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I must meet an average of one startup each day. This is what I tell them about cooking on gas.

The interesting thing about the market place is that most potential customers or clients want to buy. Their problem is finding a company that they want to buy from (that’s why shopping can be such hard work).

And then all suppliers want to sell. Their problem is finding the customers or clients that will buy from them.

So the function of the market place is to bring these two together and satisfy both parties’ needs.

On these lines Google’s stated goal is to ensure that whenever someone does a Google search for something, they will find just what they want. And that surely is the goal of the suppliers who advertise on Google. They pay per click and they only want clicks from people who are likely to buy. So Google Adwords provides almost the perfect market place (see an earlier article┬áspecifically on Adwords).

So what is it going to be about your company that makes a potential customer choose to buy from you? Well, it could be that your price is “very competitive”, in other words cheap. Do you think you can build a business on low prices? Some of the big guys can because they have the buying power, but your problem as a small company is that you will probably be paying your suppliers COD and maybe staff monthly and this won’t turn into cash receipts from customers for two, four or even six weeks, so your company is cash flow negative. And the more business you do the worse it gets unless and until the profits start funding the growth, which will be never if your prices are too low.

What really sells is, in my experience, excellence. Don’t compromise, be the BEST. Charge good prices (good for you). Insist on the best payment terms. You will find that customers and clients will quickly figure out that you are truly better than the rest. How else could you charge higher prices and then insist on early payment? You are sending out a message that really sells and at the same time you are selling yourself to yourself. You WILL be the best.

So what do you do if a potential customer tries to dictate their payment terms instead of accepting yours? Walk away! Don’t build your company on bad business. Focus on attracting your kind of customer and let the competition deal with the late payments, bad debts and cash crises that those kind of customers bring.

What else can you do to make people want to buy from you? Differentiate yourselves! That means be different. Don’t just do what the competition does and the way that the competition does it. Keep thinking of how you can be different, how you can stand head and shoulders above the others.

We are a firm of Chartered Accountants right?

Name for me one firm of Chartered Accountants who have a tab on their website that invites you to book meetings as often as you like with their CEO, a CA(SA), at absolutely no charge. Madness! But we do exactly that.

Now name for me one firm of Chartered Accountants who offer to do your start-up company’s bookkeeping for the first six months at absolutely no charge with the option that they will hand the books over to you to carry on with at the end of that period. Madness! But we do exactly that.

Now name for me one firm of Chartered Accountants who insist on payment up front for everything they do. Madness! But we do exactly that.

Now name for me one firm of Chartered Accountants whose CEO spills all of his trade secrets freely into his blog. There for all his competitors to copy or benefit from. Every great idea that he’s had, every bit of knowledge and experience that he has accumulated through a lifetime in business. Madness! But we do exactly that.

You see, we’re different. We have differentiated ourselves. You can do the same. You just have to get and stay, creative. Remember, one great idea before breakfast every day and two at weekends!

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