Knowing Your customer

So I pride myself on understanding customers, on knowing how to research customers, what information we need to know/have before we start our businesses, how and why to identify customer drivers and motivations, how they make choices, why they make certain choices, what influences choice, whether the customer is a B2B customer or a B2C customer.  I meet so many business owners that I often feel like I know immediately who wants their business to succeed and will really put in the hard work to achieve that success.

Yesterday I was preparing for a customer appointment at 4pm. I was all ready, just reviewing notes when the phone rang. I answered it myself. It was a company owner looking for mentoring. His business was about 4 months old, turnover was very low and he needed help.  I spent about 15 minutes on the phone with him  – helped him see a few areas he needed to change in order to improve business performance and increase sales.  We then got onto what he wanted from me.

The man was looking for mentoring and wanted a price. I thought for a minute, he seemed very focused, short of money, nice business idea that needs work to take off and I thought I should help this person. Business for me is good, everything is going well , I am not actually taking on any new clients at the moment, and I thought this means it’s time to pay it forward! He really seemed like he wanted to make a change in his business. I offered him a price that was next to nothing for a few hours mentoring.  He turned around and said he would have to think about it! What a learning for me! I read him wrong! What I thought was a gift, an opportunity to give back to someone who was driven to succeed, was not what he wanted. I didn’t mention it was a gift, I just gave a price for 6 hours to get some focus into the business.

Today I go back to the drawing board for a bit to really go back to consider customer needs and wants. Business Owners, do not look a gift horse in the mouth when someone wants to help you! It comes from a good place !

Getting Your Business Strategy Right

When it comes to your business, regardless of its size or sector, having a solid plan for the future, matters. Whether yours is a young medium-sized enterprise or a long-standing larger organisation, having a good business strategy is vital to the success of your company or brand.

What exactly is strategy and what do you need to do to make it realistic and relevant? What needs to be in your plan? Figuring out where you want your business to be in the future and how to get there can take effort, but it is a worthwhile investment. It can mean the difference between your business becoming stagnant or flourishing in the months and years to come.

 Just what exactly is Strategy?

Sometimes organisations are unclear about the direction they will take or they simply work from month to month, without a clear focus on the future. Having a distinct, well-researched business strategy is essential to the growth of any business, but what exactly is Strategy?

Strategy is used by organisations to give direction, allocate resources effectively and make decisions in pursuit of the organisation’s objectives. Strategy is essential, both in terms of planning for future success and coping with challenges along the way. Strategy is more than a set of aspirations; it’s a coherent vision of what your business can be and it’s a plan of how to get there.

A solid business strategy will determine the set of activities the business chooses In order to deliver a unique mix of value.  Strategy sets out the vision and management determines the goals to achieve that vision. Your strategy should provide a plan of how to use the bank of skills and resources you have already and how to make decisions and act upon them, in order to reach your business objectives. In short, a successful business strategy is a solid plan for how you want your business to look in the future. 

Lead from the Front

As a business leader, owner or manager, it’s important to be at the forefront of devising strategy. This may include working with expertise outside your organisation and it will definitely mean listening to staff, conducting an internal organisational review and utilising all the resources you already have. Getting the most out of strategy creation will need you to believe in and be involved in the whole process.

As the leader of your organisation, you need to be able to analyse the influencing factors that affect it, both inside and outside your business. You may also need to make changes to your business to increase your chances of success.

Keep it Simple but Make it Smart

Successful strategies are consistent and should be easily understood by all the stakeholders. Keep it simple. Set clear and understandable objectives.

Often an organisation leader is so close to the business that they overlook strengths or challenges that appear more obvious to an external expert. However you decide to approach strategy, make sure that its implementation is designed to be clear and understandable for everyone to buy into it.

Smart strategy relies on collating knowledge. Owners and senior managers know their organisations. They understand the sum of its capabilities, the resources; whether financial, human or physical. They also need to know where their business stands in the external environment. They need to know their market and to identify the opportunities. The more information you gather about the internal and external environments the organisation operates in, the more awareness you have of your own organisations’ abilities and consequently its positioning within the market.

A solid plan of action will be based on smart principles and be easy to understand. It will involve all organisation stakeholders.  A successful Business Strategy relies on the knowledge, drive and buy-in of your key people. Start off with this in mind and you’ll be open to transforming how you drive your organisation.

About Business in Mind  

Business in Mind was established in 2005 by Business Consultant and Strategist, Fiona Carmody. Fiona has over 20 years’ experience as a business growth specialist and international business development consultant. Fiona holds an MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Finance. She is a qualified Business and Executive Coach. Fiona also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration.

Business in Mind provides Business Consultancy in a range of areas, including Strategic Planning and Business Growth,  Planning and Development . If your business is considering reviewing your Strategy or developing a new Strategic Plan contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation grow.

If you are interested in our customised strategy workshop (currently online due to Covid) for your business, complete our contact form and we will contact you to discuss your requirements.  You can also book a Consultancy Discovery Call on our online booking application on our website

The Other Side of Life

So when we get FAQs we often get asked who are we? What are we about? What sort of people are we?

Our website gives some insights into our professional identity but probably not so much about our personal identity.

Having grown up in Dublin, our principal, Fiona Carmody was always keen to balance business life with country living. This goal was achieved 15 years ago. Fiona’s hobby outside of work is the Farm she runs with her husband John in Co Meath ably assisted by their family dogs.

When Fiona is not in boardrooms, in training rooms, on Zoom sessions with clients or digging through Business Plans and Cashflows and Profit and Loss Accounts, she can be found on the farm checking livestock, checking fences or walking the dogs or in the Wicklow mountains with family and friends.