The Power and Potential for Your Business with Shana Ostrovitz
As a small business owner it is important to understand what problems your product or service is trying to address and how what you are doing is unique to other businesses in your industry. You do not drive people to your business because of pricing or convenience, it is your story and a constantly evolving solution to a problem that creates your forever customer and in turn a strong community.
#BizhackLive presenter Shana Ostrovitz, executive director of 1909 Business Accelerator, talked about the power behind building a strong community and how it can be the key to an easier, more fun, and usually more successful journey as an entrepreneur. She also goes over a couple of specific business cases that prove what you think you need to have a successful product launch is not enough if you completely disregard the human component. The full recap is below.
Next up this Wednesday: BizHack lead instructor Giovanni Insignares of the Related Group on “Instagram Stories Ads 101.”
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BizHack is providing this live webinar series as a community service to empower business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs to re-enter and re-open their businesses with the tools needed to thrive during the reentry stage of the pandemic.
Help us spread the word! If you know someone who is in need of guidance and resources to rebuild their community and develop the potential of their business, please share this link with them.
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RECAP: “Building Community: The Power and Potential for Your Business” with Shana Ostrovitz
While building a technology solution to support solo entrepreneurs in the service industry, Shana and her team realized that the small business owners they were working with did not care for their technology. They wanted community, connection, educational sessions, and to meet with one another and they were willing to pay for it.
It became clear, your selling strategy becomes easy because you’re offering something of value, I think that’s when it really dawned on us. We are doing something that people want and are asking to pay for, while on the other side we are trying to sell something and encourage people to do something that they are not really grabbing on to, said Shana Ostrovitz during her #BizHack Live webinar.
Start with the Basics
Even if you’re already a business owner, it’s always good to have those moments of evaluation and thought around what you are doing. Whether it’s a reminder and refresher, or it’s a brand new idea, it’s good to go through this process.
Business Case #1 - Segway
- Developed by renowned inventor and visionary who holds more than 100 US patents.
- Had significant finance and spent about $100 million developing the product
- Even before its launch it was predicted to reach $1B in sales – faster than ever in history
- Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos both said it would be revolutionary
- It was unveiled on Good Morning America
The technology that was developed for Segway has been used in many other products and the concept around it has ended up being very successful for other companies.
But, what happened with Segway was that they built the product in a box, on purpose. They did not want people to know about the technology. They had everything they thought they needed to have a successful product and company. But, they didn’t because they didn’t talk to customers. They didn’t test or identify a problem they were solving clearlying enough to understand what the solution was supposed to be.
Segway moved technology forward for the rest of us, but they were very unsuccessful. Their strategy lacked the human component of what a business is trying to do which is solve problems and offer value to people.
Business Case #2 - Nike
- Business targeting competitive runners who wanted to get to the Olympics
- Invented by a track coach who deeply understood the needs of his target market
- Prototypes tested on college and elite athletes before they were manufactured
- Considered the newbies in their industry
- Founders kept their day jobs for the first ten years of the company to keep bills low
Nike now is a huge company who’s in tons of different sports and offers tons of different products, but started very focused on solving a very specific problem. They were looking for a solution to shave 5 seconds off of a runner’s time to win a race, get them to the Olympics, and win a gold medal.
Over time what Nike came to be known as is a brand that represents champions. What they are doing is solving the problem of, how to be the best at what we do, how to represent that, and what products serve that. Every product that comes out is saying, how do we support champions. They have the same promise now as they did when they started which is you are going to win if you wear Nike. It’s a completely different mindset from how Segway came to be created.
What’s the problem you are solving?
- How do you know that problem is valid?
- Who has that problem? (identify all groups)
- Who is the most impacted or motivated by this problem?
The last question is very important because those are your loyal people, the ones who are willing to test your product, service, or solution because they believe in what you are doing.
What alternatives are being used to solve the problem?
- What are people using now, or instead of to solve the problem?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of these alternatives?
There are a lot of people out there trying to solve problems, these questions will help you figure out how you are unique. There is probably someone out there doing what you do, that’s normal. What you want to identify is where you are offering something that has never been offered before, in a different way or that supports people in a different way.
What benefits can you offer → Solution to the problem?
- What benefit does the customer really want?
- What solutions can you offer to provide that benefit? (This may change over time)
People don’t want shoes, they want to win.
People don’t want a gym, they want to be fit and healthy. They see working out and going to the gym as a solution to that.
Really understanding that value is the MOST important piece.
Connect with your customers
As a business owner, you need to really understand what your customer’s needs are, what their problems are, ask the right questions and get to know their lives.
The 100 Customer Interviews exercise:
- Ask questions – Put your product or service under the bed and learn from people’s habits and experiences.
- Validate your hypothesis – Discover the problem that exists and who needs help with that problem.
- Solve for value and benefit – Let customers confirm if you are on the right track re-direct you to the right solution.
Always be in the mindset of adding value and solving problems.
The vehicle, format, solution will change and evolve over time because people and situations change and evolve over time but, what people are committed to, what problems they are trying to solve, what they want to bring to the world doesn’t have to change.
That is what builds loyalty because if people believe in what you stand for, they’re going to come with you through the different iterations of what you do.
Communicate the bigger picture “why”
- Your values
- Your mission
- Your vision
Allow customers to feel ownership.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
There’s multiple sides to community that surrounds you. Focusing on the community that supports you is incredibly important as you take on supporting, offering value, and solving problems for other people.
Build community outside of your customers:
- Support Organizations
Look into building the community support system that you have for yourself so that then you can deliver on all of those things for you customers at a real high level.