increased intake of skilled refugees to feed the labour market and even more IR hype and scare tactics that unions are taking over the country.
Under either scenario, it is going to require a great deal of determined strategic marketing to create new customer bases and expand on the basic skills that have been supported by the resources boom of the last decade.
The pessimistic scenario requires advertising and deep discounts to win the attention of a depressed, anxious community that fears a change of government and put away up to $150,000 a year into a super fund. The optimistic scenario requires an emphasis on relationship marketing, appointment of people to reach out to new territories and a commitment to high quality, premium customer service and increased margins that are invested in innovation, creativity and staff development.
Home business operators who want to adopt the optimistic path must invest time and effort in finding out what their customer segments need, want, hope and believe that they can get from a relationship with smaller, more responsive business suppliers. They need to get close to customers, ask them questions about service and their perceptions about the relationship with the home business. The four Ps become critical for the success of home business:
- Product – home business have to focus on value creation and value delivery even more than the big end of town and need to be innovative to capture new market trends.
- Price – do a competitive assessment to see what’s happening in your industry, find out what competitors are offering and decide on your positioning within the market.
- Promotion – advertising, public relations, direct mail, publicity (local newspapers love to do stories about successful people in local areas) but have you contacted the journalists to let them know about your home business? Use internet with a fantastic website, business networks, word-of-mouth, attend trade shows.
- Place – yes, your business operates from home, but your products could be global in distribution through the net and home business operators need to be supply-chain savvy to ensure no delivery hiccups.
Elections, like hurricanes, have a safe spot in the eye of the storm. The key to success is to prepare for the worst through increasing your marketing effort and be ready to get things going again when the winds of electoral change have blown past.
Dr Jane Shelton not only runs a business from home but is doing business research into people working from home. She is managing director of Marshall Place Associates, Melbourne’s independent think tank, and CEO (honourary) for ‘Life. Be in it.’ International. Shelton has a Doctorate in Business Administration at the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) at Swinburne University of Technology after a Master of Arts in Public Policy at Melbourne University and a Bachelor of Business in banking and finance at Monash University.
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