The following blog post was written by Mark Dengler, President of RMS.

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I recently had the opportunity to be a part of the expert business panel at the 2015 Brazzlebox Small Business Summit on November 4th at the Oncenter. I was thrilled to see the amount of young entrepreneurs eager to learn and gather as much insight as possible. I was also excited to be surrounded by fellow business professionals who divulged their honest opinions and experiences for the good of our growing community. Not only did our Q&A session pertain to entrepreneurs, but it also relates to those who continue to market their services and want to grow.

Whether you’re a business that has been around for a few years, or an entrepreneur ready to implement your business plan, tracking information that will help improve your operations and marketability is crucial. From start-ups to businesses that have been around for years, it is important to look at consumer trends, competitors and price points. Identifying what your “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP) is will help differentiate you from the competition. Ask yourself questions—why should people purchase from me? What is different about what I’m offering? How can I take what’s already out there and make it better?

One of the most influential pieces of data that you can use to track your USP is customer feedback. Your first customers are your “early adopters” and will ultimately become your ambassadors in the marketplace. You need to recognize that their experience with your product or service is critical, from the very beginning to the very end. Businesses that have been around long enough to build a customer base need to continue monitoring the marketplace and its reaction to your product or service.

To keep consistent with the evolution of the marketplace, you need to have a plan that incorporates some key elements:

  1. Competitive assessment: profile your top competitors. Identify the saturation potential and estimate the market share.
  2. Marketing strategies: determine your USP and brand perception in the marketplace and execute accordingly.
  3. Develop an operational income statement: review it regularly to monitor revenue generation and expenses.
  4. Set operational milestones: strategically plan where you want your business to be at future points by defining achievements that will prove success in your operation.

Building a successful business requires resiliency and a strong drive to succeed. Develop a culture and community in your organization that reiterates what you define as successful. Fortunately for start-ups and veteran businesses in our area, there is an abundance of resources such as networking events, local chambers and business organizations, all here to help local establishments flourish. Take advantage and participate in many of the opportunities offered—gaining that knowledge and insight is something you can take with you no matter what stage you or your business are in.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.

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