In a city like Enugu where tech and media penetration is relatively low when compared to other cities in the country like Lagos and Abuja, doing sustainable profit-driven business is almost a herculean task.
Most business owners often stick to the already explored and cultivated turfs such as food and drinks, hospitality establishments such as lounges and hotels, fashion, and beauty. There is also no distinguishing factor between these businesses. They are all different business owners in a handful of industries doing the same thing.
Little room for innovation or re-invention is left and the daredevils who venture, often face the uphill task of clearing a new path with a tricky chance at success.
However, the occurrence of COVID-19 has completely changed the way business is done, rendering the usual status quo unsustainable. With the lockdown across major cities of the world, Enugu without exception, most businesses have been forced to reinvent operation models to ensure sustainability post-COVID-19. Of the many negative impacts of COVID-19, one particular positive we can take is the assertion that digital is no longer the future, digital is now. Everyone including market women who sell tomatoes has been forced to find a safer, more digital way of doing business. This has opened new doors, as every business is staking their claim in the online space.
However, with this new surge begs the question, how can business owners get and keep the attention of customers/consumers and expand customer base beyond state and international borders? Because digital connects everyone in the world with just a click, you no longer need a physical store to do business nor are you limited by geographical location.
There are, however, important aspects that business owners in Enugu must pay attention to, in order to do profitable business in the long run, and one such aspect is positioning.
Positioning in simple terms is about clearly communicating how your brand is different from your competitors. Quite a few business owners have a firm grasp of what exactly positioning is, why it’s important, and how to do it. The usual route is the product side of things, marketing and sales strategies, advertising, and growth plans but the most crucial decision to make in your early days as a business owner is to decide what exactly your message is and how it fits into your marketplace in your industry. This way you “position” a certain perception in the minds of your customers whenever your brand is mentioned.
Take the supermarket chain ShopRite for instance, they always communicate the message, ‘lower prices you can trust’ but the real reason people drive from a different part of town just to shop at ShopRite isn’t about the price. N4899 and N5000 in a local store near you is hardly enough reason to drive halfway across town. The real reason ShopRite is successful is service delivery. The enjoyable, relaxed shopping experience. So, whenever you think of relaxed shopping, in a cool environment, with affordable prices and an unlimited variety of product options, ShopRite comes to mind. There are other supermarkets spread across town but ShopRite has the highest number of customers on a daily basis.
The purpose behind positioning is to create an appealing image that leverages a brand’s unique strength. You may perhaps be in a buzzing overcrowded industry but what can set your brand apart is positioning.
How can you convert the product you sell into a service or convert the service you render into a product? Let’s take for instance that you own a bakery and you sell bread. What will make you make you stand out from other bread sellers in town? Do you offer different flavors of bread? Do you have partnerships with beverage companies so that your bread comes as a breakfast package delivered promptly at home every morning? Do you offer lunch sandwich packs for school children and combo packs for entrepreneurs and government workers? These are some of the unique things about your business that will always make your customers choose you over your competitors every day who are just regular bread sellers.
What is the unique characteristic or benefit that your business provides?
Understanding your business’ positioning is vital, and is the baseline for strong marketing strategies and executions, and in the end, will determine the success or failure of your business. Business, as usual, is no longer sustainable and innovative positioning is the only sustainable advantage that can keep your business afloat, post COVID-19.