In general, I have an aversion to in-home product demonstration gatherings, but last night I went to a Tupperware party. Why? Because the hostess bought Girl Scout Cookies from my daughter last week – and it was a Tupperware party.
Tupperware has been around since 1946 for a reason; the company has applied some core business principles that have successfully given it staying power. As a solo-professional, consider the following to help make your business stand the test of time:
- Provide a superior product or service – As a solopreneur, you don’t necessarily have to be the very best, but strive to provide high quality with some sort of unique twist that differentiates you from your competition. If the services you provide are on par with those of your competitors, find other ways to make yourself stand out…better customer service, faster turn-around, extras etc.
- Evolve – Be aware of your market’s changing needs and adapt to meet them. Tupperware has been in the food storage game nearly forever, but even their legacy products have been tweaked to improve their performance. Don’t ever conclude, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Sometimes something that works perfectly well can benefit from enhancements to keep the market interested. Plus, Tupperware has expanded its product line to include all sorts of state-of-the-art kitchen gadgetry. Give some thought to how you might better serve clients by offering services that naturally complement what you already provide.
- Offer a guarantee – Tupperware isn’t cheap, but the company minimizes the risk of investment with a promise to replace a product no matter how long ago it was purchased – and without a receipt. By giving customers a safety net in the event that you don’t deliver on your promises to them, you’ll build trust and show that you have confidence in your offerings.
- Focus on delivering value, not the lowest price – Again, Tupperware isn’t cheap, but it’s reliable, of higher quality than other storage products, and you never have to worry about haggling with the company over a defective product. People are willing to pay for those things, and they feel good about spending their hard-earned money on products from a company with a solid reputation. Not only could charging bargain basement prices leave your business in a financial hole, it will also leave the impression that you’re not confident about your abilities and services.
In summary: Be great at what you do, change with the times, stand by your work, and demonstrate confidence in the worth of your services – and don’t ever bring your credit card to a Tupperware party!
What other long-time businesses set great examples for solopreneurs? What qualities have made them lasting institutions?
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