Know the industry, not just know of it. Know the competition, not just of them. Reach out and learn from them, many are willing to divulge information if you’re friendly and genuine about your intentions. Most importantly — know your own product/service, and know how you 1) can, 2) will, and 3) presently fit into the mix amongst your industry and competitors (the market). These three states of business mindsets require envisaging a future where you, respectively, 1) have a current & very achievable trajectory, 2) a will or desire towards a trajectory, and 3) your present & current business state of being, or the current track your business is on.

To simply know of something is much different than to understanding it. Knowing this sets up a clear mindset for maximum effectiveness. Now, turning what you know into value can be quite tricky! So, let’s start off with a business task that is of tantamount importance: research & strategic planning.

Internal Case Study: I am a professional consultant of a digital agency, Key Medium, investigating an opportunity with a friend who owns a small ravioli factory. He’s been sourcing equipment and materials for many years now. An opportunity has appeared within certain market segments. So, let’s begin with the basics.

  1. We’re beginning initial research into the fields of:
    • Food manufacturing equipment
    • The industrial food automation processes & systems
    • Material handling, logistics & operations
    • Food product & machinery
  1. What are we interested in finding out, and why?
    • How industry leaders market to potential customers, acquire leads, and the process of converting the lead into a sale. This will be invaluable information to utilize for setting up shop and running a profitable ad-campaign & business endeavor. Also, the knowledge discovered will be shared so as to spread it to intentional individuals in the market.
  1. What are some important metrics to guide our activities?
    • Profits, profits, profits.
    • Delivering value to prospects in both the short and long-term.
  1. How do industry leaders in the market (industrial food & equipment manufacturers) reach their customers, and why?
    • Through targeted advertising campaigns online.
      • Via Google AdWords. Sure some display organically (free), but many utilize AdWords campaigns.
      • These campaigns target very specific keywords, locations, and are displayed in order of how much they pay.
    • Through websites & supporting videos online.
      • Most websites visited show products & services with supporting YouTube videos. This seems to be a strong and prevalent form of reaching a customer. Perhaps not many of them are utilizing YouTube ads?
  1. How can we focus on finding the most intentful prospects?
    • By simply contacting them and striking up a conversation.
      1. Start networking online (LinkedIn, Twitter, G+), cold call, and email those currently within the industry.
        1. Explain who you are and what you want from them.
        2. Inquire as to what they are responsible for doing, and see if they are the right person you need to talk to about a specific opportunity, such as lead acquisition and more.
    • Attend meetups, conventions, and other events to brush shoulders in-person. Perhaps ask for tours of facilities as well.
  1. Where do we fit in the market amongst industry leaders and what do we have to offer that is different? I say industry leaders, and not competitors, as they are not yet competitors until we get off the ground with this business endeavor.
    • We plan to offer personal communications and excellent customer support on a daily basis.
  1. How do/will we continue to improve/develop upon our offering?
    • As of right now, we have no offering besides an endeavor, which can lead to providing service-based value through lead/prospect acquisition of very intentional & targeted manufacturing equipment purchasers.