Three Common Marketing Challenges Facing High-Growth CEOs

I frequently consult with small business owners who are interested in identifying more effective ways to go to market. I had a good meeting with a small business owner this afternoon. She owns an outsourced office suite for business owners and entrepreneurs. Her brand is third or fourth in a market led by Regus and a few other players.

Her clients fall into a couple of buckets. Some are solopreneurs who no longer want to work out of their home. Some are in transition and need a nice place to hold meetings as they engage in consulting projects. Others are 2-3 person firms that like the convenience she offers. They have access to a wide range of services from just a mailing address to an office with complete admin services.
We offered some suggestions for the key challenges she faces:

More Well-Known, Corporate-Owned Competitors Who Can Cut Price to Win Deals. We’ve all faced this: We can have a great prospect on the line, but then the bigger competitor who just wants market share can come in and undercut us just to get the deal. In some service markets, we can sometimes win back the customer once the larger competitor shows the limits of their service. Sure, they cut price to get you in the door, but the on-going charges are usually higher and the customer eventually pays more. We laid out a plan to show real costs the customer will eventually pay even if the introductory costs are very low.

Not Knowing the True Value of Each Client. She offers a wide-range of services that would appeal to an individual who wants to separate their home and office lives to a complete, soup-to-nuts setup including full-time administrative support. We asked which customer is more valuable to her. We also asked if it’s better to have 100 lower-end mailbox-only customers and 5 higher-end ones, or 50 low-end and 10 higher-ends. This is important analysis and critical for companies to know. When I was at Compaq, it was always better to sell servers. They were more profitable, led to more add-on business, and opened the doors to more desktop and laptop sales. Same thought process was needed by her.

Which Marketing Activities Had the Biggest Bang for the Buck? Every marketer needs to constantly ask this question: With limited dollars to spend, which activities are going to help me get to my sales goals quicker? We took a look at everything she was doing and ranked them per result. It was good that she already was keeping track of her activities and identifying which ones led to leads which then led to conversions. This was a good place to start.

I’ve worked with some of the largest and most successful companies in the world to help them increase business with more effective go-to-market strategies. It was a good exercise to help this business owner understand some of that thinking and process to help her identify the smartest way to grow her business.

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