Category Archives: Eighty enterprise essentials

First published by Social Enterprise East of England in March 2011

Enterprise essential – polish the window on your world

A good website can be a highly cost-effective way to generate new business and meet needs for essential information, advice and support 24 hours a day. A bad website – with out of-date information, poor navigation, and unhelpful content and design – can kill your enterprise. Make sure your website builds your brand.

 

Enterprise essential – collaborate to compete

In the social economy, successful collaboration is as likely to sustain your enterprise in difficult times as is successful competition. Partnerships and consortia are a growing trend for bidding or contracts. But don’t over-estimate the potential savings from scaling-up your enterprise – particularly when you are selling services rather than products.

 

Enterprise essential – know your business environment

Know your competition (which for a choir rehearsing in a church on a cold winter’s night is not only other choirs, but anything that will keep people indoors!) Continually gather as much information as you can to monitor the changing environment and keep on the lookout for trends that might present opportunities or pose threats.

 

Enterprise Essential – aim to surprise

And make sure the surprise is a pleasant one! The German retailer Tchibo changes stock (and offers) in shops every week to create a sense of anticipation and excitement. You don’t have to change your offering this often, but always think how you can develop and improve your service. Use that innovation as a reason to contact your customers and a hook for getting press coverage.

 

Enterprise essential – under promise and over deliver

Be honest, positive and precise with your customers about what you can do for them, and then exceed their expectations. If you tell me you’ll have my problem sorted the next day and I have to wait a week, I’m disappointed. If you say you’ll sort it by the end of the week and do it the next day, I’m impressed.

 

Enterprise essential – compete on quality not price

“Better, not cheaper” is a more sustainable mantra than “more for less”. Price your products and services so you can offer discounts by working out three prices. The top ‘dream price’ represents the real value of your input. The middle price should represent a good profit margin, and the bottom price is one you should never go below. Start by asking your dream price and only negotiate down for bulk orders, payment up front etc.

Enterprise essential – pricing is about demand and supply

Charging different prices at different times, responding to changes in demand is OK. Airlines, cinemas and ice-cream sellers do it. A community café could do it to profit from affluent workers with limited time at lunchtimes to allow others who are time-rich and cash-poor to eat more cheaply mid-afternoon.