2013 Ignite Experience Workshops are announced Posted 6 days ago by Ignite Cornwall
We’re delighted to announce the dates and venues of the 2013 Ignite Experience Workshops; running across the county throughout June, July and August.
If you have a bright idea with the potential to grow into a successful business, but feel you could do with some help in setting off in the right direction, the upcoming Ignite Experience Workshops will equip you with everything you need to start your business.
Open to anyone with a bright idea and hoping to start a business in Cornwall, or who has done so in the last 12 months, the Ignite Experience offers an invaluable boost of business advice from the team of experts at Oxford Innovation.
Coming to a venue near you soon, make sure you book on to one of the following options:
Trelissick Garden in Feock, Truro - on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 June
AIR at Tremough Campus in Penryn - on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 July
Kingsley Village in Fraddon – on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 August
Trethorne Golf Club in Launceston – on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 August
Go to: www.ignitecornwall.eventbrite.com to book your place.
Start up businesses to get a professional helping hand Posted 4 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Next month Cornwall’s leading business support agencies will be joining forces to host a free special event to help anyone looking to start a new business or in the early stages of starting up within the county.
On Tuesday May 14, Francis Clark, Outset Cornwall, Oxford Innovation and the South West Investment Group will be hosting the ‘Start-Up Cornwall’ event at The Lighthouse Cinema in Newquay, from 2pm to 4pm.
The free and informative afternoon has been designed specifically for anyone who has recently started, or looking to start up, a business in Cornwall and who may not necessarily know where to go for support and guidance. New entrepreneurs will have the chance to gather sound advice from established and successful businesses about the many challenges they may soon be faced with, plus the opportunity to network.
Topics that will be covered at the event include: funding opportunities, business structures, tax, available support within Cornwall, the 2013 Ignite business competition and case studies of other fledgling businesses. Presentations will be made by Francis Clark, Outset Cornwall, South West Investment Group, Foot Anstey, Oxford Innovation and Start Up Loans Company.
'World Changing' business RCH Marine Renewables wins Ignite 2012 Posted 30 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
The Ignite 2012 Grand Final at Heartlands, Pool has been won by Chris Hassall and Russ Henman from RCH Marine Renewables. Ignite is Cornwall’s business planning competition delivered by Oxford Innovation as part of its High Growth Coaching Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (2007 to 2013). RCH Marine Renewables is developing sustainable freshwater solutions for coastal areas using ocean wave power. The entrepreneurs won a prize fund worth £100k to drive their fledgling business forward.
The shortlisted businesses each pitched live to the judges throughout the final day and were later invited on stage to answer questions in front of an audience of guests from Cornwall’s thriving business community. Noodle Live and The Cornish Ceramic Masonry Stove Company were announced as runners up - each winning approximately £5,000 worth of business support from the Ignite sponsors.
Chris Hassall and Russ Henman have seen firsthand the water related health problems of people across the world. When on a visit to Mozambique, Chris saw children with cataracts contracted by drinking unsafe water. The lack of access to drinking water inspired them to look for a solution that started a journey that lead to working together and to the Ignite 2012 competition.
Chris Hassall of RCH Marine Renewables commented “The Ignite process has been intense. Intense in a positive way. We’ve had to refine our idea, work on the business plan and look at the financials and how they stack up. There have been some real challenges and many sleepless nights, but to see where we have got to now - winning Ignite - it’s extremely gratifying.”
Russ Henman added “We wanted to win Ignite but even if we hadn’t it was a very beneficial process. It helped clarify our ideas and bring all of them together into a precise business plan”.
Chair of Judges John Stewart from Worlds Apart commented “It was a totally inspiring evening. The thing that really impressed me was the variety of ideas that have been submitted. It was difficult to decide on the final winner but the winning business idea from RCH Marine Renewables really struck us as something that could ultimately be world changing.”
