I just got back from two weeks in India, and I found it’s a land of entrepreneurs. Unlike the developed world, where big chain stores dominate the landscape, Indian cities and towns are full of mom & pop ventures. Here are a few lessons I took from watching storekeepers, craftsmen, and other enterprising Indians.
Recommendations Are the Best Way to Stand Out
Feel like you’re in a competitive business? Imagine selling blankets in a bazaar surrounded by 20 other blanket shops. How do customers choose WHICH shop to buy from? Based on recommendations.
Just like I got tips from fellow travelers on which restaurants to eat at. And I read online reviews at TripAdvisor to pick a hotel. What can you do this week to cultivate more recommendations?
Consider word-of-mouth, testimonials, and online review sites.
You’ve Got to Toot Your Own Horn
In the bazaars, some vendors were taking a nap (granted, it was HOT), and others were standing up, shouting about their merchandise and their special offers. You can guess which shops were crowded, and which were empty.
It may seem obvious, but how many of us are guilty of spending most of our day working on internal issues and serving existing customers? It’s challenging–and critical–that we make a point of putting the fire fighting on hold to get out there and find new business. What will you do TODAY to get the word out?
Always Ask for a Discount
In the Western world, we often feel weird asking for a discount. Not so in India. Most things there are negotiable! So people always ask for a deal.
The funny thing is, in our world of business-to-business transactions, most things are negotiable too! But we often don’t ask for a break. Think about the vendors and suppliers you do a lot of business with.
Remind them how much you’re spending with them, and ask for a discount. You’ll be surprised how often you get it.
Share Your Thoughts
Feel inspired? Have other business ideas from your travels? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below!