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  “Alastair has the ability to highlight aspects of your business which would otherwise go unnoticed. He has great tips on how to take a more objective viewpoint and together we have put together a new positive business plan. Working with him was extremely useful and enlightening and I would thoroughly recommend him.”

Steve Crisp
Commercial Artist

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Unique Challenges of Business-to-Business Service Providers: Part 1

Having no unique product - The differentiation challenge.

All companies have their challenges and my clients’ businesses are no different. In talking to them and through my own studies and experience, I believe five unique challenges stand out and are common for business-to-business service providers. While clearly each individual business can have specific problems related to changing markets, problem staff, new legislation, price wars, etc. etc., every B2B service provider will face and must address these “five unique challenges”: having no unique product – a reliance on people to deliver – being regarded as an overhead – building trust – conveying compelling sales propositions.

While service providers may enjoy the advantage of not having to invest in their product development departments and wait months or years for new products to “roll off the assembly line”, they are disadvantaged in not having something unique for their customers to see and hold. How can the accountancy firm, legal practice, computer maintenance company or contract cleaning agency stand out and differentiate themselves from the herd?

The precise answer varies, as each business operates in differing environments and markets. But the best approach I believe for the vast majority of firms is specialisation. Commit to being different and develop a niche. Build a reputation in a particular field and aim to be the best. Too often people are scared of developing a specialisation, because they fear losing the “general” business. This is rarely the case. The business consultant, who specialises in strategic planning, will be asked to consult in other areas because of the results he delivers. The architect who specialises in, say, hospital work will gain other commissions because of this, not in spite of it. People always remember and talk about experts, rarely generalists.

Over the coming months, think how you can be different from your competitors. Become a leader (not a follower).

If you would like to find out more about coaching/mentoring and whether it’s right for you, call 0845 658 0940 or e-mail to arrange a no obligation, 30 minute consultation call.


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