The next step for RCH Marine Renewables will be to meet the Ignite sponsors that will be helping them on their journey to success. A deployment of the RCH system in a test site off the Cornish coastline is planned with a full commercial pilot in the Pacific Ocean with UNICEF to follow.
Budding entrepreneurs can now register their interest for Ignite 2013 by visiting www.ignitecornwall.com
Ignite 2012 Competition Shortlist Announced Posted 35 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Going for gold! How to be a champion marketer. Posted 40 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
On Saturday evening I was lucky enough to witness sporting history in the making as a trio of British athletes delivered dazzling, gold medal-winning performances at London 2012. Travelling home, with Spandau Ballet as my earworm, I began to slip back into work mode, allowing Olympic endurance and marketing to merge in my brain as my train drew nearer to Truro. Rutherford, Ennis and Farah each showed the perfect balance of strength, focus and energy needed to become champions, and these attributes easily translate to the world of marketing. It takes a lot to keep a marketing project on track so here’s a brief overview of sporting tips to keep you focused - a marketing heptathlon if you will!
At the start of a marketing project or campaign ask yourself, how far do I want this to go? Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve from the outset will help strengthen your campaign and keep it heading in the right direction.
Look for fresh ideas that will set you apart from the competition and allow your marketing activity to reach new heights.
Approaching your project with positivity will bring the best out in everyone you work with. If you want everyone involved to inject passion and bursts of energy then lead by example.
Marketing projects can be complex so don’t panic, if you come up against a challenge just rise above it and keep pushing on.
Stay focused. There’s a lot to contend with during a marketing project but if you keep the end point in sight you’ll be able to deliver a targeted campaign.
It is easy to get caught up in the day to day management of a marketing project but you must always consider where you’ll land once it’s all over and where you can take it from there. Consider your long term goals and make sure any campaign fits with these.
Marketing projects can take a lot of time and energy but don’t slack off at the end! Keep your eyes on the prize and always leave some energy left in the tank for a big finish, it will be worth it in the end.
If you find the prospect of undertaking a marketing project stressful, make like an athlete and surround yourself with a team of specialists that can help you reach your goals, oh and remember - always believe in your soul.
About the author:
Lotte is a highly experienced and creative marketing and PR practitioner and in 2008 she turned her passions for music, pop culture, design, lifestyle brands, style, publishing and film into The Vine, an energetic Cornwall-based business that blends Marketing with PR and Social Media activity. For more information visit www.thevinemarketing.com
3 Easy Steps: How to enter your pitch Posted 41 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Competitions like this don't come around all too often. We're not offering a prize which you can walk away with scott-free - we're offering a change in direction for your life as an entrepreneur. It's incredibly easy to get in the running for the prize of £100k of support for your business idea. Just follow these 3 easy steps:
- Record your 3 minute pitch as a video. Instructions here
- Upload your pitch using YouTube (ensure you select the 'UNLISTED' setting example here)
- Send the URL to your video via email to email@example.com
Clearly state in the body of your email
- Your first and last name
- Your business name / yet to be decided
- The URL for your pitch
We recommend that you have your pitch uploaded during the week of 20th August, as we anticipate a last minute rush leading up to the closing date of August 31st midnight.
Ignite will send you by email an acknowledgement to confirm receipt of your pitch and confirm that you are now officially entered into the Ignite Cornwall 2012 Business Planning Competition. (A reminder of the next stage will also be included).
If you do not receive the Ignite email acknowledgement it will mean that we have NOT received your URL details or pitch, therefore you have not entered the competition. Should you experience any problems, please contact Charlotte on 01872 300116 (available 10am-3pm Monday to Friday).
The Ignite Experience - full materials resource Posted 45 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
The first Ignite Experience was a fantastic success. We're aware that the places filled up fast and some of you were disappointed not to be there. With this in mind we've put all the materials together - slideshows, podcasts and a few extras too. It's really worth taking a bit of time to recap, there are some gems of information here from some really experienced entrepreneurs which might save you a lot of time and money.
