Next generation family business ownership

You’ve probably heard of an elevator pitch.  From the time you enter the elevator, until the time you hit the ground floor, are you able to tell your story?  Could you tell someone about your kids? Sure!  How about your favorite tv show or sports team? Easy!  Now, could you clearly articulate why your company is the best?

There are three ways that you might be better than the rest:

  • Is there something that clearly makes you better than the competition?
  • Is there something new that your company offers and others don’t have it yet?
  • What do you do that is completely unique?

I’ve asked hundreds of business owners and marketing people what makes them better than anyone else.  Usually, the answer is the service we provide.  But after a quick check with the front desk or social media posts, and we often find out that great service is not always consistent.

What distinguishes one accountant or lawyer from the next?  There can be a lot, but we probably don’t realize it.  Many hometown companies that have been established for a while think “everyone knows us” – but if you’re truly the best, why isn’t everyone shopping with you?  Don’t trick yourself in to thinking everyone knows why you are better.  You don’t need to bash your competitor to sing the praises of your store.  So, have a team meeting and try to come up with ten things that you think make you better.  Then, ask some of your best customers which from that list of ten they most agree with.  Once you are able to narrow your list to one or two items, it’s time to work with your team and/or marketing person to figure out how to tell that story in a matter of seconds.

Does our firm have a newer product or service that some associates have not mastered yet?  If so, how can you explain it to a stranger so that they are intrigued after 10 seconds?  This might take some work.  Often, our employees are not comfortable explaining something that is brand new, so they don’t have enough conviction about the benefits to others.  You probably conducted some new product training and taught them about the service, but do you know what they comprehended?  Think back on past launches of your new offers on social media or in an ad.  Can you and every member of your team bring knowledge and energy to that special opportunity?

Unique actions are the ones that really make for a great elevator story.  My wife gets her oil changed at the more expensive car dealership because they have the best coffee in town.  I’ve worked with a jeweler who makes couples feel special.  One of the associates on his staff escort the lady to see the gems that they really hope to buy – while another associate escorts the gentleman over to the free full bar with ESPN on the television.  What can you do that is unique?  Spending a few extra dollars can lead to a lifetime of repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising.  What is your on-going service plan to make sure the customer remains happy after the sales is done?  Take ten minutes at your next staff meeting and ask everyone to add their ideas to whiteboard and become something special.

You don’t need to have a great answer to all three questions above, but you need to have an amazing elevator pitch for at least one of them.  What is your 10 second elevator pitch?  Once you’ve got it down, make sure every employee believes it and practices telling the story.  Get on television and share your elevator story with the community.  Your company is the best, so be proud and shout it out loud.

#SMB #Hometown #localbusiness #tvadvertising #elevatorstory

The Family Business

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