In 1982 Thomas Milano started Saddleback Educational Publishing in the corner of his garage. Specializing in high interest/low level (hi/lo) reading material, he found his niche in the education world. In 2009 his daughter, Arianne and her husband, Tim McHugh, bought the company and turned it into a multi-million dollar company.
How did they do that – especially during a struggling economy? “Nobody can be good at everything and you can’t be everything to everyone,” says Arianne McHugh. “As people are spending less and you find yourself scratching and clawing for every sale, what do you do to differentiate you and your company? Be an expert.” Taking a product or service and narrowing its focus allows a company to become an expert in their field. One of the biggest problems with companies today is they try to offer too much.
McHugh shares 8 tips to move your office from the corner in the garage to the C-suite:
- Pick your niche. Examine your history, find the area you excel in and become an expert in that area.
- Research your competition. Learn what they do well and where they fail so you can make your product or service stand out and be unique.
- Perception is everything. Image is everything so make sure you and your products look as professional as possible.
- Poll your customers. No matter who your customer is, ask them questions to help guide you. You’ll gain invaluable insight.
- Be able to answer any questions and “sell” yourself. Do your research to become an expert in your industry and able to answer any questions that come your way.
- Hire good people. You are only as good as the people who work for you. It’s easier and more cost effective to train a nice person with a good work ethic than to hire someone already trained with a bad attitude.
- Train your employees well. Remember you are the expert company which means everyone who works for you should be an expert, too.
- Treat every customer as if they are your first and could be your last. Good customer service will make an impression and keep your clients happy.