Intro Podcast - Simon Gill's introduction
First morning Overview Podcast
Will Cairley talks about 'What qualities are needed' for entrepreneurs - Podcast
Start up Planner Podcast
Start Up Planner Belinda Waldock – Oxford Innovation
Strategy Simon Gill – Oxford Innovation
Andrew Finley - Podcast
Features and Benefits - Podcast
Innovation / Change - Belinda Waldock -
Operations - Andrew Farmer - Oxford Innovation
Cairley – Oxford Innovation - Podcast
Business Ideas light up at the Ignite Experience Posted 46 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
The first of the Ignite Experience workshops was an outstanding success.
Bright minds from all round Cornwall gathered at the Alverton Manor Hotel on 27th and 28th June.
Starting a business from the seed of an idea is an incredibly daunting proposition. It can seem a huge task and requires commitment, courage and mettle from even the most determined entrepreneur. With this in mind, the Ignite Experience brought together people from all walks of business who have walked the talk, some on many occassions. The audience at the Ignite Experience were lucky to have a fantastic team to lead them through the early stages of their exciting journey.
Simon Gill, representing Oxford Innovation, opened proceedings representing Oxford Innovation with an inspiring speech to the budding entrepreneurs of the county.
The candidates, all hoping to win the £100K prize fund were then talked through the fundamentals of turning their idea into a reality. Over the two day workshop these were broken down into Person, Proposition, Planning and Pitch.
The attendees were treated to lively presentations from Will Cairley who's experienced words were tweeted by the candidates:
@COACHCAIRLEY Oxford Innovation, Entrepreneurs must focus on their vision and define in advance what success means
On day 2, Richard Wadman of Francis Clark with Winter Rule gave some priceless advice on finance in business to the ambitious audience before Andrew Finley picked up on Strategy, Marketing and Sales.
Andrew Farmer had some hard won advice on Business Operations to share with the group, and his story of losing his clothes in China was keenly tweeted to the world by one audience member!
Tim Marrow of Tamar HR had some excellent insights into People Skills and Leadership, invaluable to starting out on the right foot.
After Lunch, Jonet Waldock talked on Sustainability, which all of the attendees held in high importance when beginning their journey as business owners. Jonet's experience in the sector shone through here and was useful to entrepreneurs in all sectors.
Will Cairley wrapped up the session with some fantastic anecdotes and observations on how to pitch, followed by some great practice sessions from the Ignitees. It was a great end to a fantastic workshop, and the team can't wait to meet the next hopeful group of people at the next workshop on 17th and 18th July.
PODCAST - An overview of the workshop was captured as a podcast by Matthew Clark of KernowPods here.
All of the sections were recorded for those of you who couldn't come along. Check them out on the main Kernowpods page.
There are still some late places to be snapped up at upcoming sessions. Fill out the form to register your interest to win £100K for your business idea.
Developing new products Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
If you are a new business you will have started your new venture with a clear idea about the product or service you are planning to offer. At some point in time, as your business grows and develops, the product will become outdated, overtaken by competition or perhaps too costly to produce. Also, you may wish to expand your product range or enter new markets as part of your business development strategy. It is probable therefore that at some point you will have to consider refreshing the current product range or introducing new and additional products.
Whether your business is a micro-SME or a large multi-national corporation a robust process for identifying, developing and managing New Product Introduction (NPI) is vital. Good NPI process can significantly reduce the risks, costs and time associated with the development of new products.
An effective process for NPI consists of three essential components which can be likened to the key elements of a car; Direction – the car’s steering, Execution – the engine and Supporting – the tyres and chassis.
