Presentation & Offer to Auckland Puketepapa Businesses

On Tuesday 17th September, Debra Chantry gave a presentation to businesses in the Auckland Puketepapa region.

 

The presentation was on DIgital Marketing – and simple strategies to achieve results. The full presentation is here:

 

Presentation – Auckland Puketapapa Board (original)

 

This can be read in conjunction with my articles for The Icehouse, to develop a full digital marketing strategy for your business:

 

How to write a digital marketing strategy that gets results.

 

A Special Offer to grow your business profitably!

 

As an offer to those who attended the presentation, I will offer a 3 month coaching programme at 50% off the normal price.

For $685 per month + GST we will run a  3 month ‘one-on-one’ business coaching programme that provides you with the tools & the motivation to deliver profitable growth for your business by establishing:

• Your Marketing Goals & KPIs
• Your Strategic Plan for achieving these goals
• An achievable Sales & Marketing Plan – identifying your target market, their pain point & your opportunities
• A working plan that covers Actions, Communications & Accountability

What do we provide?

• Marketing planning tools, templates & guidance to complete the plans
• Guidance to develop KPIs, systems & processes into your business
• Coaching to hold you accountable for achieving KPIs

The programme includes:

• Initial 4 hour consultation – to understand the business & its challenges / opportunities
• 1½ hour face to face meeting fortnightly over 3 months
• Final 2 hour session to close the programme.

Your Commitment:

• Quarterly ½ day sessions
• 1½ hour face to face meeting fortnightly
• 3-5 hours per week to develop the plans, KPIs, systems & processes

 

Just Email Us if you would like to take advantage of this offer.

 

Terms & Conditions:

  • Coaching will start in November 2013
  • Coaching must be completed by February 2014

 

Q & A around pricing for start-up businesses

I was recently contacted, through The Icehouse where I work as an Executive in Residence & Business Coach, to answer some questions for www.stuff.co.nz on pricing for start-ups.

Here are the questions that I was asked and my full answers.

Written by Debra Chantry, Principal Consultant.

 

1.     Is there a temptation to price too low? What are the risks of just trying to undercut competition?

 

There is always a temptation to price too low, particularly when you’re a start-up and you think that the only way you can grab market share is to make it cheaper for people.

 

This is particularly evident in the service sector, where people look at ‘big company’ prices and realise that they can charge a lot less than big companies because they don’t have the overheads.

 

Pricing is always a short-term strategy & one of 2 things will happen over time. You will become a larger company and will start to encompass some of these overheads, which means that you can no longer sustain the lower prices, or someone with bigger pockets will drop their prices to match or beat yours… and no-one wins in this situation.

 

The reality is that if you have established a real ‘pain point’ and / or a ‘unique value proposition’ then customers will not choose you on price alone. They will come to you because you offer them something that they need or want and they will be prepared to pay for value.

 

The same applies for products & services.

 

 

2.     Is there a temptation to price to overvalue services in the hope of making big returns?

 

Not generally.

 

What I do find is that people underestimate the costs of running a company in general. Often people miss out on the basic costs or don’t think to the future when the company grows and what additional costs that is likely to bring. As a consequence they tend to undervalue their products & services and price too low.

 

I also find that Kiwis, and particularly female entrepreneurs tend to undervalue their own time & experience. We work with many companies where we take them through an exercise to understand what value they truly offer and it almost always results in increasing prices.

 

That said, there are cases where people have over-valued their product or service and often a change in price will create significant increase in demand, that substantially affects the profitability of a company. This can work both with a price increase and a price decrease if the pricing is wrong. It’s about getting the right balance and understanding what value you offer, what margin it can support and the competitive nature of the industry that you are working within.

 

 

 

3.     How do you accurately value your skills and services to meet the market when you’re starting out, so you don’t have to make big adjustments later.

 

We encourage every start-up to do an analysis of the competitive environment. This would include things such as pricing, features & benefits, positioning, quality, selection, service, reliability etc.

 

From here we work with frameworks that help you map out the environment and see where your niche is and what value is to the customer, and therefore what margins it can support.

 

Once a company has established their niche and their value, then pricing becomes an easier task.

 

 

4.     How common a problem is it for start-ups to get the pricing wrong – and what are the implications of getting it wrong

 

It is very common for start-ups to get pricing wrong. The implications of this is that they may get stuck in a business where they are working long hours, are not reaping the rewards and can not afford to bring anyone else in to help them.

 

Additionally they risk losing customers when they put their prices up.

 

It does sometimes happen in reverse when the price has been too high and a small adjustment can significantly increase demand but in general I would say that it is easier to start higher and lower your prices than it is to put them up.

 

Written by Debra Chantry (Principal / Business Coach) for stuff.co.nz.

The 4 stages of life every successful start up must go through

Taken from: http://pandodaily.com/2013/09/04/the-four-stages-of-life-every-successful-startup-must-go-through/

 

If you’ve ever been to a startup event, you’d be awed by the intriguing ideas entrepreneurs come up with — revolutionary jumps that change the way we think about the world, or small incremental ideas that make us relearn everything we know about friends, work, or even coffee. It’s pretty hard not to be awed.

But for all their brilliance, most startup entrepreneurs have distorted ideas about customer service, and what it means to their seedling ventures. After all, when you are a garage startup trying to change the world, the first and most important thing you need is traction, and the second: staying alive. Most startups procrastinate on servicing customers to keep them happy until they have gone mainstream. No surprise that a good chunk of these startups don’t survive very long.

The idea of customer service has moved beyond old school concepts like phone lines and operators, email and FAQs. With social media and word of mouth, the level and quality of support that a startup offers right from its zeroth customer can make or break their brand.

