‘You must know what your customers want’
The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and HSBC hosted an informative and interactive seminar entitled “Planning for Change Part 2 Knowing your market, managing your resources”.
This two-hour seminar was held at HSBC Harbourview Centre on Front Street last Wednesday and began with an overview of the last seminar from Lester Nelson, HSBC Relationship Manager. Acting as moderator, Mr Nelson provided over 30 attendees with a recap of what was covered in the last seminar held on March 13 which included an overview of strategic planning focusing on establishing the Mission, Vision and Values of the company. As part two of a series, this seminar focused more on components of the Strategic Plan including understanding your target market and managing your employees resources.
Following Mr Nelson’s overview, Jamillah Lodge, BEDC Business Development Officer, broke the ice with a networking activity that allowed attendees to identify their company’s core values and then discuss them with their table mates. In “speed networking” fashion at the five-minute mark, attendees were asked to rotate and share their values with a new group of people. The activity concluded with Mrs Lodge sharing an example of one attendee’s core value to be “accessible” to his employees and his clients, which provided a great, segue into the next topic of knowing your target market.
Travis Tucker, HSBC Product Marketing Manager, opened for the next presenter using Starbucks as an example of how it is possible to identify opportunities in the market based on a thorough understanding of your target market. He stated that Starbucks entered in the market charging twice what people would normally pay for coffee. However this worked for them because they realised that there was an underserved market of professionals with disposable income who would be willing to pay more for a better experience. Mr Tucker suggested that any of the business owners in the room could identify similar opportunities as it relates to their target consumer.
Mr Tucker introduced Nicole Warren, General Manager of Brown & Co, who provided detailed information on how businesses should endeavour to identify and understand their customer to make strategic decisions to guide their company. Mrs Warren started by asking the questions: “Could you and should you know what your customers want?” She answered stating that “you must know what your customers want”. Using some of her own personal examples of managing and helping to advance business at Brown & Co, she provided some practical tips that attendees could use to help them identify their target consumer including: walk where the locals walk; utilise social media; keeping track of where your customer shops overseas; ask questions of your customer, your vendors and your competitors; access available historical sales analysis (Department of Statistics). Mrs Warren went on to explain the Four P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion as tried and true practice to successfully market to your target customer base once you have identified them.
The second presenter, Belinda Chiaramonte, Partner at Expertise, discussed how to identify the right people to help you achieve your values and find and keep your customers. Mrs Chiaramonte shared that engaging employees was key to ensuring that you have people that are willing to advance the vision and mission of your business. Understanding that engagement is different for each person she provided some key values that guide engagement: Fairness, Respect and Trust. Employers must foster these three values on a basic level in order to have happy and willing employees. Said Mrs Chiaramonte, “you have to know where you are leading them and they [employees] have to know why you are leading them and believe in what you are trying to achieve. This will help to provide a sense of purpose and belonging.”
Co-presenter on human resource management, Shaun Roberts, HSBC HR Relationship Manager, helped to bring home the point of engagement with a fictional case study. The case study highlighted the need to set expectations early on when establishing a relationship with employees, the importance of training the staff to deliver the expectations set and the need to provide staff with feedback so that they can access whether or not they are meeting expectations. Nick Kempe, Vice President of Bermuda Forwarders and BEDC Chairman, remarked “that a thorough job description and an employee handbook could also aid in helping to clarify expectations”. Mr Roberts ended his presentation reminding the attendees that “time is money, so get it right the first time. If hiring correctly you can ensure that you have engaged employees who can help to reinforce your brand.” Mr Kempe closed the seminar, thanking organisers, each presenter and attendees for participating. He encouraged attendees to utilise the information that they learned to further develop their strategic plan. He also reminded that BEDC is a free resource that is available to assist them. One attendee remarked that the “the session was quite enjoyable, useful, to the point, and very professional.”
For more information on the HSBC/BEDC series of seminars contact Natalie Africa at email@example.com or Jamillah Lodge at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is Bermuda’s premier source of free confidential business advice for entrepreneurs. The mission is to serve Bermuda’s local business community with the highest degree of professionalism by providing, authoritative business advice; counsel and loan guarantee support.