Toronto entrepreneur Paul Jansen remembers the two words that helped him transform his small construction business into a fast-growing company with an annual turnover of $6 million.
“My father-in-law was an insurance broker who decided 15 years ago to focus on the motorhome market,” says Mr. Jansen. At the time, it was unprecedented. But it allowed him to make a very good living, and he taught me to think outside the box.”
Mr. Jansen, a client of BDC Consulting Services, started his company, Jancon, in 2000. Initially, the company offered general construction services, but when the economy failed, Mr. Jansen realized that a different approach was needed.
Find your niche
“The companies that accepted any type of project were much bigger than mine and it was difficult to compete with them,” he says. We have decided to focus on our strengths, i.e. the construction of smaller buildings (between 500 and 2,000 m2) and renovation. Few contractors built smaller buildings, and that’s where we built our reputation.”
Jansen also points out that many companies are committed to providing “good customer service”, which he says is a vague and meaningless promise. His company, for its part, has adopted a more precise slogan to ensure that the budget and schedule are respected.
“My first task was to obtain the unconditional commitment of all stakeholders to the mission statement and to structure the company’s activities to ensure that our promises were kept.”
In its niche market of small buildings, Jancon specializes in the construction of daycare centres, among other things. The company has built a reputation in this sector by offering more than just construction services. She also handles the administrative formalities involved in obtaining a daycare operating permit.
“As our website indicates, Jancon not only provides construction services, but also makes life as easy as possible for customers,” says Jansen.
Avoid competing only on price
Beth Parker, a BDC consultant, describes Jancon’s approach as an excellent example of how a company can successfully stand out in the marketplace.
If you don’t differentiate your business from the multitude of potential competitors, it’s like playing roulette and hoping your number will be a winner,” says Parker, who advised Jancon on its marketing strategy.
“In addition, you often find yourself forced to compete on the basis of price alone. This reduces profits and can give your company a cheap or second-rate image.”
Learn what your customers are looking for
Instead, Parker encourages companies to define their ideal customer in as much detail as possible, by determining what they think, feel and want. The next step is to analyze the company’s offer and marketing approach in light of the needs of this model customer.
“Instead of focusing on the qualities of your product or service, describe the experience that customers will get from it,” she says. What advantages, solutions or satisfaction do you offer?”
Too often, companies confuse their own understanding of what is good for the customer with what the customer actually wants,” adds Parker.
“Even if you have the best product in the world, if you don’t identify the people it is likely to interest and demonstrate what makes it special, you won’t last long in business.” Get more about business paid surveys information through subscribing to our blog newsletter!