Direction is primarily about developing a product strategy that is based on good understanding of your markets and your competitive position. It is vital to analyse the market segments you presently, or plan to, address and develop strategic options for each of these segments. The two strategic options relevant to NPI are often referred to as ‘Product Development’ whereby new products are developed for existing markets and, the much riskier, ‘Diversification’ where new products are developed for new markets. As part of this process it is worth developing a product road-map to record your product development and enhancement plans for the next few years.
Execution is the process by which your chosen and well defined new product concept is developed and successfully introduced to the market. Important tools here are milestone planning (defining clear goals and responsibilities), regular review and decision making process (ensuring that the project is on track and that the product is still appropriate) and regular risk review. It is, of course, really important that the project plan includes the process by which the product will be introduced into the market place (launch and sales plans).
Supporting the overall process is about ensuring that the resources with the right skills are available for the development and being crystal clear as to responsibilities.
Remember that NPI is not just about brand new products and ideas. The process applies equally to product development and embellishments. You may start out with the ubiquitous widget which you sell in its basic form in just one colour. Eventually your market research tells you that you need to provide more functionality and additional colour options. These developments and their launch into the market need to be properly planned and managed in the same way as for a completely new product.
These principles apply equally to all companies from micro-SME to major PLC. Get them right – there are numerous excellent tools and techniques to help you - and you can dramatically reduce your NPI timescales and gain a significant competitive advantage over your competitors.
Remarkable businesses stand out from the crowd Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Godin, new marketing guru, in his book “Purple Cow” thought that the
best businesses of the future would be remarkable and preferably unique.
In an internet enabled world market for many products and services it
is now easy to compare worldwide competition and many “me too” offerings
fade into the background. When involved in a game of counting black &
white cows during a car journey children quickly tire of more of the
same. How excited might they be if the car drove past a purple cow in a
field? It would certainly be remarkable. That’s what businesses have to
do to get noticed – do something remarkable. The old term for it was
“USP” or unique selling point. It needs to persuade people to buy your
products or services rather than the average competition.
Think of Amazon. A few years ago there was no Amazon – hard to remember a time but it wasn’t long ago. Buying a book usually meant a trip to a local town bookstore. Often the book you really wanted wasn’t in stock. That meant placing an order and a return trip to collect. Along comes Amazon with a set of propositions unique in the world of book sales:
- See information about a larger stock of books than any physical bookstore could hold on-line from the comfort of your home or place of work
- Get the best prices available for books using the power of world sales volumes
- Have the book delivered swiftly to your door
At the time this was revolutionary and remarkable. Over the years this successful business model has been expanded by Amazon to other products and by other companies copying a successful formula with their own twist (remarkable USP).
What’s your remarkable USP? Do you have exceptional customer service relative to your market? Is your product unique? Will customers go out of their way to buy from your business and also recommend you to their friends? Will customers pay a premium for your product or service, or are you competing with many others to see who has the lowest price? Have you seen a niche opportunity with little or no competition? Have you made contact with the GrowCornwall team to discuss the innovative development of your business? There’s no time like the present – call or email the GrowCornwall team to arrange a meeting.
Five Traits of Innovative Companies Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
This article is based on a Business Week podcast in which Rajesh Chandy (Prof of Marketing, Univ of Minnesota) highlights 5 key traits of innovative organisations based on research of over 700 companies in 17 economies. Interestingly, Chandy et al find that the most important factor in a company’s inventiveness is its corporate culture.
Corporate culture is key
Among the factors studied, corporate culture is the strongest driver of radical innovation across nations; culture consists of 5 Traits (3 attitudes and 2 practices).
The commercialization of radical innovations translates into a firm’s financial performance; it is a stronger predictor of financial performance than other popular measures such as patents.
5 Culture Traits
1. Future market focus: the extent to which managers focus on the customers and competitors of the future rather than those of today. e.g. One is that the chief executives at these businesses are more focused on the future than typical CEOs. And how do the researchers know this? By toting up the number of “will” sentences in the chiefs’ communications, as in, “We will prosper if we think ahead.”
