How to unlock the full value potential of your business


Small- to medium-sized businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy. It’s also a segment consumers declare themselves keen to support on the back of 2020 challenges. As much as the year may have required greater levels of resilience these two considerations simultaneously present great potential.

Potential and value are frequently banded about liberally. Your business will assuredly be rich in both yet it’s the practical application of specific, yet simple, mechanisms that unlock the former to yield the latter! Potential and value are a wonderful, circular ecosystem that may provoke steady, positive growth.

Differentiate yourself

Often we spend so much time looking at competitive landscapes then crafting messages to demonstrate how we compete, somewhat the same. To tap value potential focus where you’re different.

Begin a periodic habit asking two questions: where each has a score rating 0-10, with a midway marker of five.

  • How unique is that product, feature, aspect of service?
  • How valuable is it: how significant is the pain resolved or desire sought from customer perspective?

Using the midway score five you then plot both axes, unique and valuable, to create a four quadrant model. “Highly unique” (score 5+, less than half competitors do it) and “highly valuable” (score 5+, it taps into a significant pain or desire) are the business features to lead and go to market with.

If customers compare you on price, don’t stress, just don’t follow them down the rabbit hole! Price conversations means whatever you’re offering is wanted (value exists, there’s a need or desire) they just don’t quite understand how you’re different (why should it matter who I get it from?!). Focus on uniqueness. Regular check-ins keep potential and value positioning fresh and relevant.

A playbook of value-added extras

Often, the greatest potential to create value is not in the product or service exchange itself. People know what they’re buying, signing a contract for or goods being delivered. The one thing customers may value most are the VAEs  (value-added extras) that catch them by surprise.

I learnt this leading tours across Europe. Despite passengers visiting wondrous sights like The Eiffel Tower, the Vatican Museum, the mountains of Switzerland or rafting Austrian rivers, it was often the side trips (such as the Ferrari Museum) that stood out as a highlight. Why? Because it was unexpected. (An unexpected gift at an expected time is apparently the secret to a woman’s heart, too: paying homage to Sean Connery in the movie Finding Forrester!)

To surprise and delight needn’t cost a significant amount or even a single scent. Get creative with upgrades, personalisation or demonstrative evidence of human touch. The more of these you create, in a digital age, the more likely you are to stand out and tap customer loyalty or referrals.

Focus on the experience

As Maya Angelou beautifully alluded to: people may forget what you said or did but they don’t forget how you make them feel. Welcome to the experience economy: them feels are king.

The experience might even be taking ownership when we don’t quite get things right: where feels turn to shivers. Candour, humility, and honesty, in a world of filtered perfection, are refreshing valuable experiences in their own right.

Deconstruct, untangle or get creative with touchpoints (online and offline) to give your business an experience facelift.

Mark Carter, international keynote speaker and author of “Add Value”