After visiting Paul and Debbie Rippon, two people who left their jobs to start an alpaca farm, Rachael Simpson, Marketing Support Analyst at Usomo considers what business owners can learn by exploring a completely different industry to their own. So, what can we learn from Barnacre Alpaca Farm?
It's very easy to become narrow-minded when running a business. Too often, business owners fall into the category of playing it safe. Whether it be focusing too narrowly on a particular industry, or sticking with a particular style of management because 'it's always worked,' as humans we naturally deviate towards that which is familiar. This is why it is always useful to step outside the box every once in a while in order to learn new things, and there's certainly nothing further away from the VoIP box than an alpaca! So, what business lessons can be learnt by taking a look at an industry completely different to your own?
Differentiation through Quality
In today's market, it is easy to assume that customers are looking for the cheapest option. As a growing business however, it isn't always possible or sensible to compete on price terms. This really is where small-medium enterprise can gain an edge. Whether it be customer service, product features, or even fleece quality, the demand for quality products offered at a fair price surpasses market boundaries. Looking at how other businesses are differentiating themselves can certainly provide inspiration.
Enthusiasm is Infectious
Do you love your product? Sure, you came up with it, and decided to sell it- but do you love it? And if you don't, why should your customers? One thing that really stands out no matter which industry is considered, is that you should always be proud of your product. Take a look at why other people are proud of what they sell, is it unique, does it solve a problem, or is it just a really high quality offering? If you're proud to sell it, surely your customers will love to buy it.
Context is Key
What works well in one market doesn't always translate well into another. An alpaca farm for example is a very personable business, one in which it is entirely appropriate for the entrepreneur to become a public figurehead. Rather than simply an added bonus, prospective purchasers expect to have an interaction with the business owner. In terms of a web-based telephony provider, interaction with our director prior to a sale is neither necessary nor expected. There is of course a middle-ground, and certain product-led companies do have a successful figurehead. Will King is a great example of this, or more famously, Richard Branson. So, are you a person, a business, or a bit of both? Considering this question is key to your online marketing strategy.
So, no matter how different a business is to your own, there are always interesting or useful points to learn by stepping out of your comfort zone. Looking at the way another business operates often leads to new ideas and styles being developed, the worst you could do is gain an affirmation that what you're doing is right. Perhaps now is the time to start looking outside the box for your inspiration.