2. Willingness to cannibalise current products for future business
3. Tolerance for risk – simply the extent the managers take calculated risks
4. Incentives for enterprise – actively reward innovation activities
5. Role of product and process champions – individuals empowered to make things happen
What does not seem to influence Innovation:
• Government policy – company culture much more important. Governments tend to copy each other so there is no long term advantage.
• National culture – again company culture matters more.
• Geography – ditto
A quote to consider
In Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, it is observed that 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way'. This applies to companies too. Innovative firms tend to look like each other and look to each other, including across industries, for role models.
The full paper "Radical Innovation Across Nations: The Pre-eminence of Corporate Culture" can be downloaded - here
Laser Guided Businessman Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
The Laser Guided Businessman
Many aspiring entrepreneurs look far and wide for business ideas. Inspiration can come from big corporations, Silicon Valley startups, new product development – the list goes on. Or they can come from the world on your doorstep. We each face dozens of problems every day, many of which have become so commonly accepted that they’re overlooked entirely. Looking at our day-to-day lives with a fresh and critical eye can sometimes reveal the most logical business ideas of all.
This was the case for John Forde. Kiwi born and bred, John started out as an injection mould toolmaker and precision engineer. In this industry his expertise grew until he could fabricate or repair pretty much anything mechanical. As a man at the pinnacle of the DIY food chain, it pained him somewhat when he had to call on someone else to repair something. This was the case when it came to precision welding.
“There was one welder we used time and time again, simply because he was so much better than the competition.”
As the years passed, John and his team racked up a hefty bill on welding repairs. Then came the advent of laser welding, which blew the competition out of the water.
“It’s just so accurate. Whereas before a good welder worked to a 3mm degree of accuracy, all of a sudden we could get welds down to 0.2mm. It was astonishing. The only problem was the travel to the workshop.’
This new standard of welding meant that John and the team had to transport their expensive tooling for up to 3 hours to a laser welder only to return a day or two later to collect. In their quest for the highest possible standards this was the only option. John explained that there was a glaring gap in the market for a mobile solution:
“Some tooling can weigh in at over 10 tons, so there’s no way it can be easily moved from the workshop. It struck me that if someone could laser weld with a mobile setup, they’d be offering something unique to a quality that simply can’t be matched by traditional welding techniques.”
At this juncture all entrepreneurs are faced with a stiff challenge - whether or not to take the leap. John bit the bullet and invested in a state of the art laser welder and an intensive training course to ensure he could deliver to the best of the equipment’s ability. A brave move, but one that set him apart in a marketplace still dominated by traditional MIG and TIG welding.
However, it still remains the case that mobile laser welding is new to this industry and that John’s target audience doesn’t yet appreciate the accuracy offered by his service. The challenge now is to get his potential clients to open their eyes to a problem that they didn’t know existed. This is where many marketing campaigns fail. We are after all, creatures of habit, and convincing people to change the way they spend can prove the biggest challenge of all.
Forde intends to combat this through a healthy dose of good old integrity.
“I can’t stand it when people let you down. I pride myself in doing what I say I’ll do and getting it done on time. I hope this will be the route to picking up more clients and showing people that ‘Laser Welding Services’ can offer incredible welding and a rock solid service.’
The formation of Laser Welding Services is a classic example of business development based on a niche problem. It seems likely that John will continue to build on his high growth business through his innovative approach to problem solving and strong focus on a quality service.
With this example in mind it’s worth considering, what problems do you or your company face on a daily basis, and why are you putting up with it?
Challenge Accepted Wisdom Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Constantly challenge accepted wisdom
Innovation often begins with asking "why not?" Too often, businesses tend to follow market leaders and aspire to be like them. If the market leader does something in a given way and it is successful, a strategy based upon replication is likely to result in failure. To surprise and delight our clients we must differentiate from the accepted norms. Try looking outside your category or sector for inspiration. How do other industries tackle the problems you face? Why can't you adopt a similar approach and refresh your offering?