How and why should startups care about delivering exceptional customer experiences?

Typically, there are four stages of life every startup goes through before it hits critical mass. And the way it manages customers through each stage can be the difference between survival and death.

1. From 0 to 100: Winning traction – No matter how brilliant an idea or how excellent a product you have, you don’t have a real business until you win your first 10 customers.

So, how do you spread the word to get your first 10 customers? You can bomb Facebook and Twitter with promos, but that will probably lead you to bankruptcy before you even get the product out. Or you can get the big name evangelists to talk about you. Except you can’t build your startup on the hope of a Robert Scoble review.

Some businesses, like Dropbox, have woven virality into their products. But for most other businesses, the fastest way to both achieve product/market fit and generate referrals through word of mouth is by creating lasting customer experiences.

It’s important for early-stage startups to stay close to their customers. What do their beta testers really think? How are the first few customers using their product? What are the biggest problems they face?

The first five customers who stay with you for over three months will be steering your startup’s direction forever. Get closer, know them, and solve their problems, and you can win.

2. Life in the chasm – There is a big gap between what early adopters expect from a product, and what the bigger chunk of the market actually needs. The main reason behind “startup infanticide” is the failure to identify and overcome this gap. It’s important for marketing to be targeted and aligned with each type of customer.

Geoffrey Moore’s book “Crossing the Chasm” best describes the Grand Canyon that every adventurous entrepreneur must leap over to “get” to the market. The Chasm is the region of uncertainty a business goes through before it gets to product/market fit. And the shortest way to get there is by actively listening to the customer and implementing the promised features on schedule.

Most startups forget to create easy mechanisms in their products that can tap and organize user feedback. And when entrepreneurs aren’t listening to bug reports, feature ideas, and support requests from customers, bad things begin to happen.

KurbKarma is a great example of a startup that had to fight hard to find product/market fit. Early adopters found the concept of an app that helped people find and share parking spots in San Francisco interesting. But that wasn’t enough for the company to hit critical mass. The only way KurbKarma could reach its market was by listening to and incentivising existing customers to get more active. Today, if you are stuck trying to park between Market and 10th, KurbKarma makes it easy to first find a parking spot, and then share it with the world when you are ready.

Alternatively, you can jetpack your way across the chasm by going viral like UberConference did. Every UberConference call includes an unobtrusive suggestion for participants to sign up with the service. It is simple, effective, and provides your business inherent virality.

But don’t slack off or stop once your business gains traction. Get feedback and incorporate it. If you build software, stick to your promises and product cycles.

3. Uninhabited communities: Jumping the Graveyard – The third stage of the life-cycle starts once customers trickle in. Early customers bring with them ideas, suggestions, and bug reports at no cost. As KurbKarma showed, an engaged user community is the fastest way to get to any startup to the next stage.

When people pass by a building with broken windows, it’s natural for a few to throw a stone and further damage the property. The level of anarchy then progressively increases until soon you find squatters and a whole bunch of antisocial activities at play. The Broken Window Theory is often used in criminology to explain how a small problem can quickly escalate to a much larger crime.

Interestingly, the theory and its fundamental psychology play just as hard in the success of a startup as it does in criminology. Nobody wants to be the first to refer a friend or start a conversation.

This is where your passionate users come to your rescue — directing customers to an online community where the business actively participates and gives them the platform to engage and get all the help they need. Seeding conversations, building relationships, and engaging with users even before launch day ensures you don’t end up with a ghost town.

Seed discussions and inspire early users to build out your community right from Day Zero.

4. Credibility and building trust – The final and perhaps most important stage in the lifecycle of a startup is getting to a point where customers can comfortably whip out their wallets and pay for the service they receive. But first, they need to trust you. And you get there by being responsive, eliciting user feedback and communicating with your early, most enthusiastic power users.

Let’s face it, though. There is no quick and dirty way to earn credibility, especially in the early days before a startup acquires its first customers. The best bet is to provide every customer with an experience that keeps him asking for more — right from signup and on-boarding, all the way to customer service and beyond.

In other words, the surest way to build credibility is by consistently wowing customers through exceptional experiences.

Debra Chantry in NEXT Magazine’s 30 Women of the Year 2013

Wow – I am so excited to be a finalist amongst these amazing women – Debra 🙂

NEXT Magazine – October 2013 – Read the full article here.

Back bigger and better than ever, the fourth NEXT Woman of the Year Awards has attracted entries
from all corners of the country and all walks of life.

The countdown is on to the announcement of New Zealand’s most inspirational female: the NEXT Woman of the Year 2013. This month we introduce the finalists in our six categories: Arts & Culture, Business & Innovation, Education, Community, Health & Science, and Sport. While many impressive women entered, these 30 stood out.

They’re all innovative, inspirational leaders with tremendous determination, passion, perseverance, lateral thinking and courage who have battled their way past numerous obstacles. And they’re all having a positive impact on the people around them and the country we live in. Whether they’re helping migrants settle here or sending birthday cakes to sick children, starting charities in their garages or founding film festivals and arts projects, championing isolated groups or fighting for law change, making major medical breakthroughs or discovering new planets, leading the world in their chosen sport or helping businesses become sustainable, every one of them deserves a round of applause. And an encore.

Debra Chantry - Business Coach - NEXT woman of the Year Finalist 2013 - Business Category

 

Next Woman of the Year 2013 - Finalist - Business Category - Debra Chantry | Business Coach
Debra Chantry - Business Coach - NEXT woman of the Year Finalist 2013 - Business Category