For example, it has always perplexed me why all Dental surgeries treat patients in a similar way. It is a stressful environment for many people made worse by starchy receptionists sitting behind a desk, spartan waiting rooms with chairs around the outside of the walls. Why not greet people as when entering an upmarket hair dressing salon – they're in the beauty business aren't they? Make it friendly, welcoming and personal. Patients might be in less of a hurry to leave – and be more open to spending if they felt that this was an enjoyable experience. Ask any progressive salon owner how much profit they make from product sales and ask yourself when you last felt inclined to browse the dental care section (if there is one) in your dental surgery.
So, let's abandon the concept of doing what everyone else is doing, explore, challenge and experiment – only then will you stand out from the crowd.
Recognising our identity Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
When we look at where our identity is a concern, we come up against a number of questions: about the role we are in - friend, work colleague, child, neighbour; about the place we are in - home, web surfing on the internet, logged into a social networking site, sending an email, buying, selling. We are called differently depending on where we are - "son", "dad", "John", "Elizabeth", "Beth"; different people call us by different names. Identity is key to how we relate to others.
So, how do we know who we are talking to, buying from, promising to visit, and so on? We use a number of clues or indicators to reach a conclusion about who it is we are communicating with. The context, the place, the presence of others are all factors which enable you to conclude who it is.
So you have a name - now what are you going to do? That depends on the relationship, in the broad sense, that you have with the other person. How was the relationship made? Were you introduced by someone else to this person? What was the reason for the introduction? Based on the trust that was established when the introduction was made, what are you prepared to do with the other person? As well as the initial introduction, you will have also formed views about the other person because of what you see they have done, how they have behaved, how they have treated you. I say "person", but of course, the "person" might be an organisation, a shop, a bank, a travel company, that is, a collection of people acting as one. Everything here that applies to a single person applies to an organisation. The reputation of the organisation is often described as its "brand"; the advertisements which give you a warm feeling that the organisation is looking after the world are there to build your trust in them so they can do more with you.
We do not give up the tests, the questions you would ask of a person if they said they were doing what organisations claim to do. When relating to other people or organisations on the internet, we miss a large amount of information which in face to face encounters is given by the surroundings, the presence of other people, the context in which we are placed. In face to face encounters, we use that information to give us a degree of confidence, greater or lesser, about the people we are with; for example, in a religious place of worship, we expect that people will behave with respect and honesty and truthfulness. When we are deprived of the physical information, we need to use other clues and indicators such as the type of language used, the references made to others. Because the most important credential we have, our body; our face, the way we stand, the way we walk - is absent on the internet, we need to be on our guard against people masquerading as others, we need to test whether people conform to the way we would expect them to behave. When we need to make a commitment in a relationship on the internet, we need other credentials; digital credentials, numbers and secrets; established in another medium, through letters in the post.
Where is the value in your business? Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Traditional marketing models built on manufacturing businesses are increasingly out of touch with the reality of service based economies. Consider how “value” is created and perceived by the customer.
A car maker, for instance, invests heavily in R&D, manufacturing and branding. The value for the client is in this investment, culminating in the enjoyment of driving the vehicle by buying into the brand. However, if you are a service based business where is your value? Are you supplying commoditised goods or services that a customer can buy elsewhere? If the answer is yes, then your value must be created externally - that is, at the touch point with the customer. After all, if you simply sell the same thing that I can buy elsewhere without adding value to the transaction, the only issue is going to be price and in this case bigger companies will usually win through the economies of scale.
Think of how your front line people interact with your customers; is the experience always a superlative one, what else do you do to make them feel special, how are you differentiating from the other suppliers? Recognising that this shift is crucial to competitive advantage and commercial success, more innovative companies are now abandoning the “customers comes first” principle and adopting a “staff come first” attitude. Investing in your people, getting them to understand and share your corporate visions and goals ensures consistent delivery and enhanced customer satisfaction.
Sounds easy? Every company, when questioned about their USP’s inevitably opines that their customer service is second to none. Sadly, this is rarely the case but empowering people at the bottom of the traditional corporate hierarchy is the first step making it so.
Outsourcing & Core Competences Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
A key outcome resulting from the recession has been the reduced ability of a business to pass on cost increases to the customer. Correspondingly, managers of SME’s are increasingly under pressure to improve the performance of product/service packages and reduce costs to compete. In the context of the Internet created, market transparency of pricing, there has also been an increased requirement for organisational flexibility and agility. Naturally, outsourcing of activities is integral to this approach and in turn this has lead to an increased activity and dependency on external supplier relationships.
Then traditional approach to Outsourcing is often with a focus on transactional economics such as considering a “Make or buy study”. This can often lead to a lowest cost based approach ignoring other critical factors such as the strategic fit and longer term management of the relationship. Consideration must also be given to the process being outsourced in terms of the value added from the end customer’s perspective. How will the competitiveness of the organisation be affected by outsourcing? Will key competencies be lost? Or will the new relationship offer opportunities for growing innovation? Whilst cost is a critical factor the new relationship must be seen in the context of creating potential wealth and increasing value to the customer.
Key Factors when considering outsourcing
There will always be a need to consider the economic rationale for outsourcing. However, a simple numerical exercise of internal costs v supplier price may not be representative. A balanced viewpoint should also consider recovery of overhead, future product investment coasts, transport costs and potentially a loss of flexibility and control.
If a contributory process or service is difficult to manage or produces unreliable results it may just be attractive to outsource the problem. This is sometimes at best naive and often negligent. A new supplier may have more expertise but as the power base shifts their competency, or otherwise, will need to be paid for. New skills are required in managing these complex relationships. How will the increased dependency on the supplier be managed?
Another consideration is whether the outsourcing weakens or strengthens the long term competitiveness of a business? To compete in a market what competencies are required? Can a competitor offer better quality and value because of their expertise? Do certain skills require development and investment in order to meet long term sustainability?
..and in Summary,
Outsourcing cannot be simply seen as a means of reducing cost or passing on a problem. The detailed cost of an activity needs to be considered when evaluating the benefits of outsourcing. The effect on the long term competiveness of a business also needs to be evaluated when outsourcing. Perhaps in essence we should start with the customer and work backwards?
Are you selling features or benefits? Posted 55 weeks ago by Ignite Cornwall
Many companies are highly focused on the features of their offering but often fail to match these with benefits. Without a clear understanding of the interrelationship between the two and how they may shift between different target audiences, your sales efforts are likely to fail. People buy benefits not features so your marketing material and sales processes should be very clear about what they are. In a nutshell, a feature is something you put into a product or service and a benefit is what the consumer derives from that.
For example, let us assume that we have just created a revolutionary new wetsuit which possesses world leading thermal insulation properties despite being incredibly thin. Promoting “the thinnest suit yet” or “ the warmest suit yet” are not compelling reasons for anyone to buy - these are features and not benefits . However let us consider the relevant benefits for different potential buyers and how we can make them translate into personalised and compelling reasons to buy.
For an elite surfer wishing to practise all year round, the thinness of the material will allow for more dynamic movement than a traditional thick walled steamer suit. For an improver, the thermal qualities will allow them to spend more time in the water practising their skills. Finally, for a Fashionista, the suits are cool to look at and the latest statement garment for any surf dude. Here we can see that a single feature delivers different benefits to different types of buyer, sure there will be overlap in some cases but it is important to map all the variations across your product range and make sure that you are communicating the appropriate ones to each defined audience sector.
Much of the work we do with clients is focused on USP’s and the differentiation of their sales proposition. This is an example of one small area, if you would like to pursue these themes with your business please contact